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CHAPTER I

THE MASTER

IT was late one clear moonlight night in the spring of 17—, when three silent figures emerged from the woodland darkness and struck across the wide extent of rank grass which yet separated us from the bay. Tuskahoma led the way, a tall grim Choctaw chieftain, my companion on many a hunt, his streaming plumes fluttering behind him as he strode. I followed, and after me, Le Corbeau Rouge, a runner of the Choctaws. We were returning to Biloxi from a reconnaissance in the Chickasaw country.

Each straight behind the other, dumb and soundless shadows, we passed along the way, hardly bruising a leaf or brushing the rustling reeds aside.

"See, there is the light," grunted Tuskahoma, pointing to a glimmer through the trees. "Yes, the White Prophet never sleeps," assented Le Corbeau Rouge.

The light which marked our almost ended journey came from a window in one of those low, square log houses, fortress-dwellings, so common in the provinces.

Here, however, the strong pine palisades were broken down in many places; the iron-studded gate hung un-

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