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Following the last attack, in 1778, upon Boonesborough, Colonel John Bowman of Harrod's Station had led a revenge expedition into the Ohio country.  At Little Chillicothe, where Daniel Boone had been son to Chief Black Fish, he had fought the Shawnees and their allies the Wyandots and others; and although he had been driven back his men had killed old Black Fish.  That was a blow to the enemy.

More important than this, beginning in 1778 the great Long Knife chief, General George Rogers Clark, had "captured" the Illinois country clear to the Mississippi River at Kaskaskia below St. Louis; had marched northward one hundred and fifty miles, laid siege to the British garrison of St. Vincents (Vincennes, Indiana), and taken prisoner no less a personage than the noted Lieutenant-Governor Henry Hamilton of Detroit; and in 1780 had destroyed the Shawnee towns of Pickaway and Little Chillicothe also.

These events and others stirred the Northern Confederacy to action afresh.  They saw the Ohio Valley being cut in two.  They had given up Boonesborough; but there were many other forts and stations and settlements and they sent their parties against the Americans of western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and the outskirts of Kentucky along the Ohio.

The principal Wyandot town of Upper Sandusky (where Simon Kenton had been rescued by Pierre Drouillard the British Indian agent), in central north Ohio, seemed to be the rallying place for the bloody forays. General Washington could spare no regular troops yet, to campaign on the Indian trail; so in order to "shake up" the red rascals volunteer militiamen and Rangers for miles back in southwestern Pennsylvania and northwestern West Virginia and adjacent Kentucky were summoned to gather, secretly, May 20, 1782, at Mingo Bottom (present Mingo Junction, Ohio) on the west side of the Ohio River about forty miles up from Fort Pitt.

Three hundred had been called for; four hundred and eighty arrived--mainly Pennsylvanians, and the bulk of them crack-shot bordermen in moccasins, leggins, fringed buckskin hunting shirts, armed with the long patch-and-ball rifle, tomahawk and scalping-knife, and mounted upon the best of their horses.  It was to be an earnest expedition--a stroke at the heart of the Indian country.  Before leaving home, many of the men had made their wills.

The popular William Crawford was elected commander.  He had been an ensign with Washington in the General Braddock campaign of the fatal 1755; had been colonel under General Washington in the Buff-and-Blue Continental Army, and was General Washington's intimate friend: but Lord Cornwallis, the British general, had surrendered at Yorktown last fall, the War of the Revolution appeared to be almost over, and he had returned home as a veteran.

The guides were Jonathan Zane of Wheeling (one of the fighting Zanes) and John Slover, another Virginian.

Much dependence was placed upon John Slover.  When eight years old, or about in 1760, he had been captured by the Miami Indians and taken to Upper Sandusky town.  He had lived there among the Miamis and Wyandots, had mingled with the Shawnees, Delawares and Mingo Iroquois, for twelve years, and they had treated him well.  He rather liked being an Indian. Then during a peace council at Fort Pitt in 1773 he had met his real kindred again.  They had persuaded him to be a white man; therefore he had bade his Indian brothers goodby, and had walked away with his new-found relatives.

He, also, had served in the Revolution, as a sharpshooter.  Now he felt badly at having been asked to guide the Long Knife column against his old-time Indian friends, and the town that had sheltered him; it seemed to him not an honorable thing to do.  Still, he was an American soldier and citizen; there was war between the white and the red, and dreadful deeds had been done by hatchet and knife, upon his very neighbors.  His duty was plain.  He could not stay behind or refuse to aid.  Therefore he consented to guide and fight, in the cause of his fellow settlers and the protection of the women and children.

The surgeon of the column was Dr. John Knight--a small but gritty little man.  Among the Rangers was James Paull, of West Virginia, a young Buckskin of twenty-two who had left his widowed mother in order to march to Sandusky.

The column met with such a defeat as had been known but once since the day of Braddock's Field.  For the Indians were ready.  Their spies had reported upon the secret gathering at the old Mingo town of Mingo Bottom.  To all the villages of the north and even to Detroit the word traveled that the Long Knives were coming.

Captain Pipe, the old war-chief of the Delawares, and his aide, Chief Wingenund, arrayed two hundred warriors and marched from the eastward to join the four hundred Wyandots of Chief Half King and Chief Shaus-sho-to, and defend the Sandusky.  In the south the Shawnees of Black Hoof and Black Beard and all, prepared.  The Miamis rallied from the west.  The white captains, Alexander McKee and the Girty brothers, urged the warriors on.  A messenger to the British father at Detroit brought back promise of reinforcements from there.  The British father was sending his Butler's Mounted Rangers and three cannon, and the great white captain Matthew Elliott to command the whole army.

All the long, long way up from the Ohio River the Colonel William Crawford column had seen only two Indians.  On June 4 they sighted their goal, the old Wyandot town of Upper Sandusky.  It showed not a sign of life.  They marched upon it.  The buildings had been leveled and grass was growing in the crooked streets.  Some months before, Chief Half King had moved his people eight miles northward, down the Sandusky.

Guide John Slover had led in vain.  He, also, was mystified.  The volunteers were disappointed; they wished to turn back.  The council of officers decided upon one more day's march; then if nothing happened, back they would go and glad to get out of the land alive.

it was a wide, grassy, forest-dotted country strange to the Long Knives.  Few of them, not even the Zanes and the Wetzels and their like, had ever been here except as prisoners.  They did not know, John Slover did not know, that only eleven miles to the east was the eager village of Chief Pipe and his Delawares; that only eighteen miles north was the principal village of Chief Half King and his painted Hurons: and that six hundred warriors of the two nations had come together, with guns loaded and hatchets sharpened, to await the Shawnees, the Miamis and the British Rangers guided by Matthew Elliott, and wipe the Americans from the trail.

The Long Knives moved fearfully on.  To them, the air was full of threat.  The Delawares and Hurons met them, and held them in check. June 5 the Shawnees, Miamis and the Rangers tore in.  Matthew Elliott, in his brilliant uniform, had taken command; his comrade renegade, Simon Girty, as his lieutenant raged hither-thither on a white horse. Beset amidst the timber islands and the cranberry swamps the Long Knives broke in retreat.  Their horses mired.  The best efforts of Jonathan Zane, Lewis Wetzel, brave Colonel Crawford the Continental, other men and officers, availed little.

Four hundred and eighty, the flower of the border, were over-matched by one thousand, the full strength of the Northern Confederacy.

The battle ended on the night of June 6.  Three hundred of the Long Knives remained together, and reached the Ohio.  By ones and twos and threes others straggled in.  But many did not come.  Among them were Colonel Crawford, his son John Crawford, Major John McClelland of a famous border family, Dr. Knight, John Slover, young James Paull--and he, and he, and he, a score of them whose fate might be guessed at only with a shudder.

Of these, few ever did return.  The noble Colonel Crawford had been captured.  He was the "Big Captain"--he must die, and Chief Pipe, another "Big Captain," ordered him to terrible torture.  Boyish John Crawford and Major McClelland also were killed in the Indian way.  But little Doctor Knight the surgeon, Guide John Slover and young James Paull finally turned up, at home, with remarkable stories now to be told.

Doctor Knight had been taken, along with his colonel and several comrades.  They were eleven in number, prisoners to the Delawares. Captain Pipe had marched them to his own town.  Their hopes had been flickering, they thought that Simon Girty might help them, but on the way Chief Pipe and Chief Wingenund had painted them black.  Then nine of them were killed by a mob.  And at Pipe's Town Doctor Knight had sickened in watching his colonel burned before his eyes.  That was an afternoon and night of horror.

"You," said Chief Pipe to him, "will be taken to the Shawnee towns to see your friends."

To see his friends!  Doctor Knight did not know whether this meant his "friends" the Shawnees, or his other friends who had been tortured like Colonel Crawford.  It all amounted to the same thing.  He resolved to escape or die while trying.  Already he had been given a broken jaw.

In the morning he was painted black again, and sent away afoot in charge of a large Shawnee, who drove him with a hickory whip.  They were bound for the Shawnee towns, forty miles southwest--probably to Wakatomica.  The doctor, who was not much over five feet tall and weighed scarcely more than one hundred and twenty, trotted valiantly, glad that he had not been tied by a rope.  But because he was so small, and was not a warrior, the Shawnee seemed to think him harmless.

A warrior armed with gun and hatchet and knife should have no fear of a midget white man who had been well beaten.

"There lie the bones of your Big Captain," the Shawnee jeered, when they passed the charred Crawford stake.

The doctor only smiled as well as he could, with such a jaw.  He showed no fear.  He pretended to feel safe, for he was going "to see his friends."  He began to make up to his guard, whose name was Tutelu.

 

Illustration: The Fight of the Privates.Illustration: The Fight of the Privates.

 

For all his surly looks Tutelu proved to be good-natured.  He and the doctor proceeded to fool each other.

"When we reach the Shawnee towns, you and I will live together in the same cabin, as brothers," the doctor proposed.

Tutelu grinned.  He grinned to think that this white man was so simple, and he grinned to think that this white man wished to live with him.

"Yes," he said.  "You make good cabin?  Know how?"

"I will build us such a great cabin that the council-house will look small," assured the doctor.

"Heap cabin maker, huh!" answered Tutelu, much impressed.  "See, to-morrow."  And they journeyed on like friends, except for the whip.

But the wool was not yet pulled over Tutelu's eyes.  In camp to-night he tied his prisoner; and whenever the doctor stirred, to loosen the knots, Tutelu's gaze glowed upon him, through the darkness.  There was no chance to do a thing.

"Reach Shawnee town to-morrow when sun is high," Tutelu had announced, before lying down.  And all night the doctor thought and thought, and worked vainly at his knots.

When at daybreak his keeper untied him, he determined that he would attempt escape, somehow, at once.  The Shawnees should not torture him as all the rest had been tortured.

They did not start immediately.  Tutelu squatted, to renew the fire, in order to get breakfast.  The mosquitoes and gnats were very bad; they hovered in clouds, lit upon his naked back and bit him severely.  With one hand he poked the fire, with the other he slapped and scratched, while grunting angrily about the pests.

"Brother, I will make a smoke behind you," spoke the doctor, who had a desperate idea.  "Then we can sit between two smokes and be at peace."

"All right," Tutelu grunted.

There was a little stick near at hand.  It was a dogwood stick, only eighteen inches long and not thicker than two fingers--not much of a weapon.  But the doctor was desperate.  He picked it up, rolled a coal upon it, held the coal in place with a smaller stick, and walked around behind Tutelu, as if to start another fire.  He laid down the coal, and drew long breath.  It was now or perhaps never.  Suddenly he turned, and half rising struck with all his strength.  The dog-wood fork fairly bounced upon the Indian's head.

"Wagh!" gasped Tutelu.  He had been knocked forward, so that he fell with his two hands and almost with his face into his fire.  Instantly he was up, before the doctor might strike again.  He ran howling, with his head bloody.  He had no stomach for another blow.  His prisoner had changed to a demon.

The doctor sprang for the rifle.  He must kill, or else the alarm would be spread.  But he was so excited that in cocking the rifle he broke the lock.  Tutelu feared a bullet.  As he still ran, howling, he dodged and doubled like a rabbit, until he had disappeared in the timber and his howls soon died away.

Now the doctor worked fast.  He grabbed up Tutelu's powder-horn and bullet-pouch, blanket and moccasins, and ran, too.

In about an hour he came to the open prairie.  He did not dare to cross it in the daytime, so he hid in the edge of it.  That night he traveled by the north star, gained the other side by morning, and kept on until late in the afternoon.

He was no woodsman.  He could not fix the gun, and finally threw it away.  He could not chew, but he knew the herbs and weeds that were good to eat, and he sucked on these.  He found plenty of green gooseberries; they upset his stomach, and he relieved himself with wild ginger.  He ate three fledgling black-birds, from a nest; and he ate the soft parts of a land tortoise, torn apart with his fingers and sticks, because he had no knife.

After wandering twenty-one days he reached Fort McIntosh on the Ohio below Pittsburgh.

What of the cowardly Tutelu?  Tutelu, still in great terror, arrived at Wakatomica.  He panted in with a big story.  He showed his head.  It was laid open, four inches long, to the bone!  He showed his feet. They were filled with thorns.  He said that his prisoner had been a giant, with the strength of a buffalo.  While they had been talking together, the giant had pulled up a young tree and battered him first on one side of the head and then on the other.  They had tussled.  He had stabbed the giant twice, in the belly and in the back, and had left him for dead.  At least, the fellow would die soon, for he had not been able to pursue.

But a white man was here in Wakatomica.  He was John Slover; he spoke three Indian languages--Miami, Shawnee and Huron; and when he heard Tutelu's wonderful tale, he laughed.  He told the other Indians the truth: that the prisoner was a little doctor and not a warrior--only five feet and a half tall and weighing no more than a boy!  The Indians laughed long and loud.  They bombarded Tutelu with broad jokes, and the best he could do was to go off to get his head dressed.

John Slover had been captured.  He and James Paull and four others were threading homeward from the battle trail when several Indians had ambushed them; with one volley killed two, then had summoned the rest to surrender.

He and young James were the only men with guns.  John Slover leveled his from behind a tree, to fight; but the leader of the Indians had called: "No shoot, no hurt.  Treat good."  Therefore he and two others had yielded.  James Paull dived aside into the brush and ran.  It seemed as though he got away.

One of the Indians was an old Miami who had helped to make prisoner of John Slover when a boy twenty-two years before.  He knew him at once--called him by his Indian name Man-nuch-cothe, and scolded him for "bearing arms against his brothers."  That was hard luck.  Scout Slover saw himself trapped, and could not reply.  He figured that unless he could explain matters he was in for a bad time.

The Indians took the three of them to Wakatomica; painted the oldest man black and made them all run the gauntlet; killed the man who had been painted for death, but let John and the other man reach the posts of the council-house.  Then the other man was led away, to another town; he never appeared again, and John Slover was left alone in Wakatomica.

He was rather blue when Tutelu had come in.  He had found some friends, but he had more enemies.  The worst was James Girty, a brother to Simon Girty.

James Girty told the Indians that he had asked Man-nuch-cothe how he would like to live with old friends again; and Man-nuch-cothe had laughed and said: "I will live here long enough to take a scalp.  Then I will steal a horse and go back to the whites."

This enraged the town.  A grand council was held, to decide about John Slover.  It lasted fifteen days.  John spoke in his own defence, in the Shawnee tongue.  He knew many of the chiefs by name.  They knew him. He spoke well.

"I am here.  I am not ashamed.  I lived with you twelve years.  You treated me kindly.  On my part I never tried to escape.  You gave me many chances, but I was red.  Your cabins were my home.  You were my fathers and brothers.  When I left, I did not run away.  I had found my own blood.  It called to me.  I said good-by, and shook your hands. You were willing.  It was done in the open, there at Fort Pitt.  That was a peace council.  You had no thought of war again.  I had no thought of war again between the red people and the white people.  We all were to be brothers.  When I lived with you, I would have helped you fight your enemies.  That was my duty.  A warrior's duty is to serve his country.  Your country was then my country.  When I went to live with the whites, I became a warrior there.  Their country was my country.  If you think I deserve death for acting like a warrior, you may kill me.  I am in your power.  I am alone.  As for the words of James Girty, they are lies.  I have not spoken with him.  You know me. Do you take me for a child?  I am not a child; I am a man.  If I had thought such a thing that he says, would I have been foolish enough to say it to him?  No.  He is an enemy to all whites.  Everybody knows that.  Then why should I have told my thoughts to him, as he says?  He lies, in order to kill me.  I am done."

The council listened keenly.  Some of the chiefs believed, and softened.  The speech rang true; it came from the heart.  The sentence was postponed and John Slover was released and kindly treated.  He took up quarters with an old squaw, who called him her son.  He went to the dances.  He was an Indian again.  All this might mean little, but he took hope.

The town was eager for news of the war between their British father across the water, and the Long Knives.

"The war is over," John explained.  "A great British general and all his army have surrendered to the Long Knives of Washington.  His name is Cornwallis.  He surrendered many moons ago.  There is peace talk. Are your ears stopped up, that you have not heard!"

"We have not heard," they answered, astonished.  "No one has told us. We will ask if it is true."

They asked James Girty and Alexander McKee.  James Girty was frequently drunk, and altogether worthless; but Captain McKee, the British trader, lived in a large house of hewn white-oak logs, wore a fine uniform, kept by himself, and was highly thought of.

He and James Girty laughed at the story of John Slover.

"That is a lie," they said.  "He tries to frighten you.  The British soldiers have been eating up the Americans.  They soon will capture that man Washington.  We say so, and we know."

Another white Indian reported that Slover had agreed with him to escape.  This angered the town, again.  A general council was called. The council-house was filled with Shawnees, Mingos, Chippewas, Delawares and Hurons.  Two Indians came to the old squaw's cabin to get her "son."  She covered him with a large bear-skin, in a corner, and drove the two Indians out with a club and her tongue.

John waited.  He knew what would happen.  Presently, in strode George Girty, another of the brothers, in Delaware paint.  He brought forty warriors with him.  They threw the old squaw to one side, and dragged John Slover through the door; tore off all his clothes, painted him black, tied his hands, and triumphantly marched him away, by a rope around his neck.

Evidently the council had decided.  The old squaw wailed vainly.  She had only hastened his doom.

"We have waited long enough," gibed George Girty, swearing horridly. "Now you'll get what you deserve.  You'll eat fire."

They took him to a smaller town of Wakatomica, five miles distant. There they and the other people beat him for an hour.  It was the beginning.  They hustled him on to a third town, named Mequa-chake--Red Earth.  John Slover lost all hope.  He was Indian enough to know. Mequa-chake was to be his finish.  He had no friends here.

The stake was ready, for hoots and howls and shaken fists greeted him. The people--warriors, squaws, boys and girls--old and young they could scarcely wait.  He was towed and shoved and jostled to the council-house.  It was only half roofed.  The stake, a stout post sixteen feet high, had been planted in the center of the unroofed part. Four feet from its base there were three piles of wood--dry hickory, that makes the hottest kind of a fire.  But he was to be scorched, not consumed at once.

In a moment more he had been bound to the post: one thong around his neck, one around his waist, one around his shins.  They strapped him as tightly as a mummy.  It was fast work.  He saw no sign of mercy; he saw no chance of rescue, like Simon Kenton had.

The evening was beautiful, save for a hard wind.  The wind would fan the flames.  A warrior thrust a torch into the piles of hickory.  A chief commenced to speak, bidding all watch the prisoner die but not to let him die too quickly.  The wood was crackling, the heat of the flames wafted across John Slover's black-painted skin; he stiffened and held himself taut.  He would bear himself like a man, and utter never a groan.

The heat increased; the orator was still haranguing; whew!  Hah!  What was that?  The wind had ceased, the sky had darkened, there was a roll of thunder and the rain pattered!  The drops pelted thicker, the cloud burst and a regular deluge descended, hissing into the fire, smudging it, drenching John Slover, driving the crowd away, under the roof--and putting out the fire completely.

A gasp of astonishment, almost awe, arose.  The Great Spirit had interfered!  The storm passed in twenty minutes, and left the sky clear for the setting sun.  The Indians gained courage.  Some were for rekindling the fire; but the wood was wet.  There was no sport in burning a man with wet wood.  So they untied him and seated him upon the ground.  Then they danced the scalp dance around him for three hours, the while they kicked him, and beat him with sticks.  At last they grew tired.  He had again lost hope.

"You will burn in the morning," they jeered.

"Are you not sleepy, brother?" asked a tall young chief, Half Moon.

"Yes, I am," John answered, although that was a queer question to ask of a man battered like he was.

"Very well; we will all sleep, so that you may be fresh to eat fire to-morrow."

"A pleasant night for me," thought John.

Now it was eleven o'clock, by the stars.  He was taken to a log cabin, under three guards.  They tied his wrists and elbows together behind his back, with buffalo-hide thongs that bit into his flesh.  They put a noose close around his neck and fastened the end of the rope to a beam above, giving him just enough slack so that he might lie down.

The three guards smoked their pipes and made themselves disagreeable by telling him about to-morrow.  It seemed as though they never would go to bed and let him alone.  After a time two of them did stretch out; they began to snore.  The other sat up; smoked and smoked and talked and talked; described to him all the ceremonies of "eating fire," wondered with him how long he would hold out, encouraged him to stand the torture bravely and not forget that he once had been an Indian.

This was decidedly an aggravating old man, but John Slover answered not a word.  Nevertheless, he was suffering tortures already.  He traced the first paling of the air--token of dawn; and still the old man did not sleep.  There was no chance of escape.  Did the fellow intend to talk all night?

Ah!  He had dropped his pipe; his voice drawled off; he turned upon his side, and snored!

The air was gray; in an hour it would be daylight.  John wrestled fiercely with his tied wrists until the sweat beaded his forehead.  He writhed, as he lay; he dared make no noise, but how he did strain!

Hurrah!  He had slipped one arm--his left--past the other.  The blood tingled in the numbed, swollen veins; his heart beat furiously.  Then he sank back, his heart pounding worse than ever.  The old man had sat up.  Confound him!  Was he going to talk again--and daylight so near? No.  He only stirred the fire, cast a sharp glance at the prisoner, and stretched out, to snore once more.

John instantly busied himself.  He clawed at the noose around his neck; he tugged at the rope, he took a little slack, and half sitting up, gnawed at it.  But it was green buffalo-hide, as thick as his thumb, and he might as well have gnawed wire cable.  His teeth did not even break the surface.  He tugged until his fingers bled.

He sank back again, exhausted.  Must he die at the stake?  How light the air was getting!  "One more try," he said, to himself.  He inserted his raw fingers between the stubborn noose and his throbbing neck, and hauled.

A miracle!  It was a slip noose, with a knot in it to hold it.  The slip knot passed the other knot--his very blood and sweat had helped; the noose widened, he ducked out of it, and was free.  Now he might die fighting, at least.

He wasted no time.  The village would be astir early, eager for the sport.  Old squaws likely were about already; dogs prowling.  Day was at hand.  He carefully stepped over the three figures, he glided through the doorway, and was into the fresh open air.  How good it felt!

Silence reigned in the village, but in the sky the stars had almost vanished.  He had not a half hour of leeway.  He ran for the nearest corn-field--well-nigh stumbled upon a squaw sleeping out of doors in the midst of five children, but managed to leap them.  It was a narrow escape.

He gained the corn-field, and had glimpsed some loose horses.  In the corn-field he paused and untied his right arm, which had swollen black. He must have a horse, or he never would get away with such a short start.  So he ran back for a horse.  Fortune favored him, for he was brave.  He grabbed a piece of old blanket from a fence and caught a horse by the mane; rapidly twisted the rope from his arm into a halter, flung the blanketing across the horse's back, vaulted aboard, hammered with his heels, and rode, a naked man on a scarcely less naked steed.

He charged recklessly on, through the forest.  The branches lashed him fiercely; he did not even feel them.  His thoughts all were ahead, ahead, leading to the Scioto River, fifty miles eastward toward the Pennsylvania border.

What a good horse that was!  He had chosen the first at hand, but he had chosen the best in the herd.  Mile after mile they forged, never slackening.  He fancied that he heard pursuit; before this the guards had discovered his absence, the village was aroused and hot in chase. The sun was up, and shining strongly.  At this time he might have been "eating fire"; that would not happen now--he would die by bullet, first.

He rode.  He pitied the horse, but kept it at the gallop.  The sun rose high and higher, and they still were galloping free, up hill and down, through forest, swamp and prairie.  If he only might cross the Scioto!

He saw it, before.  The time was verging upon noon.  He reached the Scioto at eleven o'clock.  They had come fifty miles through the trailless wilderness in seven hours!  He dared not slacken.  Together they plunged into the stream and swam across.  He mounted again; they were away.  The swim had freshened the good horse, it galloped again.

The sun was past the noon mark.  Now the horse breathed heavily; it stumbled, its eyes bulged redly, it had nearly run its course.  He forced it on, and it obeyed until it dropped dead under him.  It had borne him twenty-five more miles--seventy-five miles in eleven hours, for the time was three o'clock.

A gallant horse, but he could not stop to mourn.  He seized the sweat-soaked blanket from its back and ran.  The horse had done well, and he had to trust to his own legs.  He was not yet safe.

John Slover, naked and carrying the blanket, ran from three in the afternoon until ten o'clock at night.  Once he had halted, to sink, breathless, for a rest.  He thought that he heard a halloo, behind him. That was a spur.  He leaped up and ran on until star-light.  Then he rested for two hours; he had not eaten since day before yesterday, and had not slept.  At midnight the moon had risen.  He stiffly stood, and ran and walked from midnight to morning.

Now he played the Indian.  He tried to leave no trail.  He changed his course for the southeast, and with a stick bent the grass upright behind him, where he had stepped.  This made his progress slower, but more sure.  He was getting tired.  If the Indians caught him, he would be an easy victim.  However, he had no mind to be caught.

Once he was obliged to sit down, sick.  He vomited, and this eased him, so he could go on again.  His legs and feet were full of nettles and thorns; the gnats and mosquitoes pestered him horribly, for his piece of blanketing did not cover him.  He fought them with a leafy branch, and threshing about him, he toiled ahead, cleverly using his crooked stick to conceal his trail.

On the third day, after a sleepless night, he ate a few wild raspberries.  He was growing very weak, and every inch of him throbbed and smarted and stung.  But he struck another river.  It was the Muskingum, in eastern Ohio.  He found a place only two hundred yards wide, and swam across.  The next day he captured two small crawfish and ate them.  The next night he sighted Wheeling, on the other side of the Ohio.

In the morning he yelled and waved from the bank.  A man, opposite, saw him, and ventured part way over in a canoe.  The man was afraid.

"Who are you?  Who do you aim to be?"

"I am John Slover.  Take me to Fort Henry."

"You're an Injun.  You're no John Slover.  He's dead.  I've a notion to shoot you, myself."

"I'm Slover.  I am Slover.  I've escaped from the Shawnees.  I'll name you some of the officers who were with Crawford."

So he did.  The man took him into the canoe.  He was saved.  In five days he had eaten only a handful of raspberries and two raw crawfish; in five nights he had not slept a wink; in four days and nights he had traveled across country, by horse and foot, naked except for the piece of blanketing, for a distance of about two hundred miles.  He was the true never-say-die kind, and lived for many a year yet, to tell of his adventures and to put them upon paper.

James Paull had reached home before him, and before Doctor Knight also. James was only twenty-two, but he was an old hand at Indian fighting and at scouting.  And he was a lad of great spirit, as will now be shown.

When the Indians had fired into the party and then had called upon them to surrender, he had been the one to dodge and run.  His foot was very lame from a burn.  During the battle his mess had baked bread by spreading the dough upon the back of a spade, scout fashion.  Somebody had tossed the hot spade aside, and he had stepped upon it with his bare foot.  The burn was a bad one; during the retreat his foot got worse and he could scarcely walk on it.

But now with two Indians chasing him, he paid no attention to his foot. He out-ran them, leaped down the steep bank of a creek, and in landing tore all the skin from his blistered sole.  He paid attention to it then.  Had to!  A man with a flayed foot cannot do much, in the brush.

Luckily for him, the two Indians gave him up.  He halted long enough to bind his raw foot with a piece of his trousers.  He could not travel fast, but he used his wits.  He knew all the tricks of the trail.  He hobbled along fallen logs, so as to leave no marks.  He back-tracked, in a circle, to cross his own trail and see if he was being followed. He painfully shinned up trees, wormed out to the end of a branch, and dropped as far beyond his trail as he might, so as to break it.  This would throw off the dogs, if dogs were used; yes, and it would fool the Indians, too.

That night he slept in a hollow log.  By morning his foot had swollen to the size of a bucket.  He suffered torment.  He had no food with him and was afraid to fire his gun.  So this day he ate only a few berries.

To-night he slept like a bear, on a bed of leaves in a crack in a rock. In the morning he sighted a deer.  What with his pain and his hunger he was desperate.  He shot the deer, cut it open with his gun-flint, and chewed at the bloody flesh.

This evening he came to an old Indian camp.  Several empty whiskey-kegs were lying around.  That gave him an idea.  He could have a fire, to cook with.  By building the fire underneath a keg, after dark, there would be no light, and the smoke could not be seen.  He tried that, and it worked.  After he had cooked and eaten, he slept in the smoke, which kept the mosquitoes off.  Assuredly, young James Paull knew how to take care of himself.

In two days more he reached the Ohio River above Wheeling.  On account of his foot and his gun he could not swim it.  No matter.  He made a raft of logs tied together with vines and strips of bark, and paddled over.

There he saw some horses grazing in a bottom.  He must have a horse. He fashioned a halter from twisted bark, and hobbled about, trying to catch a mount.  He limped and coaxed and sweated for two hours.  The horses were frisky and suspicious.  Every time he stalked one and was about to lay his hand upon its mane, it tossed its head and with a snort galloped away.

Finally he managed to grab the worst of the lot--an old mare.  On her he rode on, down to Short Creek, where he found all the settlers gathered in the little fort there, under Major Sam McColloch, expecting an attack by the Indians who had defeated Colonel Crawford's column.

Other refugees from the battle-field had brought the alarming news.  He was asked many questions--about Colonel Crawford, and Doctor Knight, and John Slover, and the score who were missing with them.  He could tell little.  All he knew, was, that he had escaped, and that he wished to get word to his mother, down in Virginia.

He did not stay.  He borrowed a better horse and hastened on--got as far as the cabin of his cousins, and here he had to stay and treat his foot.  At first he feared that it ought to be cut off.  It was a frightful looking foot, swollen and red and poisoned.  However, in about ten days it grew better.  He traveled down to his mother.  She was in their cabin doorway, peering up the road.

"Jim!"

"Mother!"

She welcomed him as one back from the land of the dead.  News was slow, in those days.  Nevertheless--

"I knew you'd come--I knew you'd come," she sobbed, gladly, as he held her in his arms.  For she was a widow and he was her only boy.

It was different with Mrs. Crawford and many another wife and mother. Mrs. Crawford waited day after day, for word from her husband, the gallant colonel.  At last it arrived, with Doctor Knight, and all the border heard.

The brave and courtly Colonel William Crawford had been tortured and burned.  So had his gallant young son, John--and others.

Mrs. Crawford never got over that loss.  She loved her husband devotedly.  Long years afterward, when she was old and wrinkled, she placed a little grandson behind her on her horse and took him far into the forest.  She set him down beside a moss-covered log.

"Here is where I parted with your grandfather, when he rode against the Indians," she said.  And she cried and cried.