Page:Yule Logs.djvu/298

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"I shall never run to-morrow, for I have had no food, and I shall faint."

"I have brought food," she answered, "also wherewith to dress your wounds and make you strong."

Cautiously she raised a corner of the matting which hung over the entrance of the hut, so that a glimmer of light from the now dying fires crept in. Then she fed him with meat, and afterwards she bathed his head, and stripping his shirt as best she could, washed his wounds. When all was finished, she put a nut into his mouth, saying—

"It is bitter to the taste, but it is sweet, for it will give you strength; let it lie all night in your mouth, and to-morrow you will run swiftly. Our warriors eat thereof when they go on the war trail, and they are strong. Now, farewell!"

Through the dimness he saw the tall, lithe figure glide out and disappear into the night. Then a sort of lethargy stole over him; his eyelids closed and he slept.

A prolonged whoop, and Josh awoke with a start. The sun was creeping into the hut, and he knew it was morning. If he had needed any reminder of what lay before him, it was there unmistakably, in the presence of half-a-dozen red men, who stood talking and gesticulating, whilst one of their number cut the thongs which bound him, and by a sign bade him rise. He obeyed, and instantly heavy hands were laid upon him, his clothes were torn off his back, and he stood stark naked in their midst.

A momentary feeling of the utter hopelessness of his position swept over him; as he looked at the savages, armed with tomahawks and scalping-knives, he felt that his chances of life were indeed small.

"Have good courage, be swift of foot, and it will be well with you;" Thusick, the King's daughter, had so spoken, and he believed her; moreover, he was conscious that the fatigue of the previous day had passed away. His