The Border Watch: A Story of the Great Chief's Last Stand
Library of Alexandria
A late sun, red and vivid, cast beams of light over a dark river, flowing slowly. The stream was a full half mile from shore to shore, and the great weight of water moved on in silent majesty. Both banks were lined with heavy forest, dark green by day, but fused now into solid blackness by the approach of night. The scene was wild and primordial. To an eye looking down it would have seemed that man had never come there, and that this was the dawn of time. The deep waters lapped the silent shore until a gentle sighing sound arose, a sound that may have gone on unheard for ages. Close to the water a file of wild ducks flew like an arrow to the north, and, in a little cove where the current came in shallow waves, a stag bent his head to drink. The sun lingered in the west and then sank behind the vast wall of forest. The beams of red and gold lasted for a little space on the surface of the river, and then faded into the universal night. Under the great cloak of the dark, the surface of the river showed but dimly, and the rising wind blew through the forest with a chill and uncanny sound. The ordinary soul would have been appalled by the mighty isolation of the wilderness, yet the river itself was not without the presence of human life. Close to the northern shore, where the shadow of the tall forest lay deepest, floated a long boat, containing five figures that rested easily. Two of the crew were boys, but as tall and strong as men. The other three were somewhat older. The boat carried four pairs of oars, but only one man rowed, and he merely pulled on an oar from time to time to give direction, while the current did the work. His comrades leaned comfortably against the sides of the boat, and with keen eyes, trained to the darkness, watched for a break in the black battlement of the trees.