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ON THE TRAIL.

safe; for nothing could get through scrub-oak and as soon as we had driven the cattle deep into the bay and brought our wagon to the centre, on the arc of the bight, so to speak, no Indians could stampede the cattle without blotting us out first. For the moment we were safe and as luck would have it, the water in a little creek near by was drinkable. Still we were besieged by over a hundred Indians and those odds were heavy as even Bob admitted.

Days passed and the siege continued: the Indians evidently meant to tire us out and get the herd, and our tempers didn't improve under the enforced idleness and vigilance. One evening Charlie was sprawling at the fire taking up more than his share of it, when Bent who had been looking after the cattle, came in. "Take up your legs, Charlie," he said roughly, "you don't want the whole fire." Charlie didn't hear or paid no attention: the next moment Bent had thrown himself down on Charlie's long limbs. With a curse Charlie pushed him off: the next moment Bent had hurled himself on Charlie and had shoved his head down in the fire. After a short struggle Charlie got free and in spite of all I could do, struck Bent.

Bent groped for his gun at once; but Charlie was at him striking and swinging like a wild man and Bent had to meet the attack.

Till the trial came, everyone would have said that Charlie was far and away the better man, younger too and astonishingly powerful. But Bent evidently was no novice at the game. He side-stepped Charlie's rush and hit out straight and hard and Charlie went down; but was up again like a flash, and went for his man in a wild rush: soon he was down again and everyone realized that sooner or later Bent must win. Fighting, however, has a large element of chance in it and as luck would have it just when Bent seemed most cer-