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Page:Harris Dickson--The black wolf's breed.djvu/25

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wilderness, to prey upon the natives. He became their friend and not their plunderer.

His quiet life, his kindness, his charity, his knowledge of the simple arts of healing, so endeared him to every warring faction that at his house the Choctaw and the Chickasaw, the Frenchman, Spaniard and the Englishman met alike in peace. So the needless fortifications fell into unrepaired decay.

Many an afternoon I had paddled across the bay and spent a quiet hour with him, as far from the jars and discord at Biloxi as if we were in some other world.

As, this night, we drew nearer the house we saw no signs of life save the chinks of light creeping beneath the door. I rapped, and his voice bade me enter.

The master sat at his table in the center of a great room, about which were a number of surgical and scientific instruments, all objects of mistrust to my Indian friends.

These curious weapons of destruction or of witchcraft, for so the Indians regarded them, contributed to make him an object of fear, which doubtless did much to strengthen his influence among the tribes.

He was at this time somewhat more than sixty, slender and rather above the medium height. With his usual grave courtesy he welcomed us and readily loaned the small pirogue necessary to carry our party across the bay.

The Indians were restless and the governor waited, so I only thanked our host and turned to go.

He rose, and laying his hand upon my arm detained me. "Wait, Placide; I am glad you returned this