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Bennett, Emerson, 1822-1905 [1851], The league of the Miami. (Lorenzo Stratton, Cincinnati) [word count] [eaf470T].
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Whoever has attempted to trace through
its various windings, or plunge into and
divine the mysteries of that mysterious,
inexplicable thing, the human heart, has
ever found himself perplexed—lost in a
mazy bewilderment. Well sung one of
England's greatest poets,

“The proper study of mankind is man,”

for man is a strange, strange being; his
life is a medley of inconsistencies—his
heart a labyrinth of good and evil. There
is in our nature a propensity, a desire for
concealment, which may be termed somewhat
hypocritical, and which gives the
outward, and the inward man, two strong
contrasting aspects. Were it not for this,
we should not see the gentle smile upon
the surface, while the death-worm was
gnawing at the core. We should not be
daily told that such an one is happy, such
an one enjoys all the beauties of life,
while he, or she, is looking forward to
the cold and silent tomb to end the misery
of a life of woe. Why is this? Why
do we seek to seem other than we feel—
than we are? Ah, there is the mystery.
That it is so, none will deny. Were it
not for this—were our features the index
of our thoughts—where would be the
sacredness of grief? or the holy charm
of love? And is not one sacred to us?
Does not the other seem holy in our eyes?
Do we not hoard them in our heart of
hearts, as the miser hoards his treasures
from the gaze of the world? And do
we not, like him, feel a secret pleasure in
brooding over them in silence, alone?
Could we not do this—did the world
know us as we know ourselves—not all
the terrors of death, not all the terrors of
a great hereafter, would be sufficient to
hinder thousands from rashly plunging
into the mystic, UNKNOWN BEYOND! In
this do we not behold an All-wise

This may, in part, account why hundreds
do and say what we consider the
very antipodes of our nature. This may,
perchance, be developed in the course of
our tale. Be this as it may, reader, we
do not set up for an essayest—we did
not intend an essay—and deeming this
apology sufficient for what we have said,
we shall, without further preliminary,
enter at once upon our story.

It was a winter's evening in the year
of our Lord 1798, and in a private apartment
of a building then standing on Front

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street, in the village of Cincinnati, were
two individuals, who, destined to figure
largely in our narrative, must be brought
into notice.

The room, of moderate size, was well
furnished. The floor was covered with a
carpet, on which stood, in one corner, a
high-post bedstead, the bed of which was
screened from view by calico curtains
falling around its front and end. At the
foot of this was a trundle-bed, on which
lay a sweet little girl, some ten years of
age, apparently asleep. There was something
beautifully serene in her open,
guileless countenance, as she lay there,
heedless of the dark world before her—
heedless of the unknown future that was
destined to try her soul. There she lay,
a gentle being, expressive of hopeful,
thoughtless innocence. By a table, near
a fire that was blazing in the chimney,
sat a man, over whom some thirty years
had not passed without leaving the marks
of conflicting passions. He was sitting
with his hand clasped on his forehead,
his elbow resting on the table, in an attitude
of deep study. His face was partly
turned toward a lamp standing on the table
a little distance from him, which served
to throw his figure into bold relief, and
light the apartment. Between him and
the light was a roll of papers, carelessly
tumbled over, which he had, evidently,
been examining. Raising his head at
length, be fixed his eyes upon the light with
that vacant stare which told his mind still
seriously occupied. His features were not
handsome, strictly speaking, neither were
they ugly. His face was rather oval, stamped
more with the marks of thought and
care, than years. In the whole expression
of his countenance, there was nothing decidedly
sinister, and yet there was something
dark—something mysterious. His
forehead was high, pale, and full of
thought, from which his dark, or rather
black, hair fell off either way in striking
contrast. His eyes were black and piercing,
very fiery, and almost incapable of
a soft, or languid expression. His cheek-bones
were high and rather prominent,
and the cheeks themselves a little concave.
His nose might be classed between the
Roman and aquiline, bordering, as it
did, slightly on both. His mouth was
medium in size, with thin lips, close drawn
over a full set of teeth. His chin rose
prominently from a curve below the
mouth, was round, full, and, combined
with the rest of his features, gave him a
character of decision and firmness. If
we take the whole expression into consideration,
we find a singular mixture of good
and evil struggling for the predominance.
A mind peculiarly sensitive on some points,
on others as peculiarly hardened. It was
this, undoubtedly—this struggling of his
soul between good and evil—this inward
war of two mighty, opposing passions—
that, as before said, had stamped his face
with the look of thought and care—had
given to his skin a pale, cadaverous cast.

For a few minutes he sat in the position
last described, while something within
seemed agitating his soul, which exhibited
itself in certain quivers of his features,
as the bottom of a well, when disturbed
displays itself in gentle wavelets directly
upon the surface.

“I see no other way,” said he, at length,
in a deep, heavy voice. “I see no other
way. Yes, yes, it must be so,” continued
he, after a pause, during which a
more settled look came over his countenance,
and his lips closed tightly over his
teeth, with a firm, determined expression.
“Could it be otherwise—but no! no!
it cannot be—there is a fate, a destiny
that wills it. Some contend that every
man can be honest; I admit under certain
certain circumstances it may be true;
but can man shape the circumstances

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which govern him? If so, why is one
wallowing in filth and wretchedness, starving
for bread — bread the staff of life —
bread the support of famishing nature —
while another, born like him of woman,
is rolling in all the pomp, the aristocracy
of wealth? Why is one a slave, another
a lord? Is it not the combined force of
circumstances? Is it not destiny? and
can man alter his destiny? Oh! that I
could look into the future and read my
final end! and yet, and yet, methinks I
should fear to do it. And wherefore fear?
what must be, can I alter? End, end,”
continued he, solemnly, “the end is death!
Ah! that is a fearful thing to contemplate—
death — and — a hereafter! Is
there a hereafter? — fearful thought! —
I pause. But no! no! I'll think no more,
lest I waver — lest I shrink with the
thought. Born perchance to evil, I must
in evil follow out my destiny. Alas!
alas! what will become of Cicely, poor
Cicely — sweet girl, I tremble for, I pity
her. The oath! the horrid oath! thank
God, I did not keep that oath; for she,
sweet angel, shall in the balance weigh
against my sins. And is it not for her I
now plunge on to other deeds? She —
she must live — must live in innocence.
Money is wanting — my stock is exhausted—
I go but to gain money — and for
her — for her. Will such an act be written
down against me? Will God — why
do I pause? there is a God! — will he
not pardon me the deed in the intent?
A thought strikes me — yes, I will, this
night. Ha! those papers — but I must
make her swear to keep them close.”

As he spoke, he wrapped the papers,
before mentioned as lying on the table
before him, closely together, and placed
them inside his vest; then rising from his
seat, he commenced pacing the floor.
His form was tall, commanding, and in proportions,
beautiful. There was strength,
grace, and elasticity combined. He was
dressed in black, which became his figure
well. There was nothing decidedly mean,
nor sordid, in his appearance.

For some minutes he paced the room
with a quick, elastic step; sometimes running
his fingers through his hair, sometimes
striking his hand against his breast
with an uneasy, nervous motion, that told
all was not right within; while his brow
contracted, and a dark shade rested on
his features. At length he paused near
the gentle sleeper, and gazed tenderly upon
her: then his brow relaxed, and a smile,
for the moment, chased away the shade,
and his features settled to a quiet calm.

“How innocent she sleeps,” sighed he,
in an altered voice. “Did I ever sleep
thus innocent? The gentle, the lovely
Cicely! How I love that child; and who
doth not that ever saw her? — she is a
being to be loved. Alas! I fear she is
a flower too beautiful to last. And she
calls me father — I taught her that. O
how sweetly it rings out in her silvery
voice. And we must part; ah! that,
that wrings my soul! I go to — to — I
will not name it — I will not mar more
sacred thoughts by the contaminating
sound; I go, because it is my destiny.
Some day she will know what now she
little dreams. And will she despise me
then? No! no! I could not bear that;
she will pity, she will pity me. Her
pure, gentle spirit will not despise — that
would be contrary to the law of angels —
and she is one. Ah! she smiles — she
is dreaming — sweet, sweet Cicely!” and
bending gently over, be pressed his lips
upon her clear, white, ivory forehead.
“If I am ever saved, it will be by thee,
sweet one. But I must think no more of
thee, or I shall be a child, and weep;”
and he drew his fingers quickly across his

At this moment Cicely awoke, and,

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fastening her soft, deep blue eyes mournfully
upon the other, she, in a sweet, sad,
heart-touching voice, inquired:

“What is the matter, dear father?”
The other started, for he supposed her

“Nothing, my child,” said he, hastily,

“Nothing,” repeated Cicely; “you
always answer so when you are sad, as
if I couldn't understand. Nothing—I
know that isn't it, dear father.”

“I was merely thinking of something
long ago, my child. Do not let it trouble
you, Cicely. I have forgotten it already;
see! I smile again.”

“Ah! that smile is to please me,”
sighed she.

“Well, well, be a good girl, and go to
sleep again; I must be gone now—a few
minutes' business calls me away.”

“But you will return soon, father?”

“Soon? Ay, ay, I will return soon.
There, good-bye.” As he spoke, he
pressed a kiss upon her rosy lips, and,
turning, left the room. Cicely composed
herself, and was soon asleep; for sleep
comes quickly to the young and innocent.

Meanwhile the other passed into the
street, descended a steep hill to the river,
unfastened a skiff which was there, entered
it, and shot directly across the Ohio.
The object, and adventure, will be shown
in the following chapter.


Somewhat back from the little village
of Covington, there stood, at the time of
which we write, a rude log hut, owned
and tenanted by a single person, a
woman some forty years of age. On
the evening in question, she was seated
on a rough made chair, before a fire,
which, blazing on the hearth, threw flickering
shadows upon her weather-beaten,
strongly-marked countenance. She was
bent a little over—her elbows resting on
her knees—her fingers interlocked—
gazing upon the flame with a listless, half
sleepy look. The inside of this cottage
exhibited much cleanliness, but was rough
and homely. A bed stood in one corner,
covered with a patched quilt. In another
corner was an old fashioned dresser, on
which were ranged a few pewter dishes,
some crockery ware, and at the foot of
which were a few pots and kettles. Along
one side of the wall hung various articles
of female apparel, a rude broom, one or
two willow baskets, &c., &c. Over head,
suspended by two wooden hooks, was a
very neat rifle, one of the hooks also sustaining
a pouch and powder-horn. We
must not forget to mention a clock, then
a much rarer piece of furniture than now,
which adorned one portion of the apartment,
and whose steady, solemn tick, was
the only sound now audible. The floor
was plain, but very white, from being often
scoured, and was graced with an old
arm-chair, just such a piece of furniture
as we never see without being reminded
of the couplet.

“I love it, I love it, and who shall dare
To chide me, for loving that old arm-chair.”

One or two other chairs, a rough loom,
a foot-wheel, a spinning-wheel, a dealtable,
a sort of stand to work by, on which
was a candle, a stocking half knit, evidently
just laid down, completed the
general appearance of the place. This,
by the way, was the only room in the
house, if we except a rude half attic,
entered by a ladder at one end.

The only tenant of this building—that
is the only human tenant (for a large

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cabby cat lay dozing on the hearth)—
was the individual seated before the fire,
and whom we shall designate by the
appellation of Molly Magore.

Molly Magore, as before said, was about
forty; but for the matter of that, she might
have been taken for sixty, so much so had
trouble and exposure, amused themselves
by drawing furrows upon her countenance.
There was in the expression of her countenance
nothing of greatness, but a great
deal of goodness. Her features were decidedly
ugly, and, but for this expression
of goodness, might have been pronounced
hideous. Her hair of a tow, or flaxen
color, was combed up and back from the
sides and front of her head, was twisted
together, and was then quirled round and
fastened on the top by an old three-toothed
comb. By this operation many of the
hairs had been pulled out, especially in
front, above the forehead, giving it a
rather rough, stumpy appearance. Her
eyebrows were light like her hair, and
very thin; but her skin was dark and
bronzed from exposure. Her eyes were
oblique, of a pale blue, and of that peculiar
cast which requires something very
extraordinary to make flash. Her face,
from the forehead to the chin, formed a
half semi, or quarter circle; and the lower
part of the nose—which, by the way, was
short, and turned up—found its position
about half way on the arch. She was a
little sunken about the mouth, for most
of her teeth had decayed. Add to this a
rather wrinkled skin, rough and coarse,
and you have a pretty good idea of her
features. But ugly as they were in form,
there was something about them that
would at once interest you. Her eyes
looked mild, and a softened expression
seemed to rest on her countenance. Her
dress consisted of a frock of coarse, red
woollen, with short sleeves, which left the
lower part of her brawny arms bare. A
large check apron was fastened around
her waist by a tow string, and her feet
were covered with thick brogans.

Molly Magore, in some respects, was a
very singular woman. In the first place,
she took great delight in doing good secretly,
but seemed to take an equal delight
in openly appearing in the worst
light possible. Her manners to a stranger
were rough and boorish; and it was
only when excited by some tale of suffering,
that the feelings of her heart were
truly displayed. She was also very eccentric,
and would sit for hours in the
position we have introduced her, without
noticing external objects. To account for
this singularity, we must leave to those,
if there be such, who can account for the
various workings of the human heart; we
merely state the fact.

It now becomes necessary for us, before
proceeding further, to give a brief history
of this woman, which we shall make as
brief as possible.

Poor, humble, and ugly as she looks,
Molly Magore had been raised in affluence.
Born of wealthy parents in the
State of New York, she had had, in early
life, all the advantages of society and education
which such a position could bestow.
Life, with her, until arrived at the age of
sixteen, had glided sweetly along, like the
even current of a beautiful stream. Every
wish of her heart had been divined and
gratified. Her father, formerly a merchant,
had retired from business, rich.
He was a stern, morose man, who said
but little to any one, and who disliked his
daughter because she was not handsome.
This he never openly avowed; and as he
was ever willing to gratify her slightest
wish, she rarely ever gave it a thought.
Her mother was a very different being.
She was mild, gentle, affectionate, and
loved her daughter tenderly. She was,
besides, a pious lady; and she instilled

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into her daughter's mind those noble precepts
of christianity, which come up, in
after years, from the wells of memory,
and shed a hallowed influence around the
soul. How many who have launched into
the wide, stormy sea of dissipation, have
been checked in mid-career, have been
saved, by the recollections of a pious mother's
prayers and holy teachings. How
much, mothers of our country, depends
upon the training of your children! To
you is consigned a nation's welfare! To
you will posterity turn with blessings or
reproaches, as you in good or evil dispose
of the sacred trusts the Almighty has
consigned to your charge. Let this solemn
truth be impressed upon you, that
you may thereby act in righteous judgment!

At the age of sixteen, the mother of
Mary Ellington (otherwise Molly Magore)
closed her accounts with time, and passed
to the abodes of the blest—first blessing
and giving her only child much parental
advice—advice which she treasured—
advice which bore her up in after years
through many heart-rending trials—advice
which finally saved her from the
dread abyss of crime.

We have said that her father was stern
and morose in his disposition while his
wife was living; after her death he became
still more so; and his daughter,
whom he never loved, he now as much
as possible avoided; and she wept for her
mother in silence, alone, without sympathy.
Thus a year passed in dull, gloomy
monotony with the daughter, at the end
of which time the father married, and
brought his new wife home. This seemed
for Molly a final blow; for her step-mother
was a woman proud, tyrannical, and jealous
of authority; and being persuaded
by a young man who often visited there,
whom she held in good esteem, and who
in return professed to love her with true
devotion, she finally eloped, and they
were married. This was a sufficient plea
for her father to disown her, which he accordingly
did; and her husband, who was
seeking money only in this alliance, finding
himself disappointed in his high expectations,
abused, and at last deserted
her. Thus at the age of eighteen, without
friends—without money—without
hope—she who had been reared in affluence
was thrown upon the world, a creature
to be pitied. We say without friends, for
she was too proud to let her former associates
know of her degraded condition.

Had she been like many of her sex, she
would have drooped under the blow, or
have plunged into crime, and ended her life
in miserable dissipation. But hers was the
spirit of the oak which defies the storm.
She remembered a mother's teachings—
she sought consolation in the God of the
friendless, and grappled with the world
without a repining thought. She hired
herself to a farmer, and though unacquainted
with the business, she, with
ready tact, soon learned all the useful occupations
appertaining thereto, and worked
with an honest zeal that won her high
regard. Her former history she kept
a secret; and though the persons with
whom she lived would gladly have known
more of her, yet they never ventured to
question her on that point. Thus years
rolled on, and thus Molly Magore (for
such the name she had assumed, and ever
after adhered to,) passed her time in her
daily routine of business, laying aside her
hard earnings for a future period.

At length she concluded to leave the
farm, and visit the great emporium of the
western continent—the city of New York.
Accordingly she packed her few things
together, took a friendly leave of the good
people with tears in her eyes, while they,
as much affected, wished her a happy
destiny. Arrived in New York, she soon

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procured a situation in one of the most
wealthy mansions of the city, as governess,
and future instructor of a then little
girl. A short time after, the child, about
two years of age, was missing and had
never been heard of since, although the
strictest search had been instituted and
kept up for a long period. Molly was at
once arrested as the murderess, or accessory
kidnapper of the child, while the
parents themselves went nearly crazy
in consequence of the loss. She was
tried, but as nothing could be proven
against her, she was finally acquitted; not,
however, (as generally happens in such
cases,) until her character had been ruined.
This was another terrible blow to
the poor creature, for we scarcely need
inform the reader she was innocent.
Molly had borne many trials with fortitude
and patience; but to be accused of
crime, and such a crime—to be dragged
to the bar of justice—upheld to the
world—pointed at with the finger of
scorn—was too much; her reason tottered,
deserted her, and for several days
she wandered about the streets of New
York a harmless maniac. But the
strength of her constitution saved her—
gave her reason an ascendancy; and falling
in with some emigrants soon after,
she, in company with them, journeyed to
the West. Here, after much additional
suffering and privation, she at last succeeded
in settling down in the little cottage
just described—having purchased it, and
some ten acres of land adjoining, with the
hard-earned money of former years.

Thus, by suffering, had she learned to
feel for the unfortunate; thus, by suffering,
one by one had those wrinkles been
traced in her countenance: and, thus,
reader, have we made you somewhat acquainted
with her history, which, to the
development of our tale, was important
for you to know. Now to proceed.

Molly sat in the position we have introduced
her for an hour, without showing
any signs of life, other than by her breathing,
while the old clock ticked on, and
finally struck nine: about which time a
loud rap was heard at the door.

“Come in,” said Molly, gruffly, without
looking up.

The door opened, and the stranger
introduced in the preceding chapter entered.
Molly turned her face partly
round, measured him from head to foot
with a half contemptuous look, as one
would measure an inferior antagonist, and
then mutely pointed to a vacant chair.

The stranger obeyed the gesture, and
as he seated himself, said:

“Your name, I believe, is Molly Magore?”

“You can believe what you please,

“Am I not right?”

“If you are, what of it?”

“Why, then, I have particular business
with you.”

“Say on.”

“I have heard you represented as a
woman who is ever ready to do a good

“Umph! People lie often without

“But are they not right in this respect?”

“That is for you to find out.”

“You answer strangely.”

“You question likewise.”

The stranger mused a moment, bit his
lips, and seemed puzzled how to proceed,
while a half angry look partly clouded
his features. At length he resumed:

“I have called to know if you will take
charge of a young girl?”

Molly suddenly started, turned her
face full upon the stranger, and eyed him
steadily some moments before making a

“Take charge of a young girl, sir,”

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repeated she, slowly, “take charge of a
young girl! are you mocking me? Do
you know—but no, no,” continued she,
lowering her voice, “what could he
know?” and her whole features underwent
a singular change.

The stranger noticed this, but without
appearing to do so, again resumed:

“Yes, I have a young child, a very
interesting little girl, about ten years of
age, whom I wish to consign to your care,
as I have business which calls me away.
She is a beautiful being, you will love
her, you cannot help it. Alas!” sighed
he, “poor child! save myself, she is
without a protector, I may say without a

“No, no, no! not without a friend,”
cried Molly, energetically, her rough,
ugly features glowing with a compassionate
look, truly wonderful to behold; “not
without a friend, sir—say not that—I
will be her friend. I feel I love her
already—the poor unfortunate!” and
Molly passed her hand across her eyes.

“Ah! now I know you for the being
you have been represented,” said the
stranger, joyfully; “now I shall have no
fears for her safety; you will be a mother
to her.”

Molly made no answer; but rising, she
paced the floor with rapid strides, repeating
to herself, “The poor unfortunate!”
Suddenly she made a halt.

“Your name, stranger?”


“The child's?”


“Your daughter?”

“She calls me father.”

“Cicely Vandemore—'tis a pretty
name—I love the name,” said Molly,
again resuming her walk. “Cicely
Cicely,” repeated she, musingly, “tis
the same, 'tis the same—singular

“Well,” said the stranger, or Vandemore,
rising, “I suppose it is settled;
you will take the child?”

“I will.”

“But how about the pay?”

“What pay, sir?” inquired Molly,
again halting.

“For taking care of the child.”

“I ask nothing.”

“But I shall be gone a long time; perchance
years—perchance”—he paused,
as if loth to repeat, and then added—

Again Molly looked at him steadily.

“Forever, said you? can you leave
your child forever?”

“But I know not what may happen.”

“True, true; rest easy, then, while I
live she shall share with me; and yet,”
added she, “if you have money to spare,
a little would not come amiss.”

“I have none at present—I go to gain
money; fear not but that you shall be

“Rest easy for me.”

“Can I confide to you a secret?”

“You can act your pleasure.”

“Will you swear to keep it?”

“I never swear.”

“Well, well,” said Vandemore, smiling,
“you are a singular woman; a very
singular woman.”

“You echo others.”

“Well, I am not afraid to trust you, at
all events; to-morrow, at the hour of
mine, I shall be here with Cicely, I shall
then place in your hands a sealed packet,
with the request that you will deposit it
in some secure place, and not open it, nor
allow Cicely to do so, save one of these
three provisos shall come to pass: First,
her death. Second, your death. Third,
her arrival at the age of eighteen, which
will occur on the 13th of June, 1806.”

“Your request shall be adhered to.”

“Thank you! and now I will take my

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leave. To-morrow I shall be here at
nine, precisely, Adieu.”

“Good night,” returned Molly; and
as the stranger disappeared, she resumed
her position before the fire, muttering to
herself—“the poor unfortunate child!”


Punctual to his agreement, on the
following morning at the hour of nine,
precisely, Vandemore appeared before
the cottage of Molly Magore, leading
little Cicely by the hand. It was one of
those mild winter mornings not unusual
to this climate, which come, as it were,
to give us a foretaste of the spring; and
the blooming cheeks of Cicely told she
felt that joyous gushing of the soul—
that vigorous elasticity of youth—which,
in the young and innocent, such mornings
rarely ever fail to inspire. As yet she
knew nothing of the object of this visit,
and all with her was hope and gladness.

“What a queer old house, father,”
said Cicely, as they neared it, looking up
to the other's face with a laughing sparkle
in her eyes. “See! those old logs; O I
wouldn't like to live there, would you,

Vandemore turned away his head a
moment, and then said:

“Why not Cicely?”

“O because it isn't pretty, like the
place where we live. Are you going in,
father?” continued she, as he rapped on
the door.

“Yes, my child, a friend lives here.”

At this moment the door opened, and
Molly very civilly bade them enter.

“This then, is to be my sweet, little
girl,” said Molly, approaching Cicely,
who drew back rather suddenly, and
looked at Vandemore with an inquiring,
half startled air.

“She tells you true, Cicely,” said
Vandemore, seating himself, evidently
much affected. “I shall have to leave
you, my child—at least, for a time.”

Cicely stood for a moment looking first
at one and then at the other, while her
eyes filled with tears. Suddenly, by an
impulsive movement, she sprang forward,
threw her arms around Vandemore's
neck, and giving him a kiss, cried:

“No, no, no! dear father; you will
not leave me? you will not leave your
Cicely?” and nestling close to him, she
buried her head upon his breast, and
wept convulsively.

Vandemore fairly shook with emotion—
his lips quivered—his eyes
dimmed—his heart seemed to rise in
his throat—and it was with the utmost
difficulty he was enabled to speak; while
Molly was scarcely less agitated.

“My child! my Cicely! look up—do
not weep—what must be, you know,
must be,” said he, in trembling tones.
“I must go, but I will come back again,
Molly will be a mother to you; she will
take the best care of you; she will see
that you have every thing you need.”

“Indeed I will—the poor unfortunate!”
burst forth the noble-hearted
woman, in a voice of tenderness, wiping
her aye with the corner of her check

Cicely, at this tender strain of feeling,
raised her head, for it had touched a
secret chord in her breast; and raising
her soft, blue eyes, still moist with tears,
which hung like pearls on azure balls, full
upon Molly, who had just placed the
apron to her eyes, she, in a simple, touching
strain, said:

“You must not cry—I don't like to see
you cry.”

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Molly dropped her apron, and gazed
upon Cicely in pleasing astonishment—
her rough, weather-beaten features animated
with a joyous glow, that made her
look almost beautiful.

It was a beautiful picture, that group,
as all three for a moment remained mute,
as if held enchained by some inward
power. But the most beautiful of all,
was the beautiful Cicely, as she sat on
the knees of Vandemore, in a careless,
negligent manner, her head just raised
from his breast, on which one hand still
rested to sustain her position, and, turned
partly round, her blue eyes fastened on
Molly with a sympathetic, languid, tenler
expression. There was the grace and
beauty of youth combined in every expression
of her guileless countenance. It
was the grace of nature—it was the
beauty not only of formation, but of a
softened, exquisite refinement, which we
never see, save in superior, sensitive beings.
Youth, not the least of her charms,
had thrown its rosy flush over all, while
the soul was beaming there to give all
that sweet animation of expression untold
in description. The features, the form
of Cicely, were moulded in the depths of
earthly perfection; and, although not
fully developed, were yet of that peculiar
cast, that to see her was to love her. Her
hair was of a bright, golden yellow, and,
with a natural curl, clustered around her
face and neck in a delightful profusion of
most tasteful ringlets. Her eyes were
full, of a sparkling, vivacious blue when
mirthful; when sad of thoughtful, more
soft and languid. Her skin was fair and
smooth, clear as pearl, and delicate in
texture. Her teeth were white, pearly,
visible when she smiled, and were enclosed
by two half-pouting, rosy, tempting
lips. Thus at all times was she an
interesting being; for with the beauty of
person, we must combine a beauty of
mind—a gentle, affectionate disposition,
which is ever sure to win its way into the
deep recesses of our hearts. Interesting
as she was, Cicely never looked more
interesting than at the moment we have
described her, seated in that negligent
attitude of sympathetic sorrow. Vandemore
gazed upon her with a look of sadness;
his usually stern, dark countenance
was relaxed, and was lighted by a look
of tender admiration, almost child-like
simplicity. We have said this man had
two strong opposing passions—good and
evil: good was now predominant. Molly
stood before her for a moment, gazing on
her with animated, joyful surprise; while
a thrill, a sudden thrill, shot through her
frame like an electric spark—a thrill of
instinctive love for the child before her;
and, involuntarily, she reached forth her
arms as if to clasp her. Something like
this must have passed through the frame
of Cicely; for she leaned gently forward,
extended her beautiful hands, and the
next moment was clasped in the other's
arms. Was this impulsive feeling—this
sympathetic yearning of soul for soul—
this vibration and unison of two hidden
chords—a species of magnetism?—who
shall say?

“You will love—you will love rough
old Molly, will you not, sweet Cicely?”
said she pressing a kiss on her smooth,
ivory forehead, while the latter cast down
her eyes with a modest blush. “Will you
not my pretty Cicely?” continued Molly.

A half audible “yes” broke from the
lips of the little girl; but so simple, so
touching, so full of the purity of truth,
that Molly, as she pressed her to her
bosom with a woman's warmth, could not
repress the rising tear.

“O, you will make an old fool of me,”
said she, placing Cicely on the floor, and
wiping her eyes. “I shall be a complete
childish old fool.”

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“Said I not that you would love her?”
put in Vandemore, at the same time
catching her up in his arms and imprinting
a kiss on her glowing cheeks, his own
features animated with a joyful look.
“Said I not that you would love her?”

“And you said well,” returned Molly.

“Now, Cicely,” continued Vandemore,
“I know you for the little angel I ever
supposed you. You will not weep and
grieve for me, when I am gone, will

Cicely looked at him long and earnestly;
her features grew sad—melancholy;
her large blue eyes beamed on
his with a tender, heart-touching gaze;
her lips parted—her voice trembled, as
she inquired:

“Where are you going, father?”

Vandemore started—a sudden paleness
ran like a flash athwart his features;
even his lips whitened; deep furrows
could be traced in his forehead; dark
livid lines were round his eyes; his soul
was in agony. Suddenly he buried his
face in his hands, while his whole frame
shook like an oak in the whirlwind.
Cicely was frightened, and Molly looked
on in silent wonder. By an effort—a
mighty effort—Vandemore recovered
himself, and his features assumed a
severe, death like calmness.

“You asked where I was going, did
you not, Cicely?” said he, at length.

“Yes, father; but as it pains you, do
not answer. I know you will do nothing
but what is good and right, father.”

Again Vandemore became painfully
affected; again that strong, dark man
was shaken by the voice of a child; again
good and evil were struggling for the

“Thank you, my child—thank you,
Cicely, for those kind words,” said he,
in a voice of forced calmness. “Ever
believe that I will do what is good and
right; and if—if—” his voice faltered—
“if it should chance I never
come back—you never see me more—”

“Oh, father!” burst forth Cicely,
clasping her little hands.

“Promise me,” said he, in continuation,
“you will never curse my

“Curse you father?” returned Cicely,
shuddering, looking at him in wonder.

“Ay, Cicely, promise me that whatever
may befall me—let what may ring
in your ears in after years concerning
me—promise me you will never curse

“Oh! no, no, no! father,” cried
Cicely, “I could not—would not—
never will do that, dear, dear father!”
and the next moment she was clasped to
his heart.

“This may look dark and mysterious
to you,” said Vandemore, turning to
Molly, “but you will some day, most
probably, know the meaning.”

“I seek to know nothing,” replied
Molly. Your affairs, whether good or
evil, must rest with yourself and God!”
and she turned her eyes upward, and her
voice was solemnly impressive.

“Farewell, Cicely,” said Vandemore,
reverently pressing a kiss upon her forehead
and lips, placing her on the floor
and rising from his chair, while her eyes
filled with tears; “farewell, my child!
promise me you will not grieve!”

“I cannot promise, but I will try my
best to be good,” said she, sweetly, the
tears rolling down her cheeks.

“I know—I know—I know you
will;” and Vandemore turned away his
head. “Here, Molly,” said he, in a low
voice, drawing a parcel from his breast,
“here is the packet. Remember, death,
or the 13th of June, 1806.”

“I shall remember,” returned Molly,
as she took the papers.

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“Farewell, Cicely,” exclaimed Vandemore,
suddenly catching her up in his
arms, and covering her face with kisses.
“God bless you!” and again placing her
on the floor he turned to Molly—grasped
her hand—“farewell—protect—love
her—God bless you both! Farewell!
farewell!” and he rushed from the house.

Both sprang to the door, and saw a
tall, splendid figure moving rapidly toward
the river. Soon it was lost behind
a hill, and Vandemore was seen no more.

Sad and gloomy were the hearts of
Molly and her little protege, as they
turned back into the house after the final
disappearance of Vandemore. Cicely
was sad, because she feared her father
would never come back. Molly felt for
the child, and consequently she was sad;
but she endeavored by the best of her
abilities to cheer and comfort her “little
unfortunate,” as she termed her; and
gradually, as time wore on, she, by unceasing
care and attention succeeded; so
much so, that Cicely, who at first took it
very hard, and for several days looked
pale and careworn with grief, at last
resumed a fresher color—bloomed out
like a rose—while the brilliant sparkle
once more danced in her eye. She soon
began to look up to Molly as to a mother,
benefactor, counsellor, and instructor;
while old Molly in turn called her
daughter, darling, unfortunate, and the
like. She moreover took great pride in
instructing her in all the various branches
of housewifery, together with those belonging
to a good English education,
which she found had been sadly neglected;
for it will be recollected by the
reader that Molly was a woman of superior
education herself.

Thus days, weeks, months, and years
rolled on, and Cicely grew up under the
care and instruction of Molly into a beautiful,
blooming, rosy-cheeked damsel;
moulded in grace and beauty of person—
moulded in truth and virtue of intellect.
Molly was a religious woman, and yet she
professed no creed. She believed in
doing all that was conscientiously right;
she believed a person could worship and
call upon the Supreme Being beneath his
or her own roof, be it never so humble,
as well as in marble halls on velvet cushions;
and these views, these principles,
(which perhaps a few bigots will sneer
at, but which will not alter them, thank
God!) she instilled into the mind of
Cicely, gently, and unperceived, as falls
the dew upon the flower; and with these
holy feelings Cicely awoke to all the
charms, the beauties of nature, and of
Nature's God, whom she worshiped, not
through fear, but because she believed
him the perfection of existence, the full
embodiment of love.

Cicely, as she ripened in years, became
more and more poetic; her imagination
became enlarged; her eye more fully developed
to her mind the beauty, the harmony
of creation; while the mind in turn
gave the eye a more delightful appreciation
of the real, by connecting it with the
enchanting ideal.

Thus lived she, as it were, in a world
of her own; sometimes sad, and sometimes
merry, but always affectionate, grateful,
and kind to all. She grew to love Molly
with an earnest affection, which not only
lasts through life, but carries its remembrance
even into the solemn solitude of
the tomb. Cicely had loved Vandemore
as a father; but, be it said, she had never
loved him with that pure affection which
she felt for Molly. She had loved him as
the vine the oak—its protector; she loved
Molly as the flower the dew—its nourisher.
The one was the love of respect—
a something to cling to; the other the love
of affection—a something to revive. The
one of the head, the other of the heart.

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[figure description] Page 021.[end figure description]

We would not infer by these remarks,
that she had thrown off Vandemore—had
forgotten him—far from it. She often
thought of him with wonder and regret:
wonder, that he had left her, and where
he could have gone, for she had never
heard of him since he left: regret, that,
if living, he did not return. He had ever
been kind to her—had given her her
will—had gratified every wish in his
power to please the outward eye, the carnal
sense; Molly had turned her thoughts
inward and upward—had gratified her
mental vision—had opened to her soul
a new existence, more charming, more
holy, more beautiful. She delighted to
wander alone on the banks of the silvery
Ohio, and would sit for hours listening to
its gentle ripple—and gazing upon its
blue, placid bosom; while a soft summer
breeze, stealing past, would gently kiss
her rosy cheeks and wave her golden
hair. Again she would wander farther—
climb some rugged peak—plunge into the
shady forest, and listen with delight to
the song of birds and humming insects.
Again she would sit at night in the door
of the cottage—old Molly near with her
sewing, or knitting—and gaze at the stars,
and wonder what they were—whether
they were balls of fire, or worlds of human
beings like ourselves? And then,
when wearied with the day, she would
throw her arms around old Molly's neck,
give her a hearty kiss, and retire to her
pillow, to dream sweet, pleasing dreams.

Thus summer rolled on summer, for all
seemed summer with her, and Cicely
Vandemore numbered seventeen—an
airy, graceful, beautiful being. All, thus
far, had been of the child—pure and
simple; but now she began to feel new
sensations; she began to experience feelings
she had dreamed not of before; her
mind seemed to expand; she began to
feel the calm dignity of woman; she began
to conceive that youth, bright, joyous
youth, could not always last. She grew
sad, constrained; she felt not that desire
of wandering alone as formerly; she felt
there was a void—a something wanting
in the pleasures that had once been her
sole delight. Did Cicely love? Had
you questioned her, she would have simply
answered “no!” for Cicely had yet
to learn the powerful meaning of that
word. And yet, we may venture to say,
there was one with whom, in holding converse,
Cicely felt a strange, a sweet delight.
Reader, for the present you must
draw your own conclusions—our task
now calls us to another scene.


Whoever is versed in the history of
the Great Miami Valley, at the date we
again open our story, 1805, will, most
probably, recollect the league of bandits,
or horse thieves, who then infested this
region of country, forming a grand chain
from below Lawrenceburgh, Indiana, and
running in a north-easterly direction, terminating
somewhere near Urbana, Ohio.
Never, in the annals of Western history,
has there been found a more bold, secret,
and daring combination of men, for outlawry
purposes, than this same League
of the Miami. Composed of persons of
wealth and influence—moving, many of
them, in the best circles of society—
living in a state of lordly luxury—they
were, as a matter of course, the last ones
on whom suspicion would fall as being
connected in such nefarious designs.
Bound by a solemn compact, which was
death to the traitor who should dare to
hint or breathe a word, be it never so

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[figure description] Page 022.[end figure description]

light, that should in the least manner
draw down suspicion on the aggressors—
scattered through the whole region of
country we have named—living, most of
them, with their families—and, as before
said, moving in the best circles of society—
is it a matter of surprise that they
should earry on, undisturbed for years,
their secret depredations?

As the settlers in the great Miami
valley increased, so increased the plunder
of the League, until their actions, still
becoming more and more daring, were so
annoying to the more honest citizens, that
they, in self-defense, were obliged to
organize a band for their final extinction;
during which some rough scenes ensued,
and several of the League were shot,
wherever found; ay, shot down like
dogs! Having given this brief preliminary
as an index of the times, we shall
again proceed with our tale.

It was a calm, beautiful evening in
June; and the sun, as he gently sank
behind the western horizon, threw his
soft, golden rays; on to many a hill and
tree top, and lingered there as if loth to
bid the day farewell. On the brow of
one of these hills, one hand resting
against the trunk of a leatless tree—
whose sap had ceased to flow, whose
bark had crumbled to decay—his face
turned westward, watching the sun's
decline—was the tall, graceful figure of a
man, some thirty-seven years of age. On
his features could be traced those marks
of care and thought, interspersed with
lines of passion, that told his had not
been a life of indolence and ease. His
hair was black, and fell in profusion far
down around his neck and shoulders. His
face was somewhat shaded by a hat of
broad brim; but still, by scanning
closely, his features could be traced. His
skin was of a pale, sallow cast, forcibly
contrasting with dark, piercing eyes, and
a large, black mustache on his upper lip.
His cheek-bones rose again in contrast
with his cheeks, which, naturally hollow,
seemed a little sunken. The expression
about his mouth, and features generally
was one of unwavering firmness and
quick decision. But there was the soul
beaming through all, giving that forcible
stamp of intellect, that, good or bad, you
would pronounce him a man of no ordinary
capacity. His dress was a little
singular; and yet a casual observer
might, perhaps, have seen in it nothing
uncommon. It consisted of a check
shirt, fitting closely to his shoulders and
breast, as if to develope their fine formation;
for his breast was rcunded up full—
his shoulders were broad—back hollow—
all denoting great strength and agility.
Around his waist the shirt was enclosed
by pantaloons of dark, coarse cloth,
secured by a belt, in which were carelessly
stuck two pistols and a long hunting
knife. His feet were encased in high-top
boots, which were drawn on over the lower
part of his pantaloons. Around his neck
was a black silk neckerchief, loosely tied,
the ends hanging in a negligent, graceful
manner on the bosom of his shirt. Such
was his dress and personal appearance.

For some moments he stood gazing at
the west, with a thoughtful brow, while
occasionally a shade of melancholy would
deepen on his features, and then seem to
clear up with a brighter thought. In the
meantime the sun gradually became more
and more obscured, until a silver rim
only could be discerned, and then disappeared

“As sinks the sun behind yon western
hill,” said the stranger, in a musing tone,
“calm and peaceful, so sink the spirits of
the good and great into eternity. Happy,
happy lot is theirs. Oh! that my spirit
could thus pass away forever, and open
upon a purer, holier existence. Death to

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[figure description] Page 023.[end figure description]

the good is a happy change; when tired
with the follies and vexations of life, they
pass to the rest of the grave without a
repining thought. Not so with me; I
long for that sleep, yet dread the awful
change—dread to think of death and
what may follow after. I have a strange
presentiment of my end, and I shudder
while I contemplate. I have done some
good acts, and yet the evil placed in the
balance would weigh me down. Well,
well, one year more and I am free. Oh!
that the time were now! Little do those I
govern know what feelings try my heart!
Five years have I been to them a leader,
bold and daring as they could wish. In
one year more my time expires; and
then I will away—away with one—no,
mo! she will be too pure for me—no, I
must alone wander forth, and I will never
see her more, for fear I could not keep my
resolution, and tear me from her; but
she shall feel my bounty. Gods!” exclaimed
he, suddenly striking his clenched
fist against his head, “I have forgotten;
the time, the time has run over three
months! I will attend to it this night.
Ha! some one comes! Now am I Gerolstein.
Captain of the League, muser no

As he spoke, a figure might be seen
mearing him.

“How now, Jarvis?” said he, sternly,
as the other approached.

“The League await their Captain,”
replied the other, bowing with deference.

“ 'Tis well. Have they all assembled.

“Enough for the ceremony, Captain.”

“Lead on!”

The other, a short, thick-set man, with
a full, round face, large gray eyes, turned
at the word, and descended the hill in an
easterly direction, followed at a short
distance by the Captain. In this manner
they proceeded some considerable time,
until they reached the foot of the hill,
which, being sloping, extended a goodly
way, when the foremost struck a sort of
path, turned short round to the left, and
presently entered a deep, flat wood,
heavily shaded. By this time it had
grown very duskish without the wood,
while within it was already night.
Moving steadily on without speaking,
like men well acquainted with their
ground, Jarvis and Gerolstein at length
paused in a little, open space, some thirty
feet in diameter, which had, apparently,
been cleared of brush and trees for some
particular purpose; when the latter,
placing his fore and middle fingers into
his mouth, gave a low shrill whistle.

In an instant, as if by magic, the surrounding
wood seemed suddenly alive;
for dark figure after figure stalked quickly
forward into the open space; softly, and
mute, as the spirits of tradition, until the
Captain stood in the center of a solid

“Sezmond!” called out Gerolstein, in
a deep, heavy voice.

“Here, Captain,” was the answer.

“How many are here?”


“I bade thee notify seventy-nine,
Sezmond, and specified, by names, the

“One I did not find, sir! Three are
away in attendance upon the stranger,
who wishes to become a member of our

“Whom did you not find, Sezmond?”


“Ha!” exclaimed Gerolstein, “I fear
he is playing treacherous!”

“Then shall he die!—death to the
traitor!” shouted a chorus of voices,
while the bright blades of fifty knives
gleamed in the air.

“Gentlemen, you have said,” returned
Gerolstein—“this must be looked
to. If Arnold Melven be suspected of

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[figure description] Page 024.[end figure description]

treachery—and he is—he must clear all
points in his character, or by our laws
suffer death. Jarvis! I charge you to
arrest—secure him in the cave—and
await further orders.”

“It shall be done, Captain.”

“Our slightest laws,” continued Gerolstein,
must be enforced to the strongest
penalty, or our band will become disorganized.
We have been almost too lenient
of late, and already have our bold
deeds struck terror to the hearts of many
of the citizens of the valley—who, I
learn, are making preparations to resist—
to attack us. If we are true to ourselves,
we are safe: but if one proves treacherous,
our case will become desperate—we
shall be lost. Yet shall he not escape—
no! by the eternal gods! I swear to follow
him through fire, and water, till my
knife shall drink his heart's blood!”

A murmur of applause ran through the
crowd, with cries of, “Long live Gerolstein,
Captain of the League!”

“Have those last horses been disposed
of, sir treasurer?”

“They have, Captain,” answered a

“Well disposed of?”

“Middling, only.”

“How much funds have you undivided?”

“Eight thousand dollars.”

“ 'Tim well; there must be a division
this night!”

“This night! Captain?” said the
same voice, in a tone of surprise; “I
thought it was to have run till next quarter.”

“Silence! Roberts; I have said. Ha!
do you grumble?” added he, quickly, in
a voice of thunder—as the other muttered
something in a low tone. “Silence! or
by heavens I'll make an example of you!
Where is the stranger who wishes to join

“Waiting your pleasure, without the
grove,” answered Sezmond.


“Your will, Captain.”

“Inform him, speedily, we are ready.”

“Ay, ay, Captain”—and, with the
bound of the antelope, the last speaker
left the group.

“I have learned,” continued the Captain,
“from the messenger who has just
left us, that there are several fine horses
in the vicinity of Venice, and so up along
the Miami to Hamilton, which, from our
being of late employed in another quarter,
had nearly escaped our observation.
With the news of this, Pottenger also informs
me, that in, and about the vicinity
of Venice, we shall have to move with
great care and prudence, or we shall get
troubled; for many of them have not
forgotten the trick we played them last
year; one in particular—living on the
bottom, near the river, a new settler, late
from the East, by the name of Butterman—
swears he will have revenge for
the horses he was so unceremoniously
deprived of at the time in question. However,
I fear not such an idle threat; having
mentioned it, merely, to put you on
your guard, and that you may move with
greater caution. I think the first dark,
stormy night, we had better commence
operations, each one having first been
assigned his post. Is this your mind?”

“Ay, ay,” responded fifty voices.

“ 'Tis well. But hush, here comes the
group with the stranger.”

As he spoke, one part of the ring
opened, and five persons marched into
the center; and as it again closed, Gerolstein
called out:


In an instant four lights, from dark
lanterns—from four different parts of the
crowd—flashed full upon the stranger,
who was standing alone, blind-folded, in

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[figure description] Page 025.[end figure description]

the center; all having moved back, leaving,
for a short distance around him, an
open space. In stature he was only
middling—graceful in formation; his
features undiscernable by reason of the
bandage over his eyes. His dress was
very coarse and plain; and, to judge
from the soft hand on which was a heavy
gold ring, it was a dress of disguise. Such
thoughts, most probably, entered the
mind of Gerolstein; for he scrutinized
the hand and ring very closely, and then
put the following interrogation:

“Sir stranger! do you wish to join the

“I do,” answered the stranger, in a
calm, firm voice.

“Do you know who, and what we are?”

“I do. Gentlemen of honor, without
the law, daring and brave.”

“ 'Tim well. Your age?”


“Your name?”

The stranger hesitated a moment, and
then replied:

“I decline answering.”

“ 'Tim our law!” said Gerolstein,

“Then call me Burrand.”

“Your whole name, sir?”

“Aaron Burrand.”

Gerolstein, and several of the party,
started; they had divined the man. Being
bandaged, Burrand did not see this
sudden movement, and Gerolstein cooly

“Your former occupation, Burrand?”

“A tiller of the soil.”

“ 'Tim false! that ring and hand belie
you, sir!”

Burrand started—he had not expected
this—and then quickly made answer:

“A gentleman at large.”

“ 'Tis better, though an indefinite
term,” returned Gerolstein, dryly. “Your
object in joining us?”

“Because I like your mode of life.”

“False again, I say, Colonel Burrand!”

“Ha! you know me then!” exclaimed
the other, quickly, in a tone of surprise,
raising his hands to tear off the bandage.

“Hold!” exclaimed Gerolstein, springing
forward and arresting the action;
“remove that, and you are a dead man!
You divine rightly; we do know you.”

“Then I am lost,” sighed the other.

“Not so; you can be reconducted
whence you came, by first taking a solemn
oath never to molest us, or you can
join us still.”

The other paused a moment, and then

“I choose the latter.”

“ 'Tim well. Proceed, men, with the

In an instant the three men who had
conducted the stranger (or Burrand)
hither, sprang forward, and, ere he had
time to comprehend their design, he was
completely disorbed—in a state of nudity—
and his arms pinioned to his body.
We say in a state of nudity—we except
the bandage around his eyes, which still
remained. Raising the body carefully,
placing it on their shoulders, the trio
started forward into the wood, followed
next by the light-bearers, who held, as
before said, dark-lanterns, which, throwing
their light far ahead, enabled the
foremost to see their way clearly. Next
came Gerolstein, Captain of the band,
followed by the officers in single file, and,
lastly, the whole party, two by two. In
this manner they procceded some quarter
of a mile, in a westerly direction, when
they emerged from the wood into an open
field, the ground of which was undulating,
and stony. The stars threw down
their twinkling light on to their dark,
shadowy forms, as in silence, with slow,
solemn, steady pace, they still moved

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onward. At length the foremost entered
a cluster of bushes and disappeared in a
cave, near the bottom of the hill—followed
by the light-bearers, the Captain,
and all the civic officers—the others remaining
without. This cave, somewhat
large, was used by the League for various
purposes—among which, coining money
was not the least—and was known by the
name of Hamilton's Den. On one side
was a large flat stone, on which they now
deposited the body of Colonel Burrand,
requesting him to take a kneeling position,
which he did, with his back to the
wall. Placing the lanterns in a manner
to throw as much light as possible on his
face, and the upper part of his body,
they ranged themselves in due order
around him—the Captain standing directly
in front. At a signal from him, each
drew a knife and pistol from the belt
around his waist—for each on an occasion
like this, wore a belt—and holding the
knives, the points of which were painted
red, in their right hands, in an attitude to
strike, the points all turned toward the
kneeling man's breast—their heads turned
away from him—their left hands grasping
pistols, pointed in like manner—like
statuary, they awaited their Captain's
administration of the oath. Holding in
his left hand a scroll, which he had received
since entering the cave, in his
right a pistol, the muzzle about two feet
from Burrand's breast, Gerolstein thus

“Aaron Burrand! in the name of all
you hold dear, in the past, in the present,
in coming time; by all you hold sacred
on earth, in time—in heaven, in eternity—
or dread in hell!—by the help of
God! by Mary the mother of God! and
by all the holy angels! you freely, sacredly,
solemnly swear to become a true,
a loyal member of this League; swearing
to assist and uphold them, right, or wrong;
to pay due allegiance to the leader, or
captain, in all he shall command not contrary
to the constitution; doubly swearing
never to betray, or attempt to betray, by
word, or thought, or deed or sign, collectively
or separately, the band, or any
individual of the band; on the contrary,
to assist in screening them from the oppression
of the civil law, if in your power;
to aid them in every manner to the extent
of your abilities wherever placed—to the
full and final staking of your life on your
integrity in this—and forfeiture in failure—
you swear! by kissing this seroll,
now held to your mouth, and signing
your name within it in your own blood!

As he concluded, Burrand pressed his
lips to the scroll, in token of his assent
to the oath. At the same instant Jarvis
sprang forward—cut the cord which
bound his arms—cut the bandage around
his head; and, as it fell, Burrand started
in amazement, while the strong light
flashing in his eyes, for the moment completely
blinded him. Well might he
start in amazement, to see those stalwart
forms around him; their faces turned
away—their knives and pistols gleaming
in the light, all pointed at his heart.

“Emblem is this, you see,” said Gerolstein,
“that if you prove false to your
oath, each man will turn from mercy—
from pity—while his knife shall gleam
in the light, dripping with your heart's
blood. The constitution—sign!”

As he spoke, Gerolstoin gave his arm
a sudden fling, and the parchment, held
in his hand, unrolled—displaying to the
eyes of Burrand the constitution of the
League, written in red—each man's
name signed in his own blood. Jarvis
again stepped forward, and taking the
left hand of Burrand, suddenly pricked
it on the back, with a small instrument
made for the purpose; and as the blood

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started forth, caught sufficient in a pen,
which he then handed to the other, and
peremptorily repeated, “sign!” Burrand
took the pen, and bending forward to the
stone on which he still knelt, with a pale
cheek, and slightly trembling hand, wrote
his name upon the scroll. “'Tis done!”
said a heavy voice, while a gong struck
in another part of the cave, echoed
through its vaulted chamber with such
a terriffic sound, that Burrand fairly
sprang to his feet in terror. He had, in
the moment, fancied it the echoes of Hell

The Captain now took the right hand
of Burrand in his own—shook it heartily—
welcoming him as a brother of the
League; while each of the others, in
regular succession, did the same. This
through, the clothes of Burrand were
passed to him, and in a few minutes he
was habited as before. The secret counter-sign
was now explained to him, and
he was told he could remain and join in
the coming revelry of the night, or was
at liberty to go where he pleased; he
chose the latter, and disappeared. In the
course of our story we shall have occasion
to speak of this individual again,
when his personal appearance will be
more fully described. At a slight tap on
the gong the party without entered the
cave; and after some business transactions
(unnecessary to detail here, among
which was the division of the spoils, or
money,) had taken place, wine was
brought, and the whole company united
in a scene of boisterous merriment.
During this time Gerolstein placed a
purse in the hands of Jarvis, whispered
something in his ear, and then added,

“Remember Melven—secure him
here!” and, seating himself at a little
distance from the rest, he gazed, in a
sad, absent mood, upon the revelers,
who kept up a half drunken, hilarious excitement,
till the first streak of morning
bade them disperse to their several places
of abode.


The same evening on which we have
introduced the League, on the bank of
the beautiful Ohio, about a stone's throw
westward of Molly Magore's residence,
on an old log half buried in the ground,
were seated two lovers. We say lovers,
for in this opinion we should have been
borne out by any who had seen them;
for there is a look about true lovers not
easily mistaken.

The lady was a beautiful being of
seventeen—airy and graceful in formation.
Her skin was clear, smooth, of a
pearly cast, and of the very finest texture.
Her hair was silken, of a rich golden
hue, and flowed in long, handsome ringlets
adown the sides of her head, and
around a neck of that exquisite symmetry
we so much admire in sculptural display.
But the most charming of all were her
features; so divine of mould—so full of a
soul of purity, and truth—so full of intellectual
power. Her eyes, large, and blue,
or rather of a color between the gray and
blue, were very expressive; and, through
the silken fringes of long lashes, had a
soft, modest, languid expression. Above
these, on a finely-shaped forehead, were
brows penciled to correspond—rounded
gently over toward a nose of middling
size, bordering a little on the Grecian—
below which was a mouth, classic in
shape, surmounted by two very tempting
lips. Her cheeks were soft as the down
of a peach; very slightly tinted with an

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[figure description] Page 028.[end figure description]

intellectual flush — which comes and
departs as 'twere the tale-bearer of the
soul. Her dress was white, and suited
well her form and complexion. Her attitude,
at the moment introduced, was one
of graceful ease. Her bonnet held in
hands whose pretty tapering fingers were
unconsciously toying with the ribbon —
her face turned a little round—the fringes
of her eyes lifted, and the eyes themselves
gazing earnestly, yet modestly,
upon the other, who was pointing out the
thousand beauties around them — her
countenance richly animated with the
description—all taken together made her
look interestingly lovely.

Her companion was one of Nature's
noblemen; so stamped by her, there was
no mistaking him. To judge from his
appearance, as the sat there, he was some
twenty-four years of age, some six feet in
stature, and handsomely proportioned.
His features were open, bold, and manly,
expressive of a soul full of high thoughts
and generous deeds. It was one of those
countenances we ever love to gaze upon,
as giving us the strongest assurance we
are in the presence of a man. He was
one of those who are brave in the hour
of danger, yet never boast; one who
would do a noble, generous action, without
seeking the reward even of gratitude;
one who could love, love with his whole
soul, yet could not betray; one who
feared not an enemy; one who would
give his life for a friend. His hat removed,
exhibited a large, well shaped
head, clustering with curls of dark brown
hair; a forehead high and broad, seemingly
pressed with impulsive thought, if
we may so be allowed the expression.
His large, fascinating, hazel eye gleamed
and sparkled with the true poetry of an
impulsive soul. The whole shape of his
features inclined to the oval, and were
very striking — devoid of all sinister, or
deceitful expressions; yet connected with
a truthful look of firmness of purpose
when roused, that might be classed as a
species of headstrong hardihood. His
mouth was well shaped, and, when animated,
there lingered around it a very
pleasing smile. He was one of old Kentucky's
noble sons — (and, with all due
respect to other States, we will say Kentucky
has produced many), full of fire,
and fight — life, and love. He could be
as stern as a despot, in the presence of a
foe; mild as a lamb, in the presence of a
friend. His eyes could flash fire, or
gleam tenderly with love. Such was
Edward Langley.

Born of one of the first families in
Kentucky, he had early been sent to
school, and had received what is termed
a liberal education. With a mind naturally
strong—an ardent temperament—a
bold, manly air — a great flow of language—
he was one well calculated to
meet with success among the fairer sex.
He had admired a goodly number of
ladies, but had never loved any until, in
one of his occasional rambles, he had
chanced to meet with the gentle being
now by his side. He had seen her first
on the very spot, seated upon the very
log, where they now were; and had gazed
with admiration—delight—ay, even with
love upon her; had sought her acquaintance;
and had found in her all he had
hoped — all he had wished to find in
woman. For some months he had strictly
paid her his addresses; and, as may be
divined, not without success — for Cicely
Vandemore was one to love. Deeming
this explanation sufficient to throw a little
light upon matters as they stood, we shall
again proceed.

The sun was slowly sinking beyond the
western verge, and his soft, golden rays
dipped gently into the silvery bosom
of La Belle Riviere—still, and sweetly

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[figure description] Page 029.[end figure description]

flowing along a few feet below the lovers.
Everything around lay in a dreamy, enchanting
light. Far, far away to their
left, stretched the green wooded hills,
softly fading into blue. Around them
Nature had spread her velvet robe of
green, and flowers had sprung up and
scented the breeze which gently fanned
them. Before them, smoothly gliding
along, its little prow scarce making a ripple,
was a small skiff, in which was seated
a young man, whose oar, as he lazily
raised it, sparkled brilliantly in the lingering
sunlight. On the opposite side of
the river lay the pleasant little town of
Cincinnati, with here and there a lounger
to be seen, who had strolled down to the
river's edge, to partake of the calm beauty
of the evening, and gaze into the Ohio.
It was a night, and an hour for love.

For some moments Edward Langley
had held the attention of Cicely enchained
by his rich voice, and eloquent discourse;
when, suddenly noticing the little skiff
which seemed to near them, half intentionally,
without showing any design of landing,
he changed his discourse, and said:

“O, look at that beautiful, tiny boat,
Cicely; how pleasantly, how gracefully
it rides on the silvery water! See how
the oars, that propel it, flash in the dying
light of day! Is it not beautiful?”

“It is,” answered Cicely, her features
glowing with pleasure.

“May I not make an emblem,

“Why do you ask me, Mr. Langley?”

“There, there it is again; Mr. Langley!
Why will you not call me Edward?
Mr. sounds so formal. Come, sweet one,
call me Edward, will you?

“I will, Edward,” replied she, modestly
looking down.

“Ah! thank you—thank you! Always
call me Edward, I pray. But come, the
emblem, do you cousent?”

“I do, Edward.”

Edward gazed at her earnestly, and
tenderly, for a moment, and then replied:

“The stream before us, I shall call the
stream of time; you little boat gliding
peacefully along, is life; the voyagers—
for there should be two — ourselves;
while thus may the oar of Hope — which
softly propels us onward — flash in the
light of Heaven, as we near the shadows
of eternity, as does the oar of yon boatman
flash in the light of closing day,
which is soon to be lost in the shadows
of night.”

“O beautiful emblem!” exclaimed
Cicely, with animation; and then, suddenly
recollecting she formed one portion
of it, she paused, and hung her head
with a modest blush.

“Ah! why do you look down, my
pretty one? Have you changed your
mind thus suddenly?” inquired Edward
with a smile.

“I—I was not thinking of my forming
one portion of it,” replied Cicely, with
hesitation, while the color deepened on
her features.

“But would you object, sweet Cicely?”
asked the other, in a calm, tender tone.

Cicely was silent.

“O, why should I not tell you?” exclaimed
he, suddenly — impulsively —
“the scene, the hour is fitted for it! I
will — I will unburden my soul! Cicely
Vandemore, I love you! love you with a
heart that never loved — never can love

“Nay, Edward,” said Cicely, starting,
her features paling, “do not talk of this,
now I beg of you!”

“I must, Cicely — I must! my soul
is full: I must give vent to my thoughts,
my feelings; they are like the pent-up
waters of a mighty stream—which,
having found a little release, rush on
with an overwhelming force! O, Cicely

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[figure description] Page 030.[end figure description]

Vandemore, I repeat, I love you! I
loved you when first I saw you; and I
love with no idle, school-boy's passion.
Mine is the love — deep and seated — of
one who has read mankind as a book;
ay, read their very souls. If I loved
when first I saw you, how much has my
love been deepened since; you have
become the very essence of my being —
my second existence; so that life, without
you, would be robbed of all its
charms: for a mind, like mine, that has
reveled in the gorgeous halls of the
future — created by Fancy and Hope —
cannot survive their illusions being destroyed,
save in the gloomy dungeons of
dark despair. I have never before spoken
to you of love, and the future; but now
I ask, sincerely ask, will you be mine?
I am rich; I have wealthy connections;
you shall have every thing you desire.
Slaves shall be at your command — your
life shall be watched as the tenderest
flower, and not a chilling blast shall blow
upon you. I will guard you as a trust,
to me consigned, from heaven. O, say,
Cicely Vandemore, speak with a whole
soul, and say you will be mine! I listen
to the first tones of your sweet, sweet
voice, with the trembling anxiety of a
criminal to his jury.” He ceased; and
his features glowing, his eyes sparkling,
turned full upon her.

Cicely, for some moments, did not,
could not answer. Pale and trembling
had she listened to his rapturous, passionate
bursting forth of a noble, impulsive
soul in a torrent of love. She would have
checked him, but she could not — his
words held her spell-bound. They went
to her soul, and stirred up within her new
thoughts. A thrill — a wild, passionate
thrill — shot through her. Her features
paled, and flushed; her heart wildly palpitated.
She was struggling between duty
and love. It was a terrible struggle — a
delicious agony. But Cicely had a strong,
well formed mind: she believed that duty
strove rightly against love, and though it
should rend her heart—make her miserable
for life—she must yield to the former.
She had never before thought of this so
seriously. She had loved Edward Langley,
without knowing she loved him.
Pleased—charmed with his society—she
had thought not where it would end. But
now a crisis had come, and her eyes were
opened; she felt she was a poor orphan
girl, and her sensitive mind told her it
was not mete for her to mate with one so
much her superior in riches, and connexions.
Had he been poor, she would have
rushed to his arms—clung to him forever;
he was rich—she must reject him. Such
were the thoughts, and feelings, that
rushed with lightning rapidity through
the mind of Cicely, in those few moments,
as we have before called them, of delicious
agony. But her resolution was at
length taken; her mind gradually settled
to a quiet calm; and, rising from her
seat, in a firm tone, she replied:

“Edward Langley, this must not, cannot

“How!” exclaimed he, suddenly,
turning pale as death—his features quivering
with the force of something that
seemed to crush his hopes—“you reject
me, Cicely?”

“Listen, Edward.”

“No, no! I cannot—cannot, Cicely; I
cannot listen to a refusal from you,” and
his features writhed in agony. “You do
not know me, Cicely; better strike a dagger
at once to my heart! Oh! great
Heaven! must I bear it?” and he buried
his face in his hands.

Cicely—as white as a sheet—trembling
like an aspen — summoned all her moral
courage, and again proceeded:

“Nay, nay, dear Edward, hear me!”

“Ha! you called me dear, did you

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[figure description] Page 031.[end figure description]

not — dear Edward?” cried he, looking
up, wildly. “Say that again, Cicely; it
came to my soul like the light of a pharos
to the mariner in a storm. O, say it

“And why should I not? for, frankly,
I will say, I love you!”

“Heavens! what do I hear? love me!
have I then foolishly been repining for
nought? O, Cicely, do I understand you

“Will you listen to me calmly?”

“I will, I will; go on!”

“Frankly, then, I say I love you, but
can never be yours!”

“Never be mine?” repeated he, in
trembling tones — “never be mine! I
cannot comprehend—I cannot understand
you! one moment you raise me to the
pinnacle of hope — the next, engulph me
in despair!”

“If you will listen to me,” said Cicely,
much affected, “I will explain. You love
me, I believe — I know; but Edward
Langley, you are wealthy; you move in
the best circles of society; you have rich,
influential connexions: I, on the contrary,
am poor; I have no friends, save good
old Molly, whom God preserve, for she
has been to me a mother,” and the tears
started to her eyes.

“But why do you mention this, dearest
Cicely? the very obstacles you think
you have raised, but serve to endear you
to me. Be mine, Cicely — be mine, and
you shall never want for friends. Had
you been rich, perchance I should not
have loved you; at least, I should never
have plead for you as I now plead. I
apprehended your almost too sensitive
mind would lead you into these reflections;
but cast them aside, I pray.
What are wealth and connexions to
me, if through them I be made unhappy?
better far had I been born a
beggar. Come, dearest Cicely, make
me happy, by one word, will you — will
you not?”

“It cannot—no! it cannot be,” gasped
Cicely, and she sank upon her seat.

“Oh God!” cried Edward; and he
clasped his head in his hands, and swayed
to and fro like one in severe pain.

“Oh! do not—do not let my words so
grieve you, Edward,” said Cicely, tenderly,
gazing upon him in an agony no
less than his own; “be calm, dear Edward—
be calm, or you will unnerve me.
You will find some other more worthy
of you, per—perchance, Ed—”

She could say no more—her voice faltered
into silence, while the tears rolled
down her cheeks.

Edward, for some moments, made no
reply; and both sat buried in agonizing

In the meantime, the sun had disappeared,
and the shadows of evening were
softly creeping over the surrounding landscape.
The boat they had been watching
a few moments before, had shot in to the
shore, and lay concealed a few rods below
them, in a cluster of bushes; while the
individual occupying it, had crawled
stealthily up the bank, and, in a place of
concealment, was anxiously watching
them — for what purpose will be shown

Edward, at length, raised his head.
His features were white, but rigid as
marble — save the slight quiver of his
bloodless lips — both of which were compressed
with a stern, fixed determination.
He spoke, but his voice was changed —
more hollow.

“Cicely, you have decided my fate.
We part—part, perchance, forever; and
all my hopes, my dreams, are crushed
and faded. Night shadows are stealing
over the earth, let us return.”

Cicely looked at him in wonder; she
could scarce comprehend the fearful

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[figure description] Page 032.[end figure description]

change; but, without daring to trust her
voice in reply, she arose—gave him her
arm—and both walked, in gloomy silence,
to the residence of Molly Magore; where,
as they parted, in a sad, constrained
manner, the farewells of both trembled
on the air, in mournful tones.

The figure, who had watched them on
the bank of the river, watched them to
the house, then hurriedly returned to his
place of concealment; and, directly after,
a boat might have been seen shooting
swiftly across the river to Cincinnati.


On the evening succeeding the events
last detailed, in a room of a public house,
standing on the corner of Front and
Sycamore streets, were seated two individuals.
The room was the same which
had been occupied by Vandemore and
Cicely, some seven years before, and was
furnished much as then, with the exception
that the old carpet had given place
to a new and more costly one, and but
one bed remained. The room opened
with a view upon the river, and the windows
being thrown up, the soft breeze of
a beautiful summer's evening stole gently
in, and rustled the white hanging curtains.
Without, the scene was enchanting. At
a little distance, down a declivity, rolled
gently past the Ohio; the rays of the sun
flashing on its broad bosom, as on burnished
steel. On the opposite side could
be seen the village of Covington—its
few pretty cottages softly peeping forth
from a delightful grove of trees. Far in
the distance could be seen the green
wooded hills of Kentucky, reposing in the
soft, dreamy quiet of summer. No steam
boats were then plowing their way, as
now, through the waters; and, consequently,
there was not that bustle and
life on the levee, which marks the great
advancement of the present day; but all
was quiet—all was lovely.

Seated in a careless manner, before the
window, was one of the individuals mentioned,
apparently gazing at some object
on the opposite side of the river, which
the other, who stood by him, was pointing

The former was a man of middling, or,
if anything, a little below the middling
stature—well proportioned. There was
something very singular and very fascinating
in his countenance. His features
were regular and handsome, but strongly
marked with a powerful intellect. His
head was surmounted by a large wig,
clustering with curls, and powdered white.
Below this was a high, broad forehead—
full, and even prominent, particularly toward
the eyes, where were exhibited perceptive
faculties too large to belong to an
ordinary man. The features below the
nose were regular, and singularly expressive
of decision and command. But the
most singular of all were his eyes, of
which the pen must fail to convey an
adequate idea. To use the words of a
modern writer, in speaking of this individual,
“his eyes resembled the sharp
light of lightning imprisoned, and forever
playing in a cloud as black as night.”
To sum up, there was something terribly
fascinating in his gaze, which none, who
had come directly beneath his notice, had
ever been able to resist. To this might
be added a voice, soft and luring as the
tones of a Siren. He was one who knew
and understood every chord of the human

His dress was of the old English
fashion—not uncommon, at that day,
with people of note. His coat came down

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[figure description] Page 033.[end figure description]

nearly straight in front to the waist, and
then suddenly turned off at an angle,
forming wide skirts, in which were large
pockets, covered by lapels. His waistcoat
came low, and joined with breeches,
which were united at the knees with long
hose by means of large silver buckles—
the latter serving as well for ornament as
use. His feet were encased in curious
made shoes—mounted, likewise, by silver
buckles. Around his neck was a white
cravat, tied with a studied grace, which
seemed to add more dignity to his general
bearing. He was sitting in an attitude
negligent, and graceful—partly side ways
on his chair—his feet crossed—his left
elbow resting on its back—his head, in
turn, partly resting on his forefinger and
thumb—and gazing, as before said, at
some object on the opposite side of the
river, which the other was pointing out.

The latter individual was small in stature,
rather plainly dressed, and very
ugly in appearance. There was, in every
expression of his features, a look of deceitful
cunning. His forehead was low,
covered by black matted hair; and his
eyes, small and black, peeped out from
under heavy brows, with the half-startled,
cunning, ferocious look of a cowardly villain.
His features were sharp and long—
particularly his nose—and were of a
deathly, sallow hue. He never laughed,
because he could not; but he often grinned,
displaying a decaying set of teeth,
which added to his otherwise hideous
aspect. He was a villain, for nature had
stamped him so that there was no denying
it; but then, he was a petite villain.
He would not plot against a government,
because he did not know enough; but
if there was any mean, or underhanded
work to be done, he was your tool. He
was one of those peculiar beings who
would fawn around you like a whipped
dog, with his sickly whining voice, if he
feared, or wished a favor of you; if, on
the contrary, he had you in his power,
he was a perfect tyrant, and would delight
in tormenting you, even to the death. At
the moment introduced, as before said,
he was pointing out something in the distance.

“There, there, right off there to the
right, where the smoke's coming up; jest
kinder behind you hill, your honerable
excellency can just see the top on 't.”

“That is where she lives, then, is it?”

“Yes, your honerable excellency,”
returned the other, with a low bow.

“Are you sure she is perfectly virtuous,
Mr. Melven?”

“I'd swear my life on 't, Colonel—I,
mean your honerable excellency—for
I've seen her close to.”

“How did you find her out?”

“Why, ye see, arter your honerable
excellency said you'd give me a hundred
dollars, besides making me a great
man, if I'd entrap a virtuous woman for

“Hush! man, not so loud.”

“I beg your pardon, your honerable
excellency,” continued Melven, lowering
his voice, “you see, the subject excites
me. Well, arter that, you see, I set myself
a thinking, and I thought of all the
young ladies as I's acquainted with; and,'
pon my honor, your excellency, therewasn't
one on 'em as would do.”

“I anticipated as much,” said the
other, with a smile.

“Fact! by the holy hokey!” returned
Melven, grinning, for he fancied he had
said something very witty.

“Well, well, how then?”

“Why, I set to thinking agin, and I
thought of this ere gal I'm telling ye
about; says I, `she's the one—she'll
do—she'll suit his honerable excellency;'
I did, by Jupiter!”

“How knew you anything of her?”

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[figure description] Page 034.[end figure description]

“Why, ye see—but that's a secret.”

“Ah! a secret!” thought Burrand.
“A secret! I must know it.”

“Well, friend Melven,” said he, in a
soft voice, with a bland smile—turning
his head a little round, and resting his
dark, fascinating eyes upon the former—
“I suppose you are not afraid to confide
to me your secret? Friends should be
open to each other; is it not so, Mr.

“I—I suppose it is, your excellency—
but then—”

“But then”—repeated the other,
interrupting him—“do you doubt my
honor, friend Melven?—I, who am secretly
doing so much for you?—I, who,
some day, intend to make you my private
secretary, with an enormous salary; can
you doubt me? this is not right, Melven—
it is not, indeed;” and he carried his
handkerchief to his eyes.

Melven was deceived. Elated at this
show of friendship—his mind not being
strong enough to comprehend deeper villainy
than his own—he was drawn, at
once, into the net.

“O, well then, seeing as how we're
such warm friends, your excellency, I
don't mind telling ye.”

“Make a clean soul, my dear Melven.”

“I will, your excellency. Well, ye
see, I belong to the League, and—”

“The League!” exclaimed the other,
with a slight start—“what League?”

“The League of the Miami, your excellency.”

“So, so,” mused Burrand, “this grows
interesting. Well,” said he, turning to
the other, “proceed; but first, tell me
if there are any of my name among

“Never heard of any, your honor.”

“'Tis well,” thought the other, “he
as not aware that I am a member; he
could not have been present last evening.”

“Go on, Mr. Melven,” he resumed,
aloud; “tell me how you came to join

“Why, ye see, your honor, it might
be a long story, but I'll jest make it
a short one. Ye see, jest arter I come
out o' jail—”

“You were in jail, then!” interrupted
the other.

“Ye-yes, yo-your honor,” stammered
Melven, confusedly—“some false witnesses—”

“O, ah! I understand: you were innocent,
of course.”

“Yes, your most honorable excellency”—
said the other, greatly relieved—“in
course I was. Well, jest arter I got out
of jail, I took a tramp into the country;
and somehow, I don't 'xactly know how,
I run right agin a whole squad of fellers;
and they said I'd found out their secret;
and some was for killing me, right straight
off; but I begged for my life like fun;
and then one of 'em—a tall stern man—
said if I'd jine 'em, and take the oath, I
might live; so, you see, I jined; for I'd
ha' jined the devil for the sake of my life.”

“I believe you,” said the other.

“Fact—by the holy hokey!” and again
Melven grinned.

“Well, well, what then?”

“O, then I had fat living among 'em;
you see we used to buy hosses”—

Buy them, did you?”

“Yes, your honor, we buy'd 'em; only
it didn't take but one on us to make a

“Exactly—I understand. But concerning
this girl; how came you to know
of her?”

“O, 'zactly—the gal—I'd forgot. Why,
ye see, one day the tall stern man, the
Captain, comes to me, and says he, `Arnold,
can you keep a secret?' `Well, I

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[figure description] Page 035.[end figure description]

reckon,' says I. `Well,' says he, `I've
saved your life, for you'd ha' been killed
as sure as guns,' says he, `if it hadn't
been for me.' `I know it,' says I. `Well,
now,' says he, `I want you to do me a
favor. Here are a hundred dollars I
want you to carry and give to an old
woman as lives in Covington, Kentucky,
whose name is Molly Magore, and then
come right away, and don't answer no
questions. Mind if you see a young gal,
as is there:' he did, by Jupiter!”

“Ha! here is mystery,” thought the
other. “Well, you went and delivered
the money, of course?”

“I went, as your honor says, but I
didn't deliver no money.”

“How so?”

“Why, I managed so I could see the
old lady, and thinks I to myself, `she's
getting along well enough, so I'll jest
keep this ere money, in case I should
want it:' I did, by the holy hokey!”

“Well, did the captain learn of it?”

“Not he! I's not green enough for
that; no indeed, by thunder!” and again
he grinned.

The other turned his head away, moment—
while his lip curled in evident disgust—
and then said:

“Were you sent again?”

“I reckon—a number of times; so,
your honor sees, I had a good chance o'
seein the gal; and arter your honor made
me that fine offer, I thought she was the
gal for you.”

“How will you succeed in securing

“Why, last night, I's thinking 'bout it,
and I come down to the river, and I
looked across, and I thought I seen her,
with her lover, sitting on a log; and so,
your honor, I got a boat, and paddled
over there; and I heara her say she was
`too poor to marry him,' and all that;
and I watched 'em to old Molly's, and
saw 'em part; and, `by the holy hokey,'
says I, `he'll never trouble her agin;
and she'll git sad; and she'll come and
sit on the old log agin, at night; and then
I'll fix it, and nab her, your honor, and
take her wherever your excellency says:'
I will, by Jupiter!”

“But if you should be followed?”

“O, your honor, I'll put 'em on the
wrong track; I'll tell 'em `the robbers
have got her;' and then I'll turn and
blow the whole party, and get a great
reward for it; and then they'll be caught
and hanged; and then I'll come and
serve your honor.”

“Well, go on,” said the other, with a
singular smile; a smile, which, had Melven
comprehended, he would have trembled
ere he did; “go on—execute your
scheme; it is well laid—it must succeed.
When will it take place, think you?”

“I think I can manage it to-night, your

“So soon?” said the other, rising—
“well, be it so. Now mark me: have a
boat in readiness, and so soon as you have
conveyed her to it, row directly down the
stream, where I will meet you, with another
boat, a mile below. Do you un

“Yes, your honor.”

Fail me, and your life shall answer!”
and that dark eye turned its fiery gaze upon
him—burning, as 'twere, his very soul.

Melven started—turned pale—trembled
like an aspen; such a look he had
never seen before.

“Wha-what means your honerable
excellency?” cried he, sinking upon his
knees, in abject terror.

“The League—your oath—broken!”
said the other, in a terrible voice; terrible
from its calmness, and deep gutteral
sound; while those burning eyes were
again fixed upon the other, as he gave the
counter-sign—“I am a member!”

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“Oh! save me! save me! dear, good,
kind sir!” cried the abject wretch, in
pitying tones, laying his head at the
other's feet.

The other looked at him for a moment
in perfect contempt—the contempt a
brave man feels for a coward—and then
said, peremptorily:

“Up, fool! and get thee gone! but
remember—the girl—this night—remem
ber!” and, as the other disappeared, he
muttered to himself, “He will comply,
for he dare not disobey. When he has
done my bidding, then the fates may have
him. O, man!” continued he—“weak,
foolish man! with the more mighty minds
thou art as toys—as playthings—which
we use, and throw aside at pleasure. The
day will come—I see it in the future—
when I shall be a king, and ye shall be
my slaves. Then will I ride upon your
necks, and ye shall servile be unto your
mighty master. Woman, thou weak and
simple thing, whom half the world adores
and prizes for thy virtues, which exist but
in a name!—thou, too, art made, as lesser
men, the playthings for great spirits. Thy
virtues all are but as frothy mushrooms,
which spring up in the night, for goodly
outward show, but cannot bear the scorching
light of day.”

And musing thus, we leave one, for a
time, whose bold and startling deeds did
make a nation tremble—whose name
stands black upon the lasting page of


In the afternoon of the same day,
Cicely Vandemore was seated on an old
stool in the doorway of Molly Magore's
cottage, pale and dejected. Old Molly
herself was seated at a little distance,
gazing upon her with a look of sorrowful
anxiety. Years had made but little alteration
in the appearance of Molly, save
that some of her flaxen hairs had changed
to a more silver white, and here and there
a furrow was a little more deepened. For
some moments she sat, watching Cicely
with the tender expression of a mother.

Cicely, different from usual, was sitting
with her head bent a little forward, apparently
gazing on the ground with a
thoughtful look, while her left foot was,
unconsciously, tapping the floor.

“Why are you so sad, dear Cicely?”
inquired Molly, affectionately.

Cicely started, and a crimson flush
sprang quickly over her features.

“Sad, mother?”

Cicely had learned to call old Molly

“Yes, my child; your head has drooped
all the day, and you often sigh—sigh as
though it came from the heart.”

“Do I?” returned Cicely, simply, in
a musing manner.

“There is something that weighs heavily
on your spirits, my child; will you
not tell me what it is?”

“I do not feel well, mother,” and she
pressed her hands to her temples.

“Ah! my child,” said old Molly, shaking
her head, “your disease, I fear, is not
of the head, but of the heart. You love!”


“Nay, my child, I have watched you
long, and well; you love Edward Langley.”

Cicely held down her head, in silence.

“I trust he has not abused your confidence?”
said Molly, inquiringly, with a
painful look of apprehension.

“O, no, no, no! mother, dear mother,”
said Cicely, quickly, energetically—her
features glowing with a noble enthusiasm;

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[figure description] Page 037.[end figure description]

“do not, do not, for a moment, let such
a doubt rest upon him! He is all that
is noble, generous, and manly.”

“Thank God! Cicely, you relieve me
of a painful thought. But why are you
so sad then? Come, dear Cicely, you
should confide in me, will you not, my
child?” and old Molly's voice assumed
the tone of entreating tenderness.

Cicely could not bear this unmoved;
and rising, she approached old Molly—
threw her arms around her neck—buried
her head upon her breast, and burst into

“Mother, you say truly,” sobbed she,
“I do love, and have rejected him I love.”

“Rejected him, Cicely, and wherefore?”

“Because he is wealthy, and I am

Molly mused a moment—passed her
hand across her eyes—and then said,
with a sigh:

“You have done right, my child, very
right; though it is hard, very hard. I
can now perceive your feelings. May
God, in his mercy, aid you to bear it nobly.
But come, had you not better go forth and
take the freshening breeze? The soft
shades of evening are beginning to be felt.
Go, my child, perchance they will inspire
you with a holy calm. It is the hour to
think of love.”

“I will,” said Cicely, with a deep
drawn sigh; and, placing on her head a
light summer bonnet, she disappeared.

Molly watched, and saw her wend her
way to the old log, before spoken of,
where she seated herself in a state of
gloomy abstraction; and then, with a sigh,
Molly seated herself on the chair Cicely
had just vacated.

Cicely had been watched by another—
we premise more than one; but the individual
in question was a man of low stature,
apparently of great strength, with
a face broad, round, and full, and large
gray eyes. He was one of those peculiar
beings we never know where to place;
and of whom, to convey an idea, we shall
designate a man of circumstances. By
this we mean a man who will yield to the
circumstances which surround him, without
seeking or caring to know whether
they are right or wrong; thus honest, or
dishonest, as is best adapted to the time

Gazing at the young girl for a moment
with a look of admiring curiosity, this
personage immediately proceeded to the
cottage of old Molly, and thus accosted
her, in a gruff voice:

“Is your name Molly Magore?”

Molly started from her musing attitude,
with an angry flush on her furrowed
cheek, and gave the other a scrutinizing
look of contempt, without deigning an
answer. The reader will bear in mind
we have before described Molly as being
an eccentric character, and, in the
presence of strangers, inclined to be

“Look here, old woman,” said the
other, still more gruffly, “you needn't put
on any of your false airs, nor turn up
your nose any more than nature has done
for you; because, my old darling, you
ain't a beauty no how; and I'm just as
good a man as any other.”

“What do you wish?” inquired

“First, answer my question, is your
name Molly Magore?”

“It is.”

“Well, here's something which I'm
commanded to deliver to you;” saying
which he tossed to her a well filled

Molly caught it, and her features
brightened as she said:

“Who are you? and who is this

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[figure description] Page 038.[end figure description]

“I'm not here to answer questions,”
replied the other; and he turned to

“Stay — stay a moment,” said Molly,
as she emptied the purse of some twenty
sovereigns. “Ha!” exclaimed she,
suddenly, as a paper caught her eye,
bearing the single word “Vandemore.”

“Where is he—where is he? O, pray,
good sir, tell me!”

“Whom mean you, woman?”

“Vandemore; whom else should I

“I know no such person, madam.”

“How, sir! you do not know him!
Who gave you this purse?”

“I shall not tell; old lady. It was not

“Heavens! here is mystery.”

“Then you must solve it,” and the
other walked away.

“Not Vandemore who gave it to him!
not Vandemore!” said Molly, musingly,
as the other disappeared; “strange—
strange—it bears his name,” and she relapsed
into thoughtful silence.

Meanwhile, the other rounded the corner
of the old cottage, and disappeared in
a cluster of bushes, which were growing
in the rear; and, pausing there for a few
minutes, he contemplated the charming
beauty of the lovely Cicely, who could
be seen some hundred paces distant—
seated upon the old log—gazing upon the
waters of the Ohio, apparently unconscious
of everything around her. As old
Molly had before remarked, the shadows
of evening were gathering fast; for the
sun had now sunk behind a thick, dark
cloud, and objects at a short distance
were becoming gloomy, and indistinct;
while, at a greater distance, they were
scarcely perceivable. Occasionally a
flash, with a low, distant rumble of thunder,
announced the approach of a shower;
while a cool, invigorating breeze blew
steadily from the west, stirring light
waves on the bosom of the river, which
rippled against the shore with a pleasing
sound. Still Cicely sat, unconsciously
gazing on the water — unconsciously listening
to the rumbling of the thunder,
and the music of the waves — her whole
thoughts absorbed with one—one whose
name had become to her a sacred relic,
enshrined in the casket of memory.

“Yes,” sighed she at length, “he is
gone—gone; he will never see me more.
Well, well, it is for the best;” and again
she sighed.

At this moment two large, dark figures,
stole cautiously forth from the covert of
bushes below, (which the reader will recollect
as being the place where was
screened the figure of Melven the evening
previous,) while a third person — a
man of small stature — might be seen,
peeping cautiously out. The individual
whom we noticed as having the interview
with Moily, and who still remained in the
position we left him—gazing at Cicely—
seemed to notice the two who first made
their appearance, with evident curiosity;
but when he saw the head of the third,
which he was barely enabled to do, he
ground his teeth together, muttering—
“Hell, to thee, thou perjured wretch!”
while his hand instinctively, as it were,
sought a pistol, which was confined in
the coverings of his breast.

The two dark figures now glided
stealthily forward, until within some two
or three paces of Cicely — who still sat,
in a thoughtful attitude, unaware of their
approach—when, suddenly springing forward,
they threw a heavy mantle over
her; and, ere she could comprehend
what was taking place, or had time for
more than a single scream, they caught
her up in their iron arms — leaped the
bank — and rushed with rapidity to their
boat, which was concealed just below,

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[figure description] Page 039.[end figure description]

behind a cluster of bushes. All this was
the work of an instant.

“Quick, men, quick — by the holy
hokey!” said the third one, leaping
from the bushes, and joining the kidnappers.
Into the boat with her, by—”

A heavy blow on the head cut his
speech short, and felled him to the earth;
while the others, who had already leaped
into the boat, pushed from the shore
with the rapidity of thought; and, concentrating
all their force on their oars,
rowed swiftly down the stream.

“Too late to save her,” said the deep
voice of the fourth — the one who had
been watching the proceedings—“but, by
the holy virgin! I have got the one I want.”

“Where am I?” said the one on the
ground, recovering his senses, and attempting
to rise.

“Where the powers of hell cannot
save you! in the hands of Jarvis of the

“Oh! mercy! mercy! dear, kind,
good Jarvis!” said the abject wretch,
clasping him around the legs, and whining
like a dog.

“Up, groveling fool! and follow me!”
said Jarvis, spurning him with his foot.
“Up, I say; or, by the gods! I'll send a
bullet through your head!” and he drew
from his breast a pistol.

The other sprang to his feet, still piteously
whining—“Have mercy, oh! sir,
have mercy!”

“Cease! prating fool!” ejaculated
Jarvis. “I tell you, Arnold Melven, hell
itself could not save you.”

At this instant, to the astonishment of
both, a manly form sprang over the bank,
and stood beside them, exclaiming:

“Where is she? what have you done
with her? Speak! speak! for God sake,

“Oh! save me, sir!” cried Melven,
suddenly springing forward; “the rob
bers have got her — the League of the
Miami — and they want to take me too,

He had not time for more; for, quick
as thought, Jarvis rushed forward—
knocked him down — caught him up in
his arms as though he were a child, and,
ere the other was fully aware of his intentions,
he was fast speeding on to a
boat, which was drawn partly on to the
sand, a little distance up the stream.
Langley, for such was the last comer,
darted quickly forward in pursuit; but he
was too late. Jarvis, who was a man of
great strength and fleetness of foot, had
reached the boat and shoved into the
stream, ere the other had arrived at the
spot. A moment more, and he was lost
to view; for the darkness had gathered
thick and sudden, and it was already
night on the bosom of the Ohio, which
was rolling past in sullen grandeur. An
occasional flash of lightning discovered,
to the almost frantic Langley, the form
of Jarvis, standing erect in the boat, and,
with long sweeps of his oar, fast gaining
the opposite shore.

“The League! the League!” cried
Langley, nearly frantic—“Cicely taken
by the League, for some foul end! Oh,
God! it is too much;” and he smote
his head with his clenched fist. “The
League!” continued he, a little more
calmly—“I have heard of these outlaws
before; they infest the valley of the
Miami. Ha! a thought strikes me — a
party is already organized for their extinction!
I will join them; I will have
vengeance on those who dare such deeds.
Hear it, Heaven!” said he, suddenly
kneeling—“witness earth! and record
it, fiery elements! I swear to take not
peaceful rest until I have rescued her I
love, and drank revenge in the heart's
blood of those daring fiends who have
torn her from me!”

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[figure description] Page 040.[end figure description]

Springing to his feet, he rushed frantically
up the bank, and soon was holding
converse with Molly. A few words sufficed
to explain all. Desirous of gazing
upon her he loved—and rightly divining
she would seek their old retreat—he had,
unknown to Cicely, so stationed himself
that he could see, and not be seen—
until, hearing her scream, he had sprung
forward to divine the cause, (for being
at some distance, it was already so dark
he had not seen the approach of the two
figures)—when, unluckily, his foot became
entangled, and he had fallen to the
earth with a stunning effect. When he
recovered, and had reached the spot, as
has been shown, it was already too late.

Molly, at the recital of this, became
wild, almost insane; pacing the room,
and wringing her hands in an agony
past description. It was a terrible night
to her.

Langley immediately started for his
residence—distant some five miles—to
prepare to fulfill his oath.

In the meantime, the two who had
borne away Cicely, rowed in silence down
the stream; while the lightning flashed,
the thunder roared, and the rain poured
down in torrents. About a mile below,
they were met by another boat, carrying
a dark-lantern, and containing a single
individual; when, by his direction, they
immediately rounded to the shore,
mounted horses which were in waiting,
and rode swiftly away, bearing Cicely
with them.


About ten o'clock on the same evening
that Cicely was made a prisoner, there
was an assemblage of a portion of the
League at the cave—or, as it was more
generally termed, Hamilton's Den. The
preceding night, after the initiation of
Burrand, as we have shown, had been
one of revelry; but the present one was
to be devoted to business only. In the
farther part of this cave, a chimney had
been constructed, by boring a hole
through a solid rock, that extended up
to the open air above. To this chimney
was fixed a furnace for melting the composition
of which the bogus or spurious
coin was manufactured; for, as we have
said, this band of horse-thieves was also
a band of counterfeiters. This farther
portion of the cave was separated from
the other by a wall of masonry, through
which was entrance by a stone door,
hung on heavy iron hinges—so that
those at work within could be completely
shut off from those in the first or larger
compartment. On the evening in question,
some five or six individuals were
collected in the front cave—as we shall
term it, by way of distinction—and, as
they were to await the arrival of others,
before proceeding with the business they
had on hand, they had concluded to
amuse themselves with cards till a sufficient
number should arrive. Accordingly
they divided themselves into two parties,
and seating themselves on the large, flat
stone, already mentioned, forthwith commenced
the exciting game of poker. The
division of their ill-gotten gains the evening
previous, had placed in the hands of
each a snug little sum, which, with many
of them, was soon to be squandered in
gambling and dissipation. At first, as is
usual in such cases, the bets were small;
but as they proceeded, each began to
venture a little more, and the games grew
more and more exciting. They had
gambled in this manner something like
an hour, when one of the party, a tall,

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[figure description] Page 041.[end figure description]

sharp-featured, sinister individual, some
thirty years of age, arose, and in an indignant
tone exclaimed:

“I'll play no more.”

“Why, Roberts, what's the matter
now?” asked one of the two with whom
he had been betting.

“Matter enough!” answered the
other, surlily; “I have no desire to be

A hearty laugh from the others was
the only response to this bitter insinuation
against their honesty. But this only
tended to aggravate the dissatisfied player,
whose countenance flushed with anger, as
he continued, in a savage tone:

“Ay, laugh, and be—to ye!—but
when I play again, I am inclined to think
it will be with gentlemen.”

“You're inclined to think so, are
you?” rejoined one of the party, carelessly.
“Well,” he continued, in a cool,
cutting, sarcastic tone, “I'm inclined to
think that when you play again, there'll
he one in the party, at least, whose pretensions
to the honor of a gentleman will
fall considerably short of what such a
person should be;” and he closed with
a laugh, which was echoed by his companion.

“What do you mean, sir, by this insinuation?”
cried the one called Roberts,
clutching, with a nervous grasp, the haft
of a knife that was sticking in his belt.

“What do I mean?” said the other,
rising, and boldly confronting Roberts:
“what do I mean? Why, I mean exactly
what I said.”

“Do you dare to insinuate, sir, that I
am not a gentleman?”

You? I said nothing about you; but
if the coat fits, you may wear it. At all
events, I suppose I have as good a right
to insinuate that you are not a gentleman,
as you have to insinuate that my friend
here and I are swindlers.”

“And if I did so insinuate, I was not
far from the truth, I'm thinking.”

“Come, come,” said the third one,
rising also, “don't let us have any quarrelling
to-night; for the captain will soon
be here, and you know he has strictly
forbidden us to fight among ourselves.”

“I shall fight whom I please, nevertheless,”
rejoined Roberts, sullenly.

“And get your brains blowed out for
disobeying orders, eh?” returned the

“If my brains are not disturbed till the
captain blows them out, they will remain
in my head as long as I shall want
to use them,” was the reply.

“You don't know that—for the captain
is a man of strong passions, and
when once they are roused, he is apt to
make rather short work.”

“Better not try his hand on me!”
said Roberts, somewhat savagely.

“You didn't care to tell him so last
night, when he called for a settlement,
and you had some words together,” was
the rather nettling response.

“I didn't tell him, that's certain; but
if I live, and he lives much longer, I
may tell him something he will not be
overjoyed to hear,” returned Roberts,
biting his lips with vexation.

“And pray what will you tell him?”

“That is my business, Henry Morford.”

“And it may be mine, John Roberts,”
rejoined the other, “if you make free
with any more of your insinuating

“Make it your business now, if you
dare!” cried Roberts, with a burst of
fury, whipping out his knife as he spoke,
and throwing back his arm to give the
other a mortal blow.

But ere he had time to strike, the arm
was seized by a tall, dark figure, who
had just entered the cave, and the next

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moment the knife was wrenched from his
hand, and Roberts was sent staggering
forward into the center of the cave. With
a yell of fury, the latter turned to grapple
with the bold intruder, when to his astonishment,
he beheld in him the commanding
person of Gerolstein, who stood erect
before him, his dark eyes fixed piercingly
upon him, as if to read his very soul.
The other players, who, during the dialogue
just recorded, had paid little heed
to it, being intent upon their game, now
sprang to their feet, with faces expressive
of amazement, if not alarm, on beholding
the menacing looks exchanged between
their captain and Roberts.

“What means this?” demanded the
chief of the League, in a stern tone.
“What means this, John Roberts? Why
was your hand raised against Henry

“Because he insulted me,” replied the
other, sullenly. “How is this, Morford?
Did you insult him?—and if so, for what

“He insulted me first, Captain,” answered
Morford, respectfully.

“Explain yourself.”

“Why, we were seated on this stone,
here, taking a friendly game of poker,
when Roberts, not having as good luck
as he anticipated, and being a few dollars
the loser, suddenly started to his feet, and
declared he would play no more; and on
being questioned wherefore, he replied
that he had no desire to be swindled; and
on our laughing at his remark, he made
use of an oath, and said when he played
again it would be in the company of gentlemen,
or words to that effect; to which
I retorted by saying, that in the event of
his playing again, there would be one in
the party, at least, whose pretensions to
the honor of a gentleman would be apt to
fall short of what such a person should
be. Well, Captain, one word brought on
another, until my friend Billings here
started up, and begged us to have no-quarrel,
as it was expressly against your
orders, Captain. To this Roberts replied,
that he'd fight whom he pleased; and
during the conversation that ensued, he
threw out some rather dark hints respecting
yourself—or, at least, we so construed

“Ha! what did he say?” demanded

“That if you both lived much longer,
he might tell you something that you
would not be overjoyed to hear. I
asked him what he would tell you, and he
replied, that that was his business; and on
my rejoining it might be my business if
he made free with any more of his insinuating
threats, he made the exclamation
you heard, drawing his knife upon me at
the same time.”

“Yes, and if the Captain had stayed
away a little longer, I should have used
the knife to some purpose,” rejoined
Roberts, savagely.

“Silence, sir! how dare you talk in
this manner?” cried Gerolstein, a dark,
fierce expression sweeping over his,

“But I'm not going to be insulted without
being revenged,” muttered Roberts.

“Silence!” again roared the Captain,
drawing a pistol from his belt. “Silence,
I say! Dare to speak again, till you are
addressed by me, and, by—! I'll send a
bullet through your brains! It is well
for you, sir, you did not use the knife, or
I, in duty bound, should have made a
startling example of one who has been
elevated to the office of Treasurer of the
League. Your conduct, sir, has been
unbecoming to that degree, that, as a
punishment, I shall not only declare you
no longer an officer, but I shall insist that
you crave pardon of the present company
for having disturbed that social order

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which it has been my desire to have maintained
since it has been my fortune to be
your commander.”

“And suppose I refuse?” inquired
Roberts, in a low, dogged tone.

“Then, by heavens! will I have you
arrested and tried for mutiny!” replied
Gerolstein, sternly.

“There is no alternative, then?”

“None, sir, none—nor shall I wait
here long in dalliance.”

“Gentlemen, one all,” said Roberts,
smothering his rage as much possible,
but almost choking in the effort, so that
his utterance was thick and harsh: “Gentlemen,
one and all,” he continued, “I
humbly crave your pardon for being the
cause of a disturbance here this evening;”
and he made a low bow, as if in mockery,
and which all who saw, felt to be intended
as such—though, no one, of course, had
any right to find fault there with.

As Roberts raised his head, after
making that low obeisance, his small,
black, piercing eyes for a moment encountered
the eyes of Morford; and a terrible
expression of sinister intent passed over
his features; and muttering something to
himself, he turned away; and retreating
to the farther wall of the cave, he leaned
against it, and gave vent to his feelings in
curses too low to reach the ears of any of
the party.

Gerolstein paid no further attention to
Roberts, than to eye him somewhat suspiciously
for a moment or two; and then
calling for the register, he opened it to
the place where John Roberts was recorded
as treasurer, and drew his pen
across the name, inserting that of Henry
Morford just below—thus giving Roberts
deadly insult, not only by turning him
out of office, but also by appointing the
man he now bitterly hated in his place.
True, this appointment amounted to
nothing unless confirmed by a majority
of the band; but Gerolstein felt confident
this would be done, as the new candidate
was very popular with the League
whereas the suspicious conduct of the ex-treasurer,
of late, had lost him many
friends, and rendered him out of favor

While this was taking place, the company
present was fast augmenting by new
arrivals; and in the course of half an hour,
not less than thirty members of the League
were present. As twenty constituted a
quorum, Gerolstein mounted the platform,
called the company to order, and declared
the meeting open for the transaction of business.
The first proceeding was for the
secretary to read the minutes of the last
meeting, and the second to elect Henry
Morford treasurer, in the place of John
Roberts, removed. This done, the Captain
called the name of Ira Pottenger.

“Here,” answered a voice; and a man,
some thirty years of age, of small stature,
symmetrically formed, with every limb
well rounded and lithe, and of a fair
countenance, that for want of beard
looked youthful, stepped forward, and
waited to be addressed again.

This personage was called the Runner
of the League; and his business was to
spy out horses that could easily be captured,
sketch on paper the position of the
place, the manner of proceeding, and
minutely note down all the danger attendant
thereupon, and forward the same to
the Captain with as little delay as possible.
And well might he be called the
runner; for he seldom rode; and for
fleetness of foot and endurance, he could
only be matched by the animals on which
he bestowed so much attention. Moreover,
he was refined and polished to a
high degree, and had the confidence of
nearly all the settlers throughout that
region of country; and being considered
an excellent judge of horse-flesh, was

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often commissioned by them to purchase
just such animals as they wanted. He
rarely failed to please in the exercise of
his judgment in this manner, and never
failed to give the League such information
afterward, that the beasts so procured for
others became their stolen property.

“Well, Pottenger,” said the Captain,
addressing him, “what news in the way
of business?”

“I have just come down the Miami,
Captain,” answered the runner, “and have
the good fortune to inform you that a
drove of a dozen horses will lodge this
night in Wilden's barn, about fifteen
miles above here, and near what is called
the Old Fork. These horses, I understand,
belong to as many different settlers,
who have commissioned Wilden to take
them off and sell them, for fear they
may be stolen. They first applied to me;
but I declined, on the plea that I had
more business on my hands than I could
attend to. The fact is,” continued Pottenger,
with a peculiar smile, “I had
much rather buy horses for them, than
sell; for there is this difference: that
whereas in buying I bring the horses into
the country, so in selling I would have to
take them out of it; and as taking them
out of the country is a particular feature
of the association to which I belong, I
had much rather the society would do it
on their own responsibility—more especially,
as in lieu of a small commission,
I thereby get a share of the proceeds.”

“Bravo! bravo!” cried several voices.

“Well,” pursued the Captain, “you
say that a dozen horses are this night
stabled in Wilden's barn—now tell us
how we are to manage to secure them!”

“We shall have to work cautiously,”
replied the runner; “for without doubt,
the barn will be closely watched. There
are Wilden, his two big-fisted, Herculean
sons, and one or two others—all of whom
will pass the night either in the house or
the barn, to my certain knowledge; and
how many more there may be, is more
than I can tell. As I am acquainted
with all these persons, I have thought
that the better way would be for me to
go there myself to-night, and manage the
matter according to circumstances. If
there is any one stationed in the barn, I
will find it out, by applying there first;
and in that case, I will withdraw them
for a few minutes, on one pretence or
another, during which time two or three
of our party can slip into the barn and
plug the touchholes of their rifles, so that
they will be perfectly harmless. Then
they can hide themselves in such a manner
as to be ready to overpower the
guard, or not, as circumstances may dictate.
Perhaps it will be as well to gag
and bind the watchers, and then lead off
the horses quietly; but in case this can
not be effected, the party that enters the
barn must cut them loose, and turn them
out, and let those outside catch them as
best they can.”

“I am a little fearful this is too bold a
move,” rejoined the captain, “and may
excite the settlers too much against us.
Already they begin to be troublesome;
and one, in particular, swears vengeance
against us.”

“You allude to Butterman, I presume?”
said Pottenger.

“I do.”

“He must be silenced!” put in another
of the party. “We have already poisoned
his cattle; and as this only makes him
worse, by—! I am for poisoning him

“I do not like to resort to such extreme
measures, if it can possibly be avoided,”
replied Gerolstein. “Murder is horrible
enough on its own account; but the death
of a settler, by poison, would make all
the others furious against us; and ten to

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[figure description] Page 045.[end figure description]

one, but it would be the means of breaking
up the League.”

“There would, of course, be one enemy
the less,” answered the other; “and
he, too, one of the most energetic and
vindictive. I am for strong measures;
and such as cannot be silenced by threats,
I am for having silenced in some other

“What say you to this, comrades?”
asked the Captain; “for of course I
shall be guided by the will of the majority—
though I warn you that I think
the poisoning of Butterman will be dangerous
to our safety as a body.”

“Why, I'm of the opinion,” growled a
harsh-featured ruffian, “that when a man
openly sets himself up as our enemy—'
specially when such a man's as dangerous
as this here one—that the sooner
he's stopped off the better. Besides, if
we pizen his well, and he dies, I don't see
no way as how anybody can prove who
done it; and as long as nobody can't do
nothing but suspect us, why, I don't see
as how we can be any woss off 'an we is
now. As for thar breaking on us up—
why, that's something I don't believe in,
no how; for git us all together, we could
lick a regiment.”

“I'm jest o' the opinion o' Ben
Thrasher,” spoke up another hang-dog
looking ruffian, who measured six feet
four inches in stature.

“Well,” resumed Gerolstein, “I will
put it to vote, whether we shall poison
Butterman's spring or not.”

The vote being taken, was decided in
the affirmative, and Ben Thrasher was
duly deputized to put half a pound of arsenic
in the spring from which Butterman
was known to procure water for himself
and family.

“This point being carried,” said the
Captain, “we will proceed with the other
business, and have it settled immediately;
for if we do anything to-night, in the way
of procuring horses, (stealing he thought
to be too severe a term to use,) it is high
time we were on the move. You have
said, Pottenger,” he continued, again
addressing that individual, “how you
would manage the affair, in case you
found a party in the barn—now tell us
what you will do in case you do not.”

“Why, if there are none on the watch,”
returned the runner, “the affair can be
managed easily enough. I will go to the
house to procure lodging for the night;
and ten minutes after I have entered, if
all remains quiet, the party in waiting can
open the stables, lead out the horses, and
be off with them.”

“This matter being settled, then, let
us set out forthwith,” rejoined the Captain.
“Is this to your minds, gentlemen?”

“Ay! ay!—yes! yes!” cried some
twenty voices, in chorus.

At this moment a voice outside of the
cave was heard saying:

“Come along with ye, I say! or,
by—! I'll make short work with ye.”

“Oh, don't! don't! good Mr. Jarvis!—
don't!” whined another speaker. “Jest
let me go now, and I'll gin ye all I'm
worth—every cent I've got—I will, 'pon
my honor!”

“Ha!” exclaimed the captain, “whom
have we here?” and as he spoke, Jarvis
entered the cave, dragging Melven along
with him. “So, then,” continued Gerolstein,
“my order has been obeyed, and
you have secured the traitor;” and he
fixed a piercing and significant glance
upon the latter.

“Oh, good Mr. Captain!” cried the
wretch, looking fearfully around, and sinking
down on his knees, in abject terror,
before Gerolstein. “Oh, good Mr. Gerolstein!
I ain't no traitor—'pon my
sacred word and honor I ain't—if—”

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[figure description] Page 046.[end figure description]

“Silence, sir!” thundered the chief,
with a look of pitiful contempt. “If you
are not a traitor, you are a coward, and
I hardly know which of the two is the
worst. Well, Jarvis, what think you of
Arnold Melven?” pursued Gerolstein,
addressing that individual.

“I boldly pronounce him a dastardly
traitor, and I stand ready to bear witness
against his perfidious acts!” was the
prompt reply.

“Enough! his ease shall be attended
to so soon as we get time. Other important
business calls us away to-night. Secure
him in the inner cave, charge the
molders to guard against his escape, and
then come with us, for we have work on
hand for all!”

Five minutes later, the whole party
issued forth from the cave, and, separating,
so as not to be seen in a body, each
took a different course, but with the understanding
that all should rendezvous in
the vicinity of Ralph Wilden's.

Roberts was the last to quit the cave;
and having seen all the others depart, he
moved slowly away, in a different direction,

“Disgrace and treat me with contumely,
eh? Oh! but I will be revenged!
revenged!” and clenching his hand, and
making a gesture of indignation, he
entered a dense brushwood and disappeared.


Some quarter of an hour after his disappearance,
Roberts emerged from the
opposite side of the brushwood into a
elearing, and, crossing this, he entered a
deep wood, in which he continued till he
came to a log cabin, near which stood a
barn, made of the same rude materials,
though with more open crevices. In the
dwelling a light was burning, the rays
of which penetrated through a small window
and some cracks in the door.

“Confound her!” muttered the ex-treasurer—
“why will she always sit up
for me, as if to see whether I come home
drunk or sober. I have told her a hundred
times not to be uneasy on my
account, but to go to bed, and sleep as
soundly as if I were by her side. But,
somehow, I cannot find it in my heart to
scold her for disobeying me, for I am
satisfied she does it because she loves
me; and, really, she is a good creature,
and never makes a word of complaint.
Well, well, I must not let her know I am
here now, or she will plead to have me
stay, and it comes hard to refuse her so
simple and natural a request.”

Saying this, the ex-treasurer cautiously
approached the rude barn, and opening
the door of a stable, he entered and led
forth a coal-black horse. Tying him to
a ring in the logs, he re-entered the
stable, and brought forth a bridle and
saddle; but just as he came out again,
the horse, from some cause, gave a loud
whicker. In a moment the door of the
dwelling was thrown open, and a female
came rushing out, bearing a light in her
hand, which she held above her head, so
as to enable her to distinguish objects
before her. We have said the house was
near the barn, and almost the first thing
her eyes fell upon, after leaving the former,
was the coal black horse. Roberts,
on seeing her, dodged within the stable;
but she caught a glimpse of his person,
and immediately called out, hastening
forward at the same time:

“John, dear John, is that you?”

“Yes,” replied the ex-treasurer, finding

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[figure description] Page 047.[end figure description]

he was discovered, and issuing forth;
“yes, wife, it is I; but what are you
doing up this time of night?”

“Rather let me ask what you are doing
in the middle of the night, with that
horse. You know I never go to bed till
you come home, John; and I am really
hurt that you should come so near, and
think of setting off again without letting
me know of it.”

“Why, the fact is, wife, I am in a
great hurry, my business is very urgent,
and I was afraid that if you saw me, you
would detain me too long—perhaps seek
to prevent my going at all.”

“I would to God I could!” responded
the woman, with deep emotion. Then
approaching the other closely, she added,
in a soft, plaintive tone of true affection:
“Oh, John—dear John—my dear husband—
why will you not quit this terrible
life you are leading? I think of nothing
when you are away, but that I shall see
you brought home a corpse, or hear that
you have fallen into the hands of justice.
Oh, my God! my God! just think, my
dear husband, if such should be the case,
what would become of me and our little
child, that now lies sleeping so sweetly in
yonder dwelling!”

“But I am going to reform,” said
Roberts, turning his face away to conceal
his emotion.

“Ah! so you have said an hundred
times; and yet here you are, now, as
ready as ever to plunge on into new vices.
This will not endure, John, you may
depend it; and, oh! how I tremble for
the finale. Even now, the settlers are
arming against you and your party, and
ere long blood must flow. Oh! why
cannot you leave the party, and start at
once for some unknown region, where we
shall at least be safe! Oh! I would fly
with you, cheerfully, this very night—
would travel far, and endure every priva
tion—rather than reman here, with
such a terrible fate hanging over me!
But we should not have to suffer privation;
for we have money enough to last
us for a couple of years, even provided
we found nothing to do to get an honest
living; but—”

“Cease, wife,” interrupted the ex-treasurer,
“and you shall soon be gratified.
I have done with the League
forever,” he added, in a low whisper,
glancing cautiously around, to be certain
there were no listeners.

“Oh, this is glorious news!” cried his
wife, joyfully; “but whither are you
going, then, to-night?”

“To do a good deed.”

“What is it?”

“To save a fellow creature's life.”

“What mean you?”

“You know that Butterman, whom I
mentioned as the worst enemy of the

“Yes, I know of him. Well?”

“Well, it has been decreed that he
shall be murdered.”

“And you, John?”

“I am going to warn and save him.”

“Are you sincere?”

“I am.”

“God bless you, then, John, for the
noble act! Oh, you know not how happy
it makes me feel, to hear you talk in this
manner! And then will you leave this
part of the country, John?”

“I will leave as soon as I can accomplish
one thing,” whispered Roberts,
drawing his wife into the stable, so as to
render it certain that no one might by
any possibility overhear him.

“And that one thing?” asked his
wife breathlessly.

“The destruction of the League.”

“Good heavens! what mean you?”

“I mean,” said the other, savagely,
“that I have been shamefully treated,

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[figure description] Page 048.[end figure description]

and that I will be revenged. I have been
abused, Mary, insulted and broke of my
office; and now, by the living Power! I
swear to have deep and lasting vengeance
on the accursed scoundrels!”

“Oh, John, do not talk so! If you
attempt to betray them, you will be killed,
I know you will; and then what will become
of me and our dear little child?
Oh, John, I beg you, I implore you, to
attempt nothing rash! Warn Mr. Butterman
of his danger, and then let us fly
together to some place of safety; but do
not attempt to turn traitor, or you will
certainly be killed!”

“I will not be cheated of my revenge,”
said Roberts, doggedly; “no I will not
be cheated of my revenge; so do not
urge me to relinquish my present purpose—
for all your prayers will prove
fruitless. Come, Mary, you are delaying
me, and I may be too late. Go into the
house, wife, and when I return, we will
talk this matter over more calmly.”

“But you are not going to betray the
League to-night, John?” said his wife,

“I am going to Butterman's to-night,
I told you,” answered the other evasively.

“But promise me you are not going to
betray the League to-night.”

“Well, then, I will not betray them
to-night,” returned the other. “There,
now, set your heart at rest, and go into
the house, for you have delayed me too
long already.”

“One kiss, first, John,” said his wife;
and bending down, he pressed his lips to
hers; when, as if fearful to remain longer,
lest her feelings should get the better of
her resolution, she tore herself away, and,
hurrying back to the house, entered and
closed the door behind her.

The ex-treasurer now hastened to bridle
and saddle his horse; then mounting him,
he was just on the point of riding away,
when he heard his name spoken in a low,
tender, melancholy tone. He turned on
his saddle, and beheld his wife standing
in the door.

“What is it, Mary?” he inquired.

“I shall sit up till you come home, dear

“But I may not be home to-night, my
dear wife,” he replied, touched by her
devotedness. “I pray you retire and
get rest! I will come back as soon as I

“No, John, I touch not the bed till
you return—you know this is my invariable

“Well, I will endeavor to be back
before morning,” replied the other; and
touching his horse with the spur, the fiery
animal bounded away, and the next
moment both horse and rider had disappeared
from the tearful eyes of the
devoted wife, who, retiring into the house,
took a seat by her sleeping child, to
await, in lonely watching, the return of a
criminal husband and father.

Oh, the devotion—the patient, untiring
devotion of woman! God bless her! She
may have faults, and frailties, and vices;
but her virtues more than cover all her
defects, and leave her second only to the

Not far distant from the Great Miami,
and about a mile below what is now a
little village called Venice, there stood a
log house, surrounded by woods, which
were only separated from the dwelling
by a few acres of cleared land. A rude
barn stood some ten rods away from the
house, and some ten rods beyond this was
a cluster of bushes, in the center of which
bubbled up a spring of clear, cold, excellent
water, forming a little run, or rivulet,
which rolled away across the clearing,
and at last mingled its waters with those
of the Miami. From the dwelling to this
spring was a path, formed by persons

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[figure description] Page 049.[end figure description]

passing over the ground to get water;
and from the barn to the rivulet, farther
on, was another path, made by the cattle
of the settler, as they passed to and fro
to quench their thirst. This dwelling,
barn, clearing, spring, cattle, &c., was the
property of Butterman, the same person
whom the League had decreed should be
poisoned, on account of the hostile attitude
which he had assumed toward the

Up the valley of the Miami was a horse-path—
it could hardly be termed road—
which led through a long, level, dense
forest—the trees being cut away the
width of a rod or more, but with the
stumps still protruding some two feet
above the ground. This horse-path ran
past the dwelling of Butterman; and on
the night in question, about two o'clock
in the morning, a solitary horseman, pursuing
this path, came to the clearing, and
reined his animal to a halt. Then dismounting,
he led him into a thicket, made
him fast to a tree, and returned to the
path, or road; but before emerging from
the wood into the clearing, he examined
everything before him in the most cautious
manner. Then, apparently satisfied
with his scrutiny, he glided quickly forward,
and soon stood at the door of Butterman's
dwelling, on which he bestowed
several heavy raps.

“Who's there?” inquired the voice
of a man from within.

“A friend,” was the reply from without.

“What's wanting?”

“I wish to see Mr. Butterman on important
business, that will not brook

A small window opened near the door,
and the head of a man peered cautiously

“I am the person you have named,”
said the same voice. “What is it you
want with me?”

“To save your life. Let me in, and I
will tell you more.”

“Are you alone?”

“I am?”

“One minute;” and then the head
was withdrawn, the window closed, and
immediately after the door slightly opened,
and the same voice continued: “Comein;
but if you mean treachery, remember
there is a loaded pistol pointed at your

“If there is any treachery meant, it is
not toward you, Mr. Butterman,” replied
the stranger; and as he spoke, he stepped
boldly into the house, the door of which
was instantly shut and bolted, and both
host and guest were in utter darkness.

“You must pardon me, stranger, for
these precautions,” said Butterman;
“but if you know anything about me,
you know that I live in danger of having
my life taken at any moment.”

“I know all about it,” rejoined the
stranger, “and it is because I have heard
your life menaced, that I am here to-night,
to put you on your guard.”

“Indeed, sir!—then I am very much
indebted to you,” replied Butterman, cordially.
“Here, sit on this stool, and I
will strike a light.”

“No, better that our conference be in
darkness; and then, if enemies are about,
they will not be so likely to be put on
their guard.”

“Proceed, then, and let me know in
what manner my life is threatened.”

“I suppose,” said the stranger, “you
are aware there is a band of horse-thieves
in this vicinity?”

“Yes, I am aware there is set of scoundrels,
who live by plundering honest
people in every way they can. They
have annoyed me not a little, in stealing
two excellent horses, and poisoning as
good a yoke of cattle as ever drew a plow
through fallow; and I've sworn a solemn

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[figure description] Page 050.[end figure description]

oath, to either destory their league, or
lose my own life in the attempt.”

“They already know of your intentions;
and in return, they have decided
to put you out of the way,” rejoined the

“I do not doubt it, sir, in the least,”
said Butterman; “for it is perfectly natural
they should not like me any too well,
seeing as how I am at the head of a large
party, already banding together for their
extinction. But how, if I may inquire,
came you to know that they have decided
on taking my life?”

“Because I overheard a plan to that
effect this very night.”

“Indeed! and in what way are they
to effect their diabolical object?”

“By poisoning your spring.”

“So, so! and when is this to be

“It may be done to-night, and it may
not be done till to-morrow night; but rest
assured it will be done ere long.”

“Oh, I should like to be present, and
send a ball through the cursed head of
the fiend who attempts it!” rejoined
Butterman through his shut teeth.

“Watch your spring, then, and an opportunity
will soon be presented to you,
to take vengeance on one of the villains
that belong to the League.”

“But, pardon me, if I inquire how you
came to overhear this devilish design, and
where the conversation was held?”

“That I cannot tell you to-night,” replied
the other; “but if you will tell me
where the party of which you are at the
head is to meet next, and also the time, I
will endeavor to be present, and give you
such information as may lead to the surprisal
and overthrow of the whole band.”

“But you must recollect,” replied
Butterman, after a slight pause, “that
you are a stranger to me; and as you
refuse me your confidence, I am in duty
bound to refuse you mine, seeing I have-no
evidence that you are not a spy—pardon
the word!—sent here from the outlaws
themselves, to find out all about our
proceedings, so as to be able to take us
at an advantage.”

“Well, sir,” replied the other, coldly,
“if you don't choose to believe I came
here as a friend, and not as a dastardly
spy, there is certainly no harm done, and
I have the honor to wish you a very good

“Stay!” said Butterman, as the other
placed his hand upon the door to draw
back the bolts. “I see you are offended,
sir, and I am sorry for it; but just place
yourself in my position, take everything
into consideration, and then say if you
would be willing to tell everything to a
stranger whose face you had never seen.
True, you may say you came here as a
friend, to warn me against danger; and
the very fact of your so doing should be
proof sufficient that you mean me well;
but how am I to know that you came here
for such a purpose, unless you give me
other evidence than what you so far have
done? The story you have told me about
the design to poison my spring, may have
been invented to cloak a sinister design
in reality; and without other proof than
you have given to the contrary, I ask
you, candidly, if placed in my situation,
you would not do exactly as I have

“Frankly, then,” replied the other,
“I think I should; but notwithstanding,
I can give you no farther evidence of my
sincerity to-night; and so, if you do not
tell me where and when your next meeting
is to be held, I cannot be there to
give you the important information of
which I spoke.”

“You will tell me nothing to-night,

“No, I am pledged not to do so.”

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“Well, let me see! let me see!” said
the other, musingly. “It must be
managed in some way or other. Ah,
methinks I have it! Could you call here
to-morrow night, just at sundown?”

“I know of nothing to the contrary.”

“Well, do so, and you will find me
leaning against the north-east corner of
the house; you will approach me, and
say, `Poison does not always produce
death;' and then I shall know that you
are the same person, and I will then give
you my confidence more freely.”

“Be it so, then,” replied the stranger,
as he proceeded to unbolt the door.
“Meantime, Mr. Butterman, keep your
eye upon the spring; and if you see a
large, brawny, villainous-looking man
approach and throw something into it,
fear not to let him have the contents
of your rifle. Adieu, until to-morrow
night;” and opening the door as he
spoke, the stranger issued forth; and,
after looking cautiously around him, he
retraced his steps to his horse, mounted
him, and rode away, leaving Butterman
to ponder upon his mysterious warning.

And Butterman did ponder upon it,
seriously, for something like half an hour,
during which time he busied himself in
striking a light, dressing himself, and repriming
his rifle. Then he stepped close
to the bed, from which he had risen, and
called his wife by name. Three times
he spoke to her; but getting no reply,
he took hold of and shook her; and as
she aroused from a deep sleep, he said:

“Betsey, I am going out to watch by
the spring, and I want you to get up and
fasten the house.”

“Why, Hiram, what has occurred,
that you are going out this time of

Butterman proceeded, in a brief manner,
to explain, how a stranger had called
and warned him that an attempt would
soon be made to poison the spring whence
they procured their water, and that he
was going to ensconce himself in the
thicket, and be ready with his rifle to
shoot down the poisoner.

“But it may all be a trick to get you
out,” replied the other, “so that the villains
can murder you.”

“It may be,” was the reply; “but
you know, Betsey, that I am afraid of
nothing human; and if any one attempts
foul play with me, they perhaps will
come off second best.”

“But I am afraid to have you go,

“Pshaw, wife! give yourself no uneasiness.
Come, get up and fasten the
door, for to go I am resolved;” and
without waiting for, or heeding the entreating
reply of his wife, Butterman
turned away, and advancing to the door,
opened it, and went out.

Then taking the path that led to the
spring, he approached it cau'iously, and
in a few moments he was safely coneealed
in the covert of the bushes.

Mrs. Butterman followed him as far as
the door, where she waited till she saw
him disappear in the thicket; then closing
and bolting it, she returned to her bed;
but it was more than an hour before her
eyes again grew heavy with slumber.

At length, just as she was settling into
that dreamy state between sleeping and
waking, she was startled by the sharp
crack of a rifle; and bounding from the
bed, she rushed to the window and threw
it up The view was toward the spring;
and looking in that direction, she had
barely time to catch an indistinct glimpse
of two figures darting across the clearing
in the direction of the nearest wood, the
one apparently in pursuit of the other,
ere both disappeared behind a gentle
swell of land. She uttered a loud cry,

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and called the name of her husband;
but no answer was returned; and she
saw the figures no more; for the swell of
land hid them from her sight till they
became buried in the wood. With such
feelings of a wife and mother as can
better be imagined than described, she
closed the window, and, throwing herself,
half dead with fear and dread, upon a
seat, burst into tears.


While the scene just described was
transpiring at Butterman's, another, belonging
to the same drama, no less
exciting, was taking place at Wilden's,
distant some five or six miles. In a rude
barn, only a few rods away from the
house, two large, powerful men were
keeping guard over a dozen horses,
which were stabled there for the night.
The surnames of both of these personages
were Wilden, and both were sons of the
proprietor of the place, and consequently
were brothers. The elder was about
four and twenty years of age, and a perfect
Hercules in size and strength, being
not less than six feet six inches in stature,
and proportioned accordingly. The other
was some two years his junior, and about
two inches less in hight, though probably
his equal in weight and strength. Neither
was a person one would like to meet in
mortal combat, unless sure of having a
decided advantage at the start; and even
then, the provocation would have to be
great, to tempt the readiest fighter to the
unequal encounter.

The brothers were seated on a bench,
within the rude barn, with a lantern
standing between them, the light of which
faintly gleamed upon their faces, partially
revealing their coarse, heavy, weather-beaten
features, and dull, drowsy-looking
eyes. It was about three o'clock in the
morning; and as neither had slept during
the night, both began to feel that dull,
dreamy heaviness, which is the precursor
of utter forgetfulness. They sat with
their heads bent forward; and ever and
anon they nodded; but when they felt
that sleep was creeping upon them too
fast, they raised their heads suddenly,
stared around them, and not unfrequently
yawned, and stretched themselves to the
full extent of their huge proportions. It
was immediately after a longer yawn and
harder stretch than usual, that the elder
of the two, staring to his feet, and
shaking his huge frame like a dog on
coming out of the water, said, in a gruff

“Confound it! won't it never be

“I live in hopes,” answered the other,
yawning; and rising also to his feet, he
caught hold of a beam above his head,
and drew himself half way up to it, as if
to get all the kinks out of his body and

“I don't think thar's much use of our
staying here any longer,” said the first
speaker. “Ef the scoundrelly horse-thieves
war going to do anything in the
way of business here, they'd hev been at
it afore this—eh! Bob?”

“That's my opine,” returned the
younger; “but we'll hev to stay here
till morning, all the same, Jake; for ef we
should go away, and thar should anything
happen to the beasts, the old man
would kick up a thundering row, and no

“I wish to thunder some o'the scoundrels
would come, and show a fair fight,
and then we should hev something to do
to keep us awake—eh! Bob?”

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[figure description] Page 053.[end figure description]

“Yes, that's a fact; but thar's no likelihood
of thar coming while we're here;
for they're a set of cowards, as well as
knaves; and they'll take mighty good
keer not to run agin two sich ugly mugs
as we is. But I say, Jake, hev ye
got any 'backy? for the whisky jug's
empty, and I want some stimulating to
keep me away from the land of nod.”

“Yes, here's a chaw, and that's all;”
and as he passed the “pernicious weed”
over to his companion, there came a
knock upon the door nearest to where the
brothers stood.

“Who's thar, at this time of night?”
demanded the elder.

“A friend,” replied a voice from without.

“Well, who is a friend? and what does
a friend want?” was the second gruff interrogative.

“My name is Pottenger, you know me
well, and I want to get the use of your
lantern for a few minutes, to find something
I have lost in the road.”

“Ira Pottenger, eh!” returned Jake.
“Well, yes, I reckon we do know ye
some, and you shall be accommodated
with all you ask for;” and as he spoke,
he advanced to the door, threw it open,
and invited the other to walk in.

“I suppose you are somewhat surprised
to see me at this time of night,” said Pottenger,
as he advanced into the barn;
“but the fact is, I was down to see a
friend, some ten miles below here, and
the storm coming on, I thought I would
stay till it was over, and then return; for
it is absolutely necessary I should be
home by daylight.”

“Whar do you live?” asked Jake

“Where? why, is it possible you do
not know?” returned Pottenger, in well-feigned
surprise. “Really, I thought
everybody knew where I make my
home—at least, everybody in this vicinity.
Do you know where Runyan's
Purchase is?”

“Yes, I know the place well.”

“Well, I make my home with Peter
Mason, who lives just one mile north of
the northern boundary of Runyan's Purchase.”

“Why, that's all of fifteen miles from
here!” cried the other, in surprise;
“and you don't think of traveling that
afore daylight?—but then I'spect you've
got a horse along?”

“No, I am afoot, and I really think of
getting home by daylight; but you forget—
or rather, perhaps, you do not
know—how quick I am of foot. Why,
sir, I can walk five miles an hour, for five
consecutive hours; and I am willing to-wager
I can pass over forty miles of
ground in the same time—or that I can
perform a longer journey in a week than
the best horse you can produce. By-the-by,
now I think of it, how is it that I find
you up here at this time of night?”

“Why, ye see, we is watching these
here hosses, as dad is agoing to sell for
his neighbors.”

“Horses! why, I do not see any

“Come here, and I'll show ye some as
can't be beat,” returned the other; and
taking up the lantern, he advanced to the
farther side of the barn, and pointed over
a log into the stable, where not less than
a dozen horses were tied—holding up the
light, at the same time, so that the other
could see distinctly.

“O, yes, now I understand,” said;
Pottenger; “these are the same horses
that I was commissioned to sell—but
which I declined—having more on my
hands than I could well get along with
If I remember rightly, the settlers are
selling them to prevent their being

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[figure description] Page 054.[end figure description]

“That's jest exactly it,” replied Jake
Wilden; “but afore I'd sell a animal
for any sich purpose, I'd bite my own
tongue off.”

“Why, it would be better to have them
sold than stolen, would it not?”

“Per'aps so; but I'd run the risk o'
thar being stole; and ef they was, I'd be
sartain to hunt down the cussed thieves,
and shoot 'em like dogs.”

“If you could find them, that is.”

“But I would find 'em—eh! Bob?”

“Wall we would, hoss.”

“I wish the party could be broken
up,” rejoined Pottenger. “They have
become very troublesome of late, and I
have lost one of the best horses by them
that ever blacksmith put a shoe on. Why
is there not something done to arrest their
depredations, and exterminate the whole
gang? I would cheerfully give a hundred
dollars to be assured of their annihilation.”

“Wall, wait a bit, and I reckon you
can dispose of the hundred to suit ye,”
returned the other. “Thar's something
adoing already toward gitting up a company
o' fellers as won't fear to face the
very devil; and ef you live a few weeks
longer, Mr. Pottenger, its my opine you'll
see sights—or may be hear 'em—case
you don't belong to the party.”

“But can I not join your fraternity?
for I assure you I am as anxious as
any one to exterminate these thieving

“Wall, yes, I 'spose you mought jine,
ef you was so minded—eh! Bob?”

“Reckon he could.”

“Where do you meet next?”

“Can't tell ye now; but come down
here to-morrow night, by sundown, and
I'll find a way to git ye thar.”

“But why can you not tell me

“Case you don't belong to us; and
it's agin the rules to blab to anybody as
aint a member—eh! Bob?”

“Fact, Jake.”

“Well, then, I will try to be here at
sunset to-morrow,” rejoined Pottenger.
“But while we have been talking; I have
forgotten my errand. To resume my
story. I was saying I had been down
below to see a friend, and the storm
keeping me till late, besides a desire that
the roads should dry a little before I set
out, I did not leave till one o'clock.
Well, I had got as far as here, when the
idea struck me that I would see the time
of night—never once taking into consideration,
as I pulled out my watch, that I
could see nothing without a light. Another
thing I had forgotten; and that is,
that in my watch fob I had a diamond
worth a hundred dollars. Well, in pulling
out my watch, it stuck rather tight,
and I gave it a sudden jerk, by which
means the pocket partly turned inside
out, and the mouth of it bent over toward
the ground. In fact, the long and short
of it is, that when I went to put it back,
I first felt for my diamond, and missed
it; and I naturally came to the conclusion
that I had dropped it on the ground. I
felt round for it, as best I could, but did
not succeed in finding it; and observing
a light shining through the crevices of
the barn here, I hastened forward to procure
it. Now you know my story; and
if you will be kind enough to come down
and help me search for it, I will reward
you liberally.”

“Do you want both on us?”

“No, only one,” replied Pottenger,
decisively. And then, seeming to reflect
a moment, he added: “That is, I do not
wish to dictate. If you are both willing
to come, perhaps, on second thought, it
would be as well, on the principle that if
two pair of eyes are better than one, so
three must as a natural consequence be

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[figure description] Page 055.[end figure description]

better than two. At all events, I do not
want to lose my diamond, and I will
freely give five dollars to the finder.”

“Then I swow I'll go!” said the
younger of the Wilden's.

“Come along then, Bob!” returned
the elder; and taking up the lantern, he
led the way out of the barn, followed by
the others.

Closing the door behind them, the
party proceeded to the road, or horse-path,
which ran between the house and
barn; then turning to the right, they
continued on some twenty rods, to a spot
where some bushes, growing thick, completely
hid the barn from their view.

The moment they were fairly out of
sight, four dark figures, skulked along
close to the barn, and opening the door
whence the Wilden's had issued, each
entered noiselessly, one at a time, and
carefully closed the door behind them.
As soon as this was done, the foremost
sprung a dark lantern, and all hurriedly
examined the appearance of the place.
Looking carefully about on every side,
their eyes soon encountered a couple of
rifles leaning up against a hay-mow; and
while two sprang forward, seized these,
knocked out the flints, and shook out the
priming, the other two hurriedly examined
the stable, and the position of the horses.

“Well, comrades,” said the one carrying
the light, but speaking in a low,
guarded tone, “how had we better
manage?—for these fellows, as you just
now saw for yourselves, are perfect

“Why, Jarvis,” replied one of the
party, “I think we had better crouch
down here, near the door, and as they
come in, bound upon them, two upon
one, and overpower them the best way
we can. No doubt some of us will get
knocked down in the scuffle; but we
must all be cautious that our passions do
not get so excited as to cause us to take
life. We must gag and bind them, of
course, and then we can work to suit

“Well, I suppose that will be the best
plan,” replied Jarvis. “I, like you, am
opposed to taking life; but I tell you
what it is, comrades, if I find these fellows
too troublesome, I shall not stop to
knock them down with this;” and as he
spoke, he exhibited a heavy slung-shot.

“Agreed!” replied the other; “if
they prove troublesome, there is no other
course for us to pursue, be the consequences
what they may.”

Having thus settled matters to their
satisfaction, the four intruders arranged
themselves, two on either side of the
door, to await the return of the Wildens.
Minute after minute went by, and a
quarter of an hour elapsed, and yet the
young men had not returned.

“How long Pottenger keeps them!”
said one, in a whisper.

“I suppose they have not found the
diamond yet,” rejoined another.

“A cute trick,” said a third, in a
whisper also. “It takes Pottenger to do
the decoy business. How well he managed
the whole affair. I declare, I was
puzzled to conjecture what excuse he
could make to get them both out without
exciting suspicion; but he did admirably.”

“And did you notice,” put in the
fourth, “how, when the question was
asked, if he wanted both, he replied in
the negative; and then, after a little apparent
reflection, managed to make it out
for the best that both should go.”

“I thought, at one time, he was going
to peach,” said Jarvis, “when he talked
so freely of us as scoundrels; but I soon
understood the drift of his discourse.”

“It never occurred to me that Pottenger
would prove treacherous to us,”
rejoined Henry Morford, who was one of

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[figure description] Page 056.[end figure description]

the present party. “No, no—any one
that knows him as well as I, must be
satisfied that Ira Pottenger is as true as
steel. I wish I could say as much for
Roberts,—for he, I do believe, is a villain
by nature!”

“But you must admit,” said one,
“that you are prejudiced against him,
since the quarrel of to-night.”

“It may be I am somewhat, Sezmond,”
answered the other, “but the
truth is, I never did look upon him as
any too honest. I watched him closely,
after the captain came in, and we were
laying out our plans for the night, and
methought I could detect an expression
on his countenance that foreboded evil to
us; but I may have been mistaken; and
I certainly have no desire to suspect any
one wrongfully—much less to bring a
false accusation against him. By-the-by,
has any one seen him since the meeting
broke up?”

“Yes, he joined us about half an hour
ago,” replied Jarvis; “and if I am
not mistaken, he is now with the captain.”

“Since these fellows are so powerful, I
regret we did not fetch Ben Thrasher
with us,” said Sezmond.

“Why, Thrasher is not in the party,”
answered Jarvis, “unless he joined it
since we came in here. He went to
poison Butterman's spring, and it is a
chance if he joins us.”

“Well, then, there was Tom Giles, as
strong as Thrasher.”

“Yes, but you know Giles is rough
and headstrong, and always for extreme
measures. If he were here, he would be
for killing these fellows at once; and the
Captain has particularly cautioned us
against shedding blood, if it can possibly
be avoided.”

“Well, we must do the best we can,
then, it seems,” put in Morford. “You
say, Jarvis, you saw Roberts join the
party?—you are sure?”

“Yes, I am sure, for I was talking-with
the Captain when he came in.”

“Did he seem flurried or excited in
any way?”

“No, as far as I could judge, he was
very calm—more so than usual.”

“Ah! I fear that calmness, then, portends
a storm,” rejoined Morford. “To
save my life, I cannot help thinking that
man meditates treachery.”

“If I were sure of it,” replied Jarvis,
“I would plant a knife in his heart before
daylight; but I think he is too sensible
to attempt such villainy, no matter what
he may think of it. Now such a fellow
as Melven was just the one to betray us;
for he is a coward at heart, and no coward
should be trusted; besides, he joined us
on compulsion, to save his own life, and
I have been afraid of him ever since.
But he is caught at last, in the very act,
and death will silence him forever.”

“What do you know against him?”
asked Sezmond.

“Enough to condemn him,” replied
Jarvis; “but wait till the night of trial,
and then you shall hear and see for
yourself. But hark! do you not hear

“Yes, it is the brothers returning,”
whispered Morford. “And there! now
they laugh. Pottenger has managed,
somehow, to put them in good humor: I
shouldn't wonder if the diamond had
been found in reality.”

“Silence, now!” said Jarvis; “not
even let a whisper be heard, for the time
draws near for action. Be ready, comrades,
to spring upon them, like a tiger
leaping upon his prey. Have the ropes
ready to bind them! I have one gag—
who has the other?”

“I have,” answered Morferd.

“Then you and Charles act together,

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[figure description] Page 057.[end figure description]

and Sezmond and I will do the same.
All ready now, silence!” and at the
close of the last word, a breathless stillness
succeeded among the horse-thieves.

Meantime, the brothers Wilden were
returning to the barn, wholly unsuspicious
of danger, and evidently in very
good humor with themselves and everybody
else, for they talked fast and laughed

“Yes,” said the elder, as they drew
near the barn, in reply to some previous
remark of the other, “a deuced good
thing for us, as it turned out, for we
made five dollars by it. He's a chap as
pays well, is that Pottenger, and I'd like
to watch hosses every night, ef he was
sure to come along and lose a diamond—
ha, ha, ha—eh! Bob?”

“Exactly; and I'd be in too. But I
say, Jake, let's save up this here, till next
frolie; and then won't we astonish the
boys with the ready?—and, for that matter,
the gals, too?—ha, ha, ha!”

“Wall we will, hoss; and that's a allfired
good idee; for I was just thinking
how we was agoing to manage to show it
off, without we went on a spree; and it
makes a feller feel so logey arter he's
been drunk all by himself.”

“I thought, one time, we warn't agoing
to find it,” said the other; “but my
eyes is purty considerable keen; and at
last, jest as we was about giving it up, I
popped right on to it, beautiful. I seed
something shine, and I knowed right off
as how it was it — case I onc't heerd a
feller tell as how diamonds was just like
stars in the night—they'd shine so handsome.
I wish diamonds was jest as
plenty as rocks—don't you, Jake?”

“Why do you wish that, Bob?”

“Case then a feller could be so rich.”

“Why, how'd they make you rich?”

“How! why you must be green, aint
yer? Don't you know diamonds is very
valuable? Only think! he said as how
that thar little bit was worth a hundred
dollars; and so you can see, by that,
what a cart-load on 'm 'ud bring.”

“Yes, but ef they was plenty as
you've said, who'd buy 'em?”

“Who'd buy 'em, Jake?—why everybody
as wanted 'em, and could afford it,
in course.”

“Thar's whar you're green,” cried the
other, with a triumphant laugh. “Why,
numskull, who in thunder d'ye 'spose 'ud
want to buy, ef he could jest get 'em for
the picking up?—eh! Bob?—ha, ha, ha!”

“Pshaw! you're a fool, aint yer?”
returned the other, angrily, as he secretly
acknowledged the force of his brother's
argument. “You needn't grin, now, and
snicker, in that kind of a way,” he pursued,
“case I could jest argufy you all
out on't, ef I was a mind to; but I shan't
stop to waste my breath on sich a saphead,
no how.”

“No, Bob, I wouldn't—ha, ha, ha!”
roared the other, in great glee.

By this time the brothers had reached
the barn; and opening the door, the
elder half stumbled in, laughing uproariously
at the discomfiture of the other,
who followed close upon his heels, bearing
the lantern. But scarcely had the
latter crossed the threshold, when the
lantern was dashed from his hand, and
the laugh of the brother was changed to
an exclamation of rage and dismay, as
both found themselves assailed by an unlooked-for
foe, of whose number or design
they knew nothing.


The struggle of the Wildens to regain
their liberty, after being set upon in the

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[figure description] Page 058.[end figure description]

manner already shown, was a terrible
one; and as the party in concealment
had anticipated, it proved no easy matter
to overpower them, albeit they were
taken at great advantage, and there were
two against one. A severe scuffle ensued,
during which Jarvis and Morford were
knocked down, and both of their companions
thrown violently against the logs
of the barn; but the party of the League
was in the end triumphant—though they
did not succeed in gagging Jake Wilden,
till he had twice shouted for help, at the
top of his iron lungs.

But the gags were finally brought into
use, and the ropes also, and both were
silenced, and bound hand and foot. The
moment this was effected, Jarvis applied
his fingers to his lips, and gave a low
peculiar whistle; and immediately after
the door opening from without into the
stable, was thrown back on its wooden
hinges, and a dozen men rushed in. Then
each seized a horse and led him out, and
slipping on a bridle already prepared, at
once vaulted upon his back and began to
ride away.

But the cry of the elder Wilden had
been heard by the inmates of the house,
who now came running out, three in
number, to learn what had occurred—
each, as a natural precaution, bringing a
ritle with him. It was difficult for any
one to make out objects distinctly at any
distance; but the party from the dwelling
readily understood what was taking
place; and hearing the tramping and
snorting of the horses, and dimly perceiving
several dark figures moving briskly
about, they felt themselves justified in
using extreme measures; and simultaneously
bringing their rifles to their
shoulders, they glanced along the barrels
as well as the darkness would permit, and
fired toward the thickest of the group.

“Hell's curses on them!” cried a
voice, savagely; “they have shot my
horse under me.”

“Hit me on the arm,” said another.

“Put a hole through my hat,” added
a third.

“Away, men—away!” cried a fourth;
“and each take care of himself as best
he can;” and at the same moment every
horse was lashed into a run, and away
thundered the mounted party, and quickly

“After them as is afoot, and let's kill
every devil we can get our hands on!”
shouted another voice from the party of
the dwelling; and immediately the three
persons who had fired, came bounding up
to the barn. “Whar's Jake and Bob?”
continued the same voice. “I'm feared
they're killed; but you two follow up
them as you can see running yonder,
and I'll stop and look, and then come on
arter ye;” and as the comrades of the
speaker, faithful to his instructions, darted
away in pursuit of the fugitives, some of
whom could just be seen running across
a clearing to the nearest wood, he fancied
he heard a groan just within the barn.

Anxious to learn the fate of his sons—
for this was the senior Wilden, and father
to Jake and Bob—he bounded to the
door, and threw it open. There was just
light enough to enable him to perceive
the outlines of two huge, dark forms
stretched upon the floor; and as they did
not speak nor move, his first impression
was that they were dead, and a cry of
agony burst from his ashy lips. But
scarcely was it uttered, when one of the
huge figures came rolling over and over
toward him, and even on to his very feet,
and a noise like a heavy groan strangled
in one's throat issued from him. Immediately
the father stooped down, to ascertain
in what way his son was wounded,
and his hand instantly encountered the
cord that bound him. The whole truth

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now flashed upon him; and whipping out
his knife, with a cry of joy, he quickly
severed the ligaments, even to the one
that held the gag in his mouth.

The moment Jake Wilden was free—
for this was the elder brother—he sprang
to his feet, and then bounding up from
the floor, uttered a loud peculiar noise,
which we can liken to nothing but the
discordant whistle of a steam engine.
Then drawing a long breath, as of relief,
he bounded up again, cracked his heels
together, and shouted:

“Hell, dad, whar is they? I'm cantankerous—
I'm for a fight—I'm mad—
I can whip the hull beastly crew—I
can, by—! whoop!” and before his
father had time for a reply, he darted
along the hay-mow, caught up his rifle,
which the robbers had left in the very
place where they found it, and rushed out
of the barn, again giving utterance to
another of his discordant screams, as
though his lungs were overcharged with
pent up sounds, which must perforce find
vent or collapse.

The father now turned to his younger
son, and, on cutting him loose, he went
through gyrations, and gave vent to
sounds, in all respects so much like his
brother, that one might easily fancy the
elder was repeating his ventilating and
gymnastic exercises. As Bob was as
eager for a fight as Jake, he was not long
in finding his rifle, and the outside of the
barn, whither he was followed by his

“Which way, dad?” cried Bob—
“case I'll hev to fetch a cuss or die.”

“That way, thar, to the right,” said
his father.

“Yes, and thar's Jake, as I'm a sinner,
streaking on't across the open lot
like chain lightning greased. Come on,
dad, and let's see what your legs can do
at fifty;” and away they both started in
pursuit of Jake, who was in pursuit of his
father's guests, who were in pursuit of
the robbers, who were striving to make
good their escape.

Literally speaking, the three Wilden's
and the two guests, were all in pursuit of
the horse-thieves; but we mentioned
them in the order they were running,
forming an unequal line of a half a mile.
And this line was just long enough to
reach the woods—so that at the very-moment
when the two last—Bob Wilden
and his father—set forward in the
chase, the horse-thieves, among whom
were Jarvis and comrades, were entering
the outskirts of the forest, and disappearing
from their nearest pursuers.

Thinking it worse than useless to follow
them longer; under the cover of night
and an extensive forest, the two persons
who had reaohed the wood in advance of
the Wildens, waited for the latter to
come up, in order to hold a consultation
and determine on further proceedings.
In a few minutes Jake Wilden joined
them, puffing and blowing like a porpoise,
or an overcharged Mississippi steamboat
boiler; and after giving vent to another
of his peculiar lung-puffs—if we may be
permitted to coin a word expressive of
what we mean—he exclaimed:

“Whar's the thieving skunks by this
time?—whar is they, I say? I'm outlandish—
I'm cantankerous—and I want
to lick the hull capoodle on 'em, all by
myself, I does. Just set 'em afore me
one't, and take notice how the fur flies,
will yer? O, I'm slick—I'm greasy—
I'm biling—and I wants to fight something,
jest afore I lays down and makes a
die on't—I do, by—!—whoop!”

“Well, you'll have to catch 'em afore
you can fight 'em,” said one of the two
whom he addressed; “and I dont think
it's likely you'll do that to-night, being
as how they've got into these here woods.

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But ef you was so fierce for a fight, why
didn't you do something when they was

“Do thunder!—why, how in h—l
d'ye 'spose I could do anything with my
arms and legs all bound, and a gag in my

“So, then, you were bound, eh?” said
the one who had not before spoken, and
who made use of better language than
his companion. “Pray, tell us how it

“Tell h—l!” grumbled Jake Wilden.
“All I knows 'bout it is, that me and
Bob had been out to help Ira Pottenger
hunt up a diamond as he'd drapped down
in the road thar; and when we got back
into the barn, we was pitched upon afore
we knowed it, and used up quicker nor I
can tell ye about it. O, ef I'd jest a
knowed them thar skunks was in thar,
wouldn't thar a been a heap of fun?
May be not; but you mought bet your
old bob-tail colt on't, Mr. Munger, and I
reckon you wouldn't lose, nother.”

“Yes,” rejoined the other, with a
vexed laugh, “it's all very well to say I
might bet my colt on your exploits; but
it unfortunately happens that I've got no
colt to bet, as the thieves have played
their game and got him already.”

“Yes, and I'll hev thar hearts' best
blood for't, and other things,” cried Jake,
with a burst of fury. “They may git
away to-night, and be—to 'em!—
but my time 'll come one of these here
days, and then look out for a breeze.
The—scamps aint a-going to catch
me, and tie me down, and gag me, and
steal all the hosses I'm set to watch, and
then git off without no trouble! No, by—!
I'll hev the heart's blood o' the
best of 'em, or I'll lose my own—so
mark that, now, and don't forgit it—for
it's big Jake as sez it.”

By this time the father and brother of
Jake had come up to the party; and mmediately
a consultation was held, regarding
what was best to be done. It was
of course decided as useless to pursue the
outlaws any further that night—for in the
deep wood it would be impossible to tell
a man from the trunk of a tree a yard
from the eye. And then, how could the
pursuit be continued on following day,
since it was not known who were the robbers?—
not one of them having been
seen, so as to make it possible, if the
right ones were found, that they could be
recognized and identified.

The truth was, it was believed by all the
settlers, throughout the Great Miami Valley,—
that there was a league, or hand of
men—who passed themselves off as farmers,
doctors, traders, store-keepers, and
mechanics—whose real occupation was to
steal horses, make and pass counterfeit
money. And to sustain them in this
belief, the settlers had the evidence of
several circumstances of a suspicious
character, some of which were, that certain
men, owning horses, and living
among them, never had one stolen; and
that several persons in the country, who
had at different times, in different places,
and on different charges, been arrested,
were always proved to be innocent,
through the testimony of certain men who
had till then maintained a high place in
the esteem of all honest persons who
knew them. And here was the difficulty
in attempting to bring the guilty to justice:
there was no positive proof against
them, and nothing of course could be
done on mere suspicion. By a wonderfully
adroit management, not one of the
League had ever been taken in the act of
stealing, or passing counterfeit coin; and
so all that the honest settlers could do,
was to suspect certain neighbors of having
a hand in the crimes that were daily
being enacted against the laws of the

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community. And of late these crimes
had become bolder, more startling, and
more numerous; and the honest settlers,
alarmed for their personal safety, as well
as that of their property, had found it
necessary to organize a society for the
extinction of the depredators. And to
guard against placing themselves in the
power of their enemies, it formed a part
of their constitution that no one should be
allowed to become a member, but such
persons as were known to have lost horses,
or been otherwise troubled with marauders,
previous to its organization. Hence
the caution, as the reader has already
seen, of those who were members, with
regard to giving strangers, or those
known not to be members, any information
concerning the society, lest it might
be used to their disadvantage.

As yet this society had never acted in
concert—it having been but a few weeks
since its organization; but the events of
the night of which we are speaking, were
well calculated to stir its members up to
prompt and decisive action. Knowing it
was to meet on the following night,
it was judged advisable by the party in
consultation, to wait quietly till then, lay
the whole facts before the meeting, and
be guided in their further proceedings
by the judgment of the majority. And
in taking this course, it was thought not
improbable that another good might result
from it—inasmuch as it was certain
that one of the outlaws was wounded, and
it was not possible, by keeping a sharp
look out, that some person might, in the
course of the day, be discovered with a
bandaged arm. It was finally agreed,
therefore, between the Wildens and their
guests, that there should be no further
pursuit of the outlaws till after the next
meeting of the Anti-League Society.

Scarcely was this settled, when all
were startled by a loud cry, followed by
shouts, reports of fire-arms, and soon by
a rustling of the bushes of the forest,
near where the party stood, as if some
persons were approaching them. Silently
drawing back, under cover of a thicket,
they had just fixed themselves in a position
where they could see and not be
seen, when a man burst out of the wood,
and started to run across the clearing, in
the direction of Wilden's house. But
scarcely had he advanced forty yards
beyond the limits of the forest, when four
others came bounding after, in hot pursuit,
and spread themselves out to the
right and left, evidently with the design
of completely cutting him off from the
wood, should he change his course and
attempt to regain a cover.

“Dod rot it!” said Jake Wilden, in a
low tone, “I do believe it's some o' them
cussed hoss-stealers. Let's arter 'em,
and gin 'em thunder!”

“I'll go my death on that move,”
returned the younger brother.

“Here's arter 'em, then,” rejoined the
senior Wilden; and the next moment the
whole party was in motion, and each
selecting his man, all darted forward in
pursuit of the strangers, Jake and Bob at
the same time uttering loud whoops, not
unlike those made by Indians when
rushing down upon an enemy. The moment
the four pursuers of the foremost
runner heard these cries in their rear, and
beheld the party giving chase, they appeared
to become alarmed for their own
safety; and changing their course, they
sought to gain the forest to avoid being
overtaken. Three of them being near
the wood, succeeded in their attempt, and
escaped; but the fourth one—a giant of
a fellow, not unlike Jake Wilden in his
huge proportions—being farther in advance,
and nearer the foremost runner
than the others, was completely cut off
from gaining a cover, and therefore had

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no means to avoid a collision with his
adversaries, but to outrun them on a
dead race. It so chanced that Jake
Wilden had singled out this giant for his
object in the pursuit; and being a fleet
runner, and fresh withal, he bounded on
after him, rifle in hand, and soon began
to gain on him, and leave the others
behind. Perceiving how matters stood,
the giant redoubled his exertions, and
kept directly in the tracks of the first
fugitive, who, not having noticed the
change in the pursuers, believed himself
the sole object of all their exertions, and
consequently strained every limb and
sinew to escape. But in the same ratio
that Jake gained on the giant, the giant
gained on the foremost; and a quarter of
a mile, hard running, brought the three
advance parties near together, but considerably
increased the distance between
them and those behind.

“Stop, you bloody thief!” now thundered
Jake, “or I'll lodge the insides of
this here rifle into the place yer set down
on—I will, by thunder!”

The giant seemed to pay no heed to
this call, but still pressed forward with
all his might. Not so the foremost fugitive,
who, thinking the language was
addressed to him, and now believing it
impossible for him to escape, suddenly
came to a halt, and drawing forth a large
Spanish knife, threw open the blade, by
means of a spring, and otherwise prepared
to sell his life as dearly as possible.
But judge of his surprise, when, instead
of beholding the huge fellow close behind
rush upon him, as he had expected, the
latter suddenly bounded one side, and
went panting by, followed by another as
huge as himself, who appeared in the act
of raising his rifle to shoot him down.
Such, doubtless, was his intention; for
the next moment the snap of the lock
was heard, but the piece did not go off;
and with a “D—n the thing! I can do
without it,” it was cast upon the ground,
and the same voice, addressing the now
stationary personage, with whom the
speaker had come along side, demanded
to know who he was.

“My name is Butterman,” was the

“Good!” cried the other; “so you're
one of us; and now, arter being pursued
yourself, you can join in pursuit. Who's
this fellow ahead?”

“Don't know—only I know he belongs
to the villainous gang of horse-thieves.”

“Good agin!” cried Jake, who by
this time was considerably past the other,
and still running hard. “I told 'em so—
I knowed it—and I'll give him thunder
yit!—whoop! hurray!”

“Who are you?” cried Butterman.

“I'm Jake Wilden.”

“Is it possible, and I not know you!
And who are those behind?”

“Dad, Bob, and two other friends,”
answered Jake, who by this time was too
far beyond the other to permit of any
further conversation.

“And I have all this time been running
away from my friends,” soliloquised
Butterman—“thinking they were enemies!
O, what an ass! But I am sure
they fired upon me, and gave chase, when
I run that fellow in among them. I do
not understand it; but here come those,
I suppose, that can explain the mystery;”
and Butterman turned to the others, who,
running toward him, were fast lessening
the distance between himself and them.

Meantime Jake was in close pursuit of
the flying fugitive, more than ever eager
to overtake him, since he had learned, to
a certainty, that he was one of that gang
whom he now hated with a bitterness
which blood alone could appease. And
if truth must be told, he did not regret
that he and his intended victim were now

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[figure description] Page 063.[end figure description]

by themselves, as it were, where he could
wreak his signal vengeance upon him
without interruption—it never once occarring
to him, that his foe was his equal
in strength, and that, in a hand-to-hand
encounter, the latter might possibly get
the advantage, and become master of the
ground. No, he thought nothing of this;
he only considered that he had been
tricked, overpowered, and disgraced, by
a portion of that same band of which the
pursued was a member, and his whole
soul was now concentrated upon one dark
desire, revenge.

We have said that Jake had gradually
been gaining upon the giant, who was no
other than big Ben Thrasher, the man
who had been deputised to poison Butterman's
spring—but whom the latter,
warned of his purpose, had watched, and
fired upon, and chased through the country,
till, having run him in among a portion
of his own band, they had in turn
tired at and joined in pursuit of him,
with what result the reader has already
seen,—we say Jake had gradually been
gaining upon Thrasher, and when, at last,
only a rod or so divided them, the former,
indignant at what he conceived to be the
latter's cowardice, tauntingly exclaimed:

“You're a thundering coward, you
over-grown lummox! to be running away,
this here way, from a feller as wants to
lick ye beautiful. Thar's nobody near—
so turn about and stand up like a man,
ef you've got the spunk of a owl in ye!”

“You're right, old boy,” growled
the other, coming to a halt; “and I'll
jest stop and see what you're made

“I can lick you, and all your cussed
band!” shouted Jake, as he came within
reaching distance of the other; and quick
as lightning, dealt him a blow with his
fist, which staggered him back a couple
of paces, and which, bestowed on a man
of ordinary physical strength, would assuredly
have knocked him down.

“Thar's two on us as can play at this
game,” cried the other, as he furiously
gave back a blow, that in turn staggered.

Jake instantly recovered, and bounding
forward, with a yell of rage, struck right
and left at his opponent, who returned
the blows in the same manner, neither
appearing to gain any decided advantage.
For a few moments the blows on both
sides rained fast and heavy,—each one
of which, if rightly directed, would have
brought an ox to his knees—but which,
in the present instance, failed to prostrate
either of these well-matched young Samsons.
But at length, the near approach
to each other clogged the blows, and each
simultaneously grappled his opponent,
and then indeed came the “tug of war.”
For a few moments there was a terrible
struggle, then Thrasher was thrown violently
upon the earth, and Jake Wilden
fell heavily upon him, for the moment
fairly knocking the breath from his body.

“Now die, you ugly lummox of a
horse-thief, and be—to ye!” cried
Jake, grasping the other by the throat,
and endeavoring with all his might to
strangle him.

In vain Thrasher resisted, and attempted
to remove the vice-like grasp of his
opponent from his throat; he had been
too much stunned by his fall; and already
the other had too much weakened
him, by the advantage he had gained in
seizing his throat while in a state of comparative
inaction. Every moment he now
felt his strength deserting him; the blood
seemed ready to burst from the swollen
veins of his countenance; his tongue
already protruded; and his eyes seemed
emitting sparks of fire, as the force of
strangulation almost pressed them from
their sockets. Vainly had he clutched,

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convulsively, the hands of Jake Wilden,
and attempted to remove them from his
throat; and at last, in his despair and
agony, he threw them about at random.
Suddenly, by accident, they came in contact
with the handle of a knife which
Jake carried with him, but which, in the
present rencounter, he had either forgotten,
or disdained to use. A gleam of
hope and vengeance now animated the
dying giant; and using all his remaining
strength, he drew the weapon from its
sheath, and plunged it into the heart of
his antagonist, who suddenly uttered a
groan, unclenched his hands, and, rolling
over upon the earth, expired.

As soon as the weight of his opponent
had left his body, Thrasher, knowing that
the friends of the slain were close at
hand, and that his life was in imminent
danger, unless he could escape their vengeance,
made a vigorous effort to regain
his feet, but succeeded only in gaining his
knees, when a sudden vertigo caused him
to fall over, just at the moment the party
behind, headed by the senior Wilden,
reached the spot of the fatal combat.

“Eh! Jake! how's this?” cried the
father of the dead, stooping down to feel
of the body, and ascertain the cause of
his remaining so quiet. “My God! he's
killed! he's murdered!” he exclaimed
the next moment, in tones of agonized
horror, as his hands came in contact with
the warm blood that had gushed from his

“Killed? murdered?” exclaimed all,
in amazement, terribly shocked at the
horrid truth.

“Yes, my God! he's stabbed through
the heart,” rejoined the agonized father.

“And here's his devilish murderer,
with the bloody knife still in his grasp,”
cried Bob, springing upon Thrasher, and
wrenching the weapon from him.

“I did it in self-defense,” returned
Thrasher, faintly. “He got me down,
and was strangling me, and I'd no other
way to escape death.”

“Villain! you shan't escape death as
it is!” rejoined the now infuriated father.
“Oh, God! that Jake—my son—my first
born—should die sich a death!” groaned
the nearly distracted parent, violently
wringing his hands, and shedding bitter
tears at his irreparable loss.

“Shall I finish the — scoundrel,
dad?” asked Bob, planting his knee
upon Thrasher's breast, and holding the
knife just above his throat.

“No, no—not in this manner!” interposed

“Let's hang him, then!” vociferated
the younger Wilden.

“Ay, string him up at onc't—who's
got a rope?” exclaimed the senior Wilden,
with an excitement of manner that
amounted almost to a frenzy.

“Here's one, dad,” replied Bob Wilden,
drawing a strong cord from his
pocket. “It's the same these here
cusses of thieves bound me with in the
barn. It's lucky I fetched it along—but
I kinder thought as how may be it 'ud
sarve some on 'em the next turn.”

“Quick, then, make a noose, and let's
drag him to the nearest tree!” said his

“Thar's a tree, not mor'n twenty
yards—I can just see it,” returned

“But had we not better try him first?”
suggested Butterman. “If we hang him,
methinks we ought to constitute ourselves
a court, and make a show of legal

“D—n legal proceedings!” rejoined
Wilden; “I'll take the responsibility.
Aint it enough that he's killed poor Jake,
right afore our eyes, arter trying to pizen
your spring, as you said he did? Take
hold, Bob, and help fetch him along;”

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and as he spoke, the father grasped one
arm of Thrasher, and Bob the other.

“Mercy! mercy!” gasped the trembling

“Shut your mouth, or I'll cut your
throat!” exclaimed Bob, making a flourish
with his knife, as, assisted by his
father, he began to drag the other
toward the fatal tree.

“Witness all, that I take no part in
this,” said Butterman, solemnly, as, in
company with Munger and Dicker, the
companions of Wilden, he followed after
the near relations of the deceased, who
were dragging Thrasher, without the
least resistance on his part, toward the
place designed for his execution. “It is
true,” continued Butterman, “I think the
fellow deserves to die; and could I have
killed him at the spring, or when in pursuit
of him, I should have done so, and
felt myself justified; but somehow this
illegal way of meting out justice, has to
me much the appearance of murder.”

“Wall, I said I'd take the responsibility—
so don't trouble yourself in the
matter!” growled the senior Wilden,
doggedly. “A villain shan't murder a
son o' mine, and git into my clutches,
without getting his desarts; and as he
said this, his grasp tightened on the arm
of the culprit, and he gave him a savage
jerk, by way of enforcing his assertion.

The party had now reached within a
few steps of the tree, and thus far
Thrasher had made not the least resistance,
but had allowed his captors to drag
him along with his feet trailing on the
ground. But he had evidently been
regaining and harboring his strength for
a final desperate effort; and had they
been prudent, or gifted with proper forethought,
they would have bound his legs
at the start—well knowing that such
unnatural quiet, in one about to be hung,
foretokened something of a very opposite
nature ere he should be attached to the
tree by a cord around his neck. At
length the tree was reached, and the limb
selected from which to suspend the
victim. Thrasher still remaining quiet,
Bob Wilden now let go his hold, in order
to throw the rope over the limb; but
scarcely had he turned his head for this
purpose, when, quick as lightning, the
giant sprang to his feet, knocked the
elder Wilden down with his brawny fist,
and, uttering a savage yell, bounded away
with the fleetness of a deer. Instantly
each man drew up his rifle and fired; but
every ball missed the fugitive, who, uttering
a taunting laugh of defiance,
gradually disappeared—not one of the
astonished party thinking it of any use to
attempt to overtake him.

Bitterly, savagely, did Bob and his
father curse the good fortune of the thief
in escaping from their Lynch-law justice;
but all their abusive spleen availed
nothing in the way of restoring him to
their possession; and so at last their loud
invectives settled down to a species of
under-tone grumbling, and finally ceased
altogether, as they turned their attention
toward removing the dead body of their
near relative to their dwelling, preparatory
to consigning his mortal remains to
earth forever.


We must now return to Cicely, whom
we left in the hands of her captors. At
the place of their landing, were three
swift-footed horses—on one of which she
was mounted, with the strongest of the
party behind her; and, in company with
the others, borne swiftly away. On, on

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they dashed in sullen silence—over field
and wood—over highlands and marshy
places—now in total darkness—now in
the vivid light of the almost incessant
lightning—the rain in torrents fairly
drenching them, while the hoarse-voiced
thunder seemed bursting forth in mockery.

So it seemed to Cicely, poor girl, who
felt her guardian angel had deserteed her.
Why was she torn thus rudely from her
peaceful home? For what base end?
Who were her captors? Where would
be her destination? were questions which
she asked herself an hundred times, and
an hundred times was she lost in the
maze of bewilderment. She could learn
of none, for none would give her answer;
and yet, on, on they sped, in their bold
career. She did not cry out, for she
knew it would be useless—would only
subject her to much severer usage. But
one thing she could do—one thing she
did do—she poured forth, from her heart,
a silent, earnest prayer to the God of the
helpless; and, feeling herself under His
protecting arm, resigned herself to her

At length, after some two hours hard
riding, they came to a halt before a rude
old cottage, made of logs, where she
was assisted to dismount, and conducted
within; while the others, a moment or
two later—judging from the sound—rode
swiftly away.

If Cicely was surprised at her capture,
she was no less surprised when, conducted
to the door by one of the party, she
found it opened by a young, handsome,
richly dressed lady—some twenty-two
years of age—who welcomed her with a
courteous smile, and, taking her by the
hand, led her into a room furnished in
wery costly style. As Cicely cast her
eyes around, wonder, for the time, held
her speechless. And well might she
wonder, to see an old cottage like that—
far back in the country—furnished in
such luxurious extravagance, compared
with her own more humble mode of life!
The walls were wainscotted in a beautiful
manner, and were adorned with numerous
engraved pictures, of the French school,
with one or two paintings. On one side
was a large mirror, opposite to which was
a mantel-piece, tastefully carved, supporting
two large glass lamps, with a bright,
blazing fire beneath. The floor was
covered by a beautiful carpet, on which
were several chairs, &c. All this Cicely
took in at a glance, but was at a loss to
comprehend its meaning. Did she dream?
she rubbed her eyes—but no, all was
real; while the voice of her young hostess,
who had noticed this effect on Cicely,
was well calculated to dispel her doubts,
as, in a gentle tone, she said:

“Will you approach the fire, Miss? for
you must be somewhat chilled—riding
so far in the rain—although the night is
warm. This fire was prepared for you,

Cicely started, turned her face full
upon the other, and gazed, for a moment,
without reply. She was tall, and graceful,
with black hair, and large, lustrous
black eyes, the expression of which—
combined with the rest of her features,
and round, swelling bust—was rather
voluptuous. The contour of her face
was Grecian, and very expressive, particularly
her mouth and eyes. In the
whole expression of her countenance,
there was something very winning; and
yet, a something—you could scarce tell
wherefore—that left a disagreeable impression
on your mind; a sort of instinet
told you all was not right—that something
yet was back you had not fathomed.
Cicely felt this, as she gazed upon her,
and taking the seat which the other
politely proffered, she thus made answer:

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“For me, say you, this fire was prepared?”

“Even so, Miss.”

“How knew you I was coming here?
where am I? what is the meaning of
this? and who are you? Oh! speak to
me, good lady—tell me all, and truly;
for my brain is in a feverish whirl of bewilderment.”

“You question like a school-girl,” replied
the other, with a laugh. “But
come, I have a change of dress for you.
You will take cold in that.”

Saying which, she turned—entered
another apartment—and soon returned,
bringing a large amount of female apparel,
among which was a beautiful silk
dress. “Here,” said she, holding up the
latter article—“see, is it not fine? Come,
my lady, let us shift the scene;” and
taking hold of Cicely, she commenced
disrobing her.

“Are you crazy?” asked Cicely, her
astonishment increasing at such strange

“ 'Tis you, only, who are a little
touched,” replied the other, quietly, still
pursuing her vocation.

“Nay, lady,” said Cicely, half alarmed,
with a show of resistance, “I object to

“Sorry—because it must be done.”

“Must, say you?”

“Must, I said.”

Cicely saw she was determined, and
acquiesced. In a few minutes she was
apparelled in a dry suit; and, sooth to
say, the beautiful silk dress became her
person well.

“Ah! now you look fine,” said the
other, with a smile, casting her head a
little one side, with a coquettish air, and
stepping back a pace or two, to admire

“Oh! I beseech you, if you have the
heart in you of a woman—I beseech
you inform me the meaning of this! for
I am nearly crazy!” cried Cicely wringing
her hands in an agony of painful

“You are a beautiful being,” replied
the other, with a laugh—at the same
time approaching and stirring the fire.

Cicely started—a wild thought rushed
through her brain—the being before her
must be mad! if not, why acted she thus

“Truly, I pity you, lady,” said Cicely,
sweetly, gazing earnestly upon the other.

As the electric spark suddenly shocks
the nerves, when brought in contact,
making the person start involuntarily—so
acted the words of Cicely upon the other.
She suddenly started—drew herself up
to her full hight—her features set, with
a look of angry scorn—her lips slightly
curled—her eyes flashing fire, as she

Pity me! you pity me! ha, ha! you
look well pitying me! It becomes you
well, most noble lady—indeed it does!
Charity should not begin at home, in this
instance! O no, certainly not!”

“Good Heavens! lady, I have unwittingly
offended you. Pardon me! pardon
me! I did not mean offense—indeed
I did not!” replied Cicely, earnestly,
gazing upon the other with a beseeching

The other looked at her steadily a
moment, but seeing nothing but what
was truthful in the look and manner of
Cicely, relaxed her features to a softened
expression, and, approaching, took hold
of her hand.

“I believe you,” returned she; “your
countenance has the cast of truth. But
hereafter, beware of your expressions; for
know, that nothing is more offensive to a
degraded woman, than pity. You may
scorn her—trample upon her—in fact,
do anything but pity; for that at once

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shows your worth, and her degradation—
rouses up her pride, kindled by unbridled
passion, and makes her your most bitter

“But what mean you, lady, by talking
thus of degradation? Surely you are not

The other smiled a sad smile, and then,
with a sigh, said:

“You are very simple—very innocent.
You have seen but little of the world.
How are you called!”

“Cicely Vandemore.”

“A pretty name,” said the other,
musing—“a very pretty name; mine is

“But what do you do here, lady?
Why live you here in this seeming costly
style? Why was I brought hither? Oh!
pray tell me.”

“Hark!” said Mary, listening—“he

At this moment the door opened, and
a gentleman of small stature—handsome
features—richly caparisoned in the military
dress of a United States' officer—
walked into the room—made a very
graceful bow to the ladies—and, approaching,
seated himself near the fire.

It was Aaron Burrand.

Significant glances, unperceived by
Cicely, passed between him and Mary,
who immediately left the room.

“A disagreeable evening, this, without,”
said Burrand, in a voice peculiar
for its musical tones, turning to Cicely,
who was seated some little distance from

Cicely turned her face toward him as
he spoke, and her eyes met his. She
would have quickly withdrawn her gaze;
but there was something so peculiar, so
fascinating, in the glance of his dark eye,
that it seemed to her the command of
her vision was powerless, while a secret
awe crept over her. Burrand, in an
instant, saw his power—a power which,
as yet, had never in one instance failed
him—and a smile of peculiar meaning
played around his mouth, as he continued:

“Lady, I am about to pay you a compliment;
take no offense, I pray you. I
have traveled much, and far—have
passed among all ranks of society—
have noticed mankind well, particularly
the gentler sex—but I must award to
you the distinction of being the loveliest
woman on which my eyes have ever

“Sir,” replied Cicely, with a blush, “I
know not the meaning of this untimely
compliment—so full of vain flattery.”

“Truth, lady, should never be called
vain flattery. Flattery is a word I de
spise, and never yet have stooped to use.
No, believe me, it was but truth I spoke.”

Cicely, embarrassed, made no reply.

“Burrand gazed upon her a moment,
and again resumed:

“You are young and handsome; and
have seen some sixteen summers, probably?”

“Seventeen, sir.”

“Ah! seventeen—that teeming age—
so full of the bright and romantic—so
full of thoughts of mind, almost matured—
interwoven with the poetical frivolities
of youth, ere yet stern Care has o'er us
walked and left his foot-prints on our features.
It is an age which I would love
to linger on in converse yet for hours, so
many by-gone associations in my mind
doth it call up; but it may not be;” and
he hove a sigh, and his features assumed
a saddened expression.

Cicely gazed on him earnestly; his
sadness interested her far more than his
compliments had done. For sorrow there
was a chord in her breast that would ever
vibrate; besides there was something
about him that excited a curiosity to know

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“If you will not consider me presumptuous,
may I be allowed to know your
name?” said Burrand, after a slight
pause, marking the effect of his previous
language. “I, somehow, feel an interest
in your welfare.”

“My name, sir, is Cicely Vandemore.”

Burrand suddenly gave a start; a
thought flashed across his brain, which,
at first had weight, but which, with a
“pshaw,” he immediately discarded.

“I like the name of Vandemore,” returned
he, with a gentle smile; “it
sounds familiar. In my younger days,
I knew one of that name, then living in
the East.”

“It was from the East my father
came, some seven years since,” returned

“From what part?”

“We lived, for a time, in the State of

“Then you remember, without doubt,
that beautiful land. I say beautiful, for
there Nature is so diversified, one can
forever gaze without ennui. I, like yourself,
am from the East; and I recall, with
feelings of pleasure, the sunny days I
have spent in old Connecticut. I love to
let memory linger upon her hills, and fertile
valleys, and, in fancy, walk again
upon the green-coated banks of some of
her many streams. I was younger then,
and more innocent than now. I had not
then read the dark page the world has
since to me unfolded—a page, fair lady,
I hope, sincerely hope, you will never
read. Then, lady, I knew what it was
to love, and to lose her I loved. Ah!
me, my life were a sad tale to unfold.
When I look upon you, gentle Cicely,
methinks I see the angel of my first adoration.
She was like you—in form and
features much the same. I hope your
fate may long be unlike hers; though we
cannot tell what destiny has for us in
store;” and he sighed, cast his eyes upward
with a devout look, and then fastened
them upon hers, with a languid,
fascinating expression.

Cicely for some time did not remove
her gaze: she fancied the stranger
(stranger to her) was unhappy; she felt
herself drawn to him by a something she
could not account for; she thought it was
pity—perhaps it was; but, at all events,
so much by his look, words, voice, and
manner, was her mind engrossed, that,
for the moment, she had forgotten where
she was, or that she had been torn from
her home.

“Have you ever loved, Cicely?”
asked Burrand, at length, in a calm-toned

Those magic words recalled her; her
mind reverted, instantly, to Langley—to
Molly—to her capture; the color flew
swiftly over her features, and, retreating,
left them pale; she glanced hurriedly
around the room, and her voice trembled,
as she inquired:

“Oh! sir, tell me where I am? why
am I here?”

Burrand saw in an instant that he had
missed his aim; and thinking frankness
would now go farther with her than dissembling,
thus replied:

“Lady, you are beneath the roof of
one who loves you. For you, in this
costly style, this cottage was prepared.”

“How, sir!” said she, rising to her
feet, her features glowing with excitement,
“would you mock me? Would
one that loved me tear me from my home
by ruffian hands, think you? No, sir;
love wears no garb to cover foul design
like this!”

“Ah! lady, you little know what love
will do. Believe me, when I say, I have
loved you long and ardently.”

“You, sir—you? Heavens! it is impossible:
I never saw you until new.”

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“Not so with me, lady; I have watched
you, hour by hour, when you little
thought that you were seen.”

“And it is to you, then, that I am indebted
for my capture?”

“ 'Tis true.”

“Then have you acted base and cowardly!
unworthy of a man who wears
such epaulets upon his shoulder!” said
Cicely, her eyes flashing, her features
reddening. “Go, tear them off, I pray
you; for you have disgraced the land
which gave you rank!”

“But be calm, Cicely, and listen to

“Reason with a madman? with a man
who has done a crime, heinous in the
sight of the law? do not talk of such absurdities!”

“Listen, lady!” said Burrand, throwing
on her one of his most winning
glances; “listen, Cicely, I pray you, for
one brief moment, if no more. Will you
not be seated?”

“Proceed, then,” said Cicely, as she
resumed her seat.

“Twenty-five years agone, I loved a
beautiful being like yourself. Every
thing that was captivating was thrown
around her, and I loved with a passion
fierce and burning as the fires of Etna.
I sought her hand, and was accepted, but
on conditions that I should win a name,
by daring deeds, that should stand high
among my countrymen—that after time
should write upon the scroll of history.
Ambition was my god; and I rushed on,
to serve my country, and win the idol of
my heart. These trappings tell you that
one end, at least, I gained—and, alas!
but one. I came to claim the treasure
of my secret thoughts, but she was
gone—was dead,” and Burrand passed
his hand across his eyes. “Lady, I have
stood amid the roar of battle—even
before the walls of Quebec—and there
supported one, in his dying moments,
whose name is now immortal; I have
seen death in all its various dreadful
shapes—I have seen my friends mown
down like grass—I have seen some of
my brightest visions fade—but never,
until the moment when they told me she
was dead, did I tremble. Well, that is
past; and I have lived, and sought to
cover an aching heart by schemes of
glory. Partly had I succeeded when I
saw you, and all the feelings of my heart
were again revived; all those old associations
again awakened. I would have
sought your hand at once, but another
stood in my way. I waited until I found
he was discarded; and then—and then—
pardon me, lady, I dared not address you,
for fear I should be rejected; and yet, I
dared to do what I have done. O, give me
but hope, fair Cicely, and I will crown
you with rosy garlands of immortality.

“Hope nothing from me, sir,” said
Cicely, gently, but firmly; “my heart is

“Oh! say not that—say not that!”
cried Burrand suddenly springing forward,
dropping upon one knee, clasping
one of her hands in his own, ere she was
aware of his intentions, and looking earnestly
into her eyes, with that powerful,
fascinating expression, so peculiar to
him—“say not that, dearest Cicely; let
me have one bright dream to cheer me
on, and coming time shall shadow forth
such conceptions of a spirit as shall astonish
the world! Lady, there is much
in store, locked in the treasury of the
future, that you dream not of. As yet,
you know me not; but you shall one day
hear my name pronounced first among
the first that win a nation's praise. For
you—for you will I toil harder—longer;
I will build for you a car, surrounded by
honor, wealth, beauty, and power; and
you shall glide adown the stream of time,

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[figure description] Page 071.[end figure description]

loved among the loved, honored among
the honored.”

As he spoke, Cicely gazed earnestly
into those dark eyes, that, with all the
power of the master mind of Burrand,
were throwing their soft gleams into her
own; listened to those words that told
with such musical tones—and felt herself
awed, yet charmed, as one feels in
gazing upon the fascinating serpent. Her
soul seemed impelled forward, while
reason stood stationary, mute.

“Come, sweet Cicely, consent to be
the idol of my future dreams!” continued
Burrand, who had marked the effect
he had wrought upon her; and, emboldened,
he gently passed his arm around
her waist, and partly drew her to him.

Cicely did not resist; it seemed to her
some mighty secret force impelled her
onward; she felt there was something
terrible in that gaze, and yet she did not
withdraw her eyes.

“Ah! you will be mine!” cried Burrand,
while his dark, hellish design suddenly
flashed across his features in a
peculiar smile.

But he had counted too much. That
smile broke the charm, and Cicely sprang
from him with the cry of—

“Never! Oh God! save me from
this dark man—this devil in human
form!” and she shuddered, as she
thought of her escape from the fatal

Burrand started to his feet; a terrible
expression came over his features; his
powers, for the first time in his life, had
faited by an imprudent step, and he
inwardly cursed himself for it. Turning
to Cicely, he said:

“You must be mine! you shall be
mine! I'll talk no more to-night. You
have one week to contemplate. One
week from to-night, remember! Mary!”

Mary entered the room.

“Let not Cicely leave this house on
any pretext—on any consideration whatever—
as you value your life. If she
escape, beware—beware!” and turning
upon his heel, he abruptly left the cottage,
mounted a horse in waiting, and rode
swiftly away; while Cicely, overcome by
powerful thoughts, sank fainting into the
arms of Mary.


It was toward evening of the day following
the night of events we have
already described, that a young man, of
noble mien, was taking his way across
a small clearing, in the direction of a
cluster of log dwellings; some half a
dozen in number, which then comprised
the little village, since known as Venice,
and which stood about a mile distant
from Butterman's dwelling. It was a
warm, beautiful day; and the sun, about
an hour above the horizon, was shining
out pleasantly, and throwing the shadow
of the young pedestrian far behind him.
A few minutes sufficed for him to reach
the little hamlet, where he found some
half-a-dozen persons lounging about near
a building, which seemed designed, or at
least used, for other purpose than a
dwelling, as the windows were closed
with heavy oaken shutters, and the door
was shut, and fastened with a padlock on
the outside. As the young man came up
to the group of idlers, some of whom
were about his own age, and one or two
from ten to twenty years his senior, he
bowed respectfully, and said:

“Good evening, gentlemen.”

“Good evening stranger,” replied the
senior of the party—a tall, hard-featured,

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muscular man—while the others merely
nodded, and stared at him, with that look
of vulgar curiosity with which a stranger
is almost always greeted in a settlement
where other than the regular inhabitants
are rarely seen.

Even the senior of the party stared at
the young man, as well as his companions,
and each appeared to take particular
note of his dress and personal appearance—
if not with an eye of suspicion,
at least with a look which expressed a
strongly-awakened curiosity to learn the
object of his visit to a place so remote
from the highways of civilization. And
there might be an excuse for their seeming
rudeness; for whereas all of the
village party were plainly habited in the
coarse garments then worn on the frontiers,
the new-comer was elegantly attired
in a rather expensive suit, which betokened
no little skill in the tailor that
had fitted it so admirably to his handsome,
symmetrical figure. But if his
appearance and manner awakened suspicion
or curiosity in the first instance, his
second question, which he put in a hesitating
and embarassed way, was little
calculated to lessen it.

“Do you know,” he began, addressing
the senior member of the party; and then
pausing, and seeming to think for a moment,
he continued: “I have heard, sir,
that this part of the country is more or
less infested with horse-thieves.”

“Wall, stranger, reckon your hear-says
aint fur out o' the way,” was the rejoinder,
accompanied with a keener scrutiny of his
person than ever.

“Do you, if I may ask the question,
know anything of this band of outlaws?”
pursued the young man, now in his turn
fixing his eye keenly upon the individual
he questioned, at the same time not failing
to note how his query was received
by the others.

“Why, the worst I know is, that thar's
sich a set o' scoundrels about; and from
the way they've been to work amongst us
of late, thar'll hev to be a stop put to
thar cussed doings afore long.”

This answer appeared to please the
young stranger; for his eyes brightened,
and even flashed, as he rejoined:

“I have heard, too, that there is a society
forming—or is already formed—
for their extinction.”

“You've heerd so, hev ye?” answered
the other, eyeing the stranger more suspiciously
than ever. “You've heerd, so
you say?”

“I have.”

“Wall, what of it?” was the blunt

“Why, I am anxious to know if the
report be true or false.”

“And 'sposen I can't answer ye?”

“Then I must address myself to some
one else.”

“And 'sposen I say it is true?”

“Then the knowledge will greatly
rejoice me.”

“Why so?”

“Perhaps it will not be prudent for me
to answer wherefore, until I know your
motive for asking.”

“Wall, as to that,” replied the other,
rather surlily, “I don't know's I've any
pertikeler object in axing, beyond a curiosity
to know what you mought be at,
You're a stranger to us, you know; and
for all we know, you may be axing for a
bad purpose.”

“If you are honest men,” returned the
stranger, coloring, and emphasising the
doubtful word, “then I may say my motive
in asking is to advance your interests
and mine at the same time.”

“Hev you got any doubts o' our honesty?”
inquired the other, with flashing

“Why, you are strangers to me, you

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[figure description] Page 073.[end figure description]

know; and I suppose I have as good a
right to doubt your honesty, as you have
to doubt mine.”

“Wall, sir, we is knowed round here;
and so may be you'd better go'n inquire.”

“So am I known where I came from,
and I freely accord to you the same
privilege,” returned the young man,

“And whar do you come from,


“Old Kaintuck, hey! Wall, I am curious
to know your business up this way.”

“Well,” replied the young, man firmly,
“I don't know as you will ever be gratified—
certainly you will not, until you
have answered my question, concerning
the organization of an anti-horse-thief

“Wall, then, to make a long story
short, I'll just say there is sich a society.”

“And in reply, I will say,” pursued
the stranger, “that my business up here
is to see this society together.”

“You want to see 'em together, hey?
Wall, I'm just as curious now to know
how you expect to gain your object, unless
you can find somebody as knows

“I think the matter is very simple. If
you can, and will, inform me where and
when it meets, I will go to the society
and ask to be admitted.”

“Wall, you don't seem to know as
how it's agin the rules of the society to
tell a stranger whar and when they meet,
and that even then you couldn't be
admitted, without you could show good
cause for it.”

“Perhaps I could show sufficient
cause, were I permitted to make the

“How you ever had a hoss stole from


“Then I don't think as how you could
show cause as 'ud be satisfactory.”

“I may judge, from what you seem to
know of the society, that you are yourself
a member.

“Wall, may be I am, and may be I
aint,” returned the other, giving a sly
wink at his companions—yet not so sly
but that the young man perceived it,
though he appeared to take no notice

“If I were sure of your being a member,”
he replied, “perhaps I could explain
to you my reasons for wishing to
see the society, so that even you, who
seem to be so suspicious of me, would no
longer have doubts of my honest intentions.”

“Wall, ef that's the case, then I may
as well tell you that I am a member.”

“Then I will speak with you aside.”

“Why, ef it's nothing only what concerns
the society, you can speak it right
out here, for we're all members.”

“Ah! thank you—I am glad to hear
it. Well, then, in the first place, you
must know, that last evening, a little later
than this, I saw a young lady, whom I
highly esteem, forcibly abducted from
Covington, Kentucky, by a party of villains,
who belong to the League of the
Miami, as they term themselves; and
which is no more nor less than a name
for a band of marauders, which you
know as horse-thieves; and having heard
before of their depredations, and that a
society had been formed for their extinction,
I came hither to find that society,
for the purpose of joining it, and attempting
to recover the girl, and take vengeance
on the outlaws generally, and, if
possible, the accursed kidnappers in particular.”

“Wall, then, I must say, I think as
how this does begin to alter the case;
and the aff'ar, on your part, begins to

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[figure description] Page 074.[end figure description]

show up in a rayther satisfactory light.
But I'd like to know, stranger—I don't
know your name, ye see—”

“Langley—Edward Langley.”

“I'd like to know, Mr. Langley, how
it happens that you knows these kidnapping
thieves, you tells about, is a part of
the same band o' scamps as troubles us
round here?”

“Well, sir, I will explain;” and Edward
proceeded to give full particulars
of all he had witnessed the night previous—
but which details, being already
known to the reader, we will not here

“Yes, yes, I understand it all now,”
said the other, as Langley concluded his
narration; “and to me your story all
looks purty straight:—hey! boys—what
do you think?”

“I'd bet on it's being true,” replied
one of the party.

“And so would I, so would I,” repeated
each of the others.

“Wall, then,” said the spokesman,
“so far as I'm concerned, individually,
I'm for admitting you into the society to-night.”

“Ha! then it meets to-night, eh?”
said Langley.

“Yes, it meets to-night, and in this
here building, and the folks'll be coming
in in about a hour or so. I say, I'm for
letting you come in to-night; but I can't
do it of myself; I'll hev to speak to some
o' the head ones fust.”

“O, I pray you gain me admittance!
for I am nearly distracted to stir up the
society to go in pursuit of, and to hunt
down these atrocious villains!” replied
Edward, energetically, while his eyes
flashed, and his bosom heaved, with
strong emotions of vengeance and love,
as he thought of the kidnappers and their

“I'll do the best I can,” rejoined the
other; “but I can't promise nothing sartain.
But afore they come, 'sposen you
jest step over younder to my house, and
take some supper with me, and we'll talk
it over by ourselves.”

“Thank you!” returned Langley,
warmly. “I will accept your kind offer
with gratitude, for I really feel unusually
fatigued;” and the two set off together,
leaving the others to discuss the events
they had just heard narrated.

A little after sunset persons began to
come in from different parts of the country—
the door of the building already
mentioned as being secured with a padlock,
was thrown open—and by the time
that night had fairly darkened the earth
with her mantle, not less than thirty,
resolute, determined-looking men, were
assembled for a desperate purpose, which
purpose will be made known in the progress
of our story.

This log building contained but one
room, with benches scattered through it
for the persons assembled to sit on. A
platform at one end, on which stood a
bench and a table, with a light on the
latter, served as the place of distinction
for the president and secretary—Mr. Butterman
filling the former office, and Mr.
Munger the latter. Already were the
president and secretary in their places;
but as the members of the society from a
distance kept dropping in, the former as
yet had made no move to declare the
meeting opened for the transaction of
business. At last, when about fifty were
assembled, and a lapse of five minutes
had brought no new-comer, Mr. Butterman
arose, and requested the door to be
closed, and bolted on the inside. As
soon as this was done, he declared the
meeting opened; and then proceeded, in
a brief and emphatic manner, to state
the events of the night previous; how he
had been aroused in the middle of the

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night by a stranger—his interview with
the latter—his strange communication—
his promise to meet him again on the present
evening; how he had acted on his
communication, and had seen a man attempting
to poison his spring; how he
had fired at and missed him; how he had
followed him through the country, and
had managed to keep him in sight, which
subsequent events had led him to think
was a ruse on the part of the stranger, to
draw him in among his own party, and
then make away with him; how the villain
had so far succeeded, that he had in
turn been obliged to fly for his life; how,
being near Wilden's house, and knowing
him to be a staunch friend, he had sought
to get there by crossing a clearing; and,
in short, stated concisely all that had occurred,
in which he was concerned, up to
the death of Jake Wilden and the escape
of Thrasher—all of which is known to
the reader.

“And now,” he said, in conclusion, “I
shall let Mr. Wilden, who I perceive is
present, relate his own painful story—
pravious to which, however, I will state,
that the stranger who gave me the timely
information regarding the attempt that
would be made to poison my spring,
again made his appearance this evening,
as agreed upon, and has accompanied me
hither, to gain admittance to our society;
but I have left him at a short distance, in
charge of a couple of trusty fellows, so
that I could ascertain the mind of the
society concerning his request first. He
states his name to be Roberts; that he is
a member of a gang of horse-thieves,
who style themselves the League of the
Miami; that until last night he was their
treasurer; but on account of some quarrel,
was turned out of office by the captain,
for which he swears to have revenge
by betraying the whole party into our
hands. A man that would do this, gen
tlemen, I am free to say, I consider a
dark villain, and not to be trusted; but
at the same time, I think it wise in us to
make use of him as a tool with which to
break up this cursed League. It has
come to such a pass, now, that no one is
safe, neither in property nor person. We
are all liable to be robbed and murdered
at any moment; and I, for one, am
determined to use every means in my
power, foul or fair, to hunt down and
annihilate this detestable band of robbers,
cutthroats, and counterfeiters. Our country,
here, is new, and we have no laws
strong enough to protect us, save such as
we make ourselves; and I am for following
these scoundrels into their very den,
and there shooting them down, as we
would so many panthers, wolves, or

“It is more than human nature can
bear,” pursued Butterman, warmed into
vehemence with a thought of his own
wrongs and those of his neighbors: “yes,
I repeat, more than human nature can
bear, to be treated in the manner we
have been by these human fiends. Where
is the man among us that has not been
molested? that has not been robbed of
his best property—his noble steed—that
he had procured, and fed, and nourished
that the gallant animal might, when called
upon, bear him wherever his desire should
lead him? Having stolen our horses, if
they chance to hear that we are angry,
and complain therefor, at once they assemble,
like so many hell-hounds, and
devise, as our reward, a plan to poison
our cattle, ourselves, and our families.
Who thinks that the barns of some of you,
that were burned last year, was not the
work of their hands? Who thinks that
Thomas Becket hung himself? or that
James Mason accidentally fell into the
Miami, and was drowned? No! no!
depend upon it, gentlemen, they were

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murdered—murdered, I repeat, and by the
order of this accursed League of the
Miami. Who will be the next victim?
Poor Jake Wilden was the last—who will
be the next? Perhaps we are all doomed.
I know that my life is threatened,
and I know no reason why yours should
not be. But I will pause, and let Wilden
tell his story, which some of you
perhaps have not heard, but which truly
concerns all of us more or less. I will
only ask, previous to taking my seat,
whether you will have Roberts admitted
or not?”

This being decided in the affirmative,
Butterman sat down, and Wilden arose
to make his statement of the events of the
night previous, so far as they had come
to his knowledge. He was a heavy-built,
bony, muscular man, much inferior to
either of his sons in size, with features
strongly marked by dark passions, that
had evidently had full sway all his life.

He began by stating, in a tone of such
natural pathos that all were touched, how
he had just been called upon to consign
his first-born to the dust; and then as he
reverted to the manner in which that son
had been brought to his death, his brow
darkened, his eyes emitted a terribly malignant
gleam, his lips compressed, and
the words fairly hissed between his closed
teeth; and he went on to invoke the Almighty
to curse his enemies, and swore,
by all he held sacred, he would yet be
revenged in their heart's blood.

“And I'd hev took revenge on Jake's
damnable murderer that night,” he said,
“ef the president and secretary of this
here society, and one other as was along,
had only lent me a helping hand; but
they wouldn't, and so the thief got away.”

“One word in explanation, gentlemen,”
said the chairman, rising. “I can pardon
the insinuation just thrown out by Mr.
Wilden, from the fact that he has been
called upon to mourn the loss of a son, in
a way calculated to stir up the worst passions,
and make him feel bitter toward
every one. With regard to assisting him
in his design of executing the guilty man,
I objected, on the ground that the man
should have a brief trial first, and so give
it the appearance of legal proceedings.
He refused this, and I then rufused to aid
him, thinking he would be able to accomplish
his purpose without my assistance.
I have regretted since, that I did not aid
him in taking summary justice on the vile
thief and murderer; but I acted according
to my feelings at the time. I have
since discarded all mercy from my heart;
and you may depend upon it, gentlemen,
that the next cutthroat that is captured,
I shall be among the first to cry for his
blood, unless he is willing to save himself
by denouncing and betraying his party.
Will some one see that this man Roberts
is brought within here! as, by what we
can glean from him, we must determine
our next movements.”

“Before this Roberts is fetched here,
I'd like to make a request, Mr. President,”
said the individual in whose charge we
left Edward Langley.

“Proceed, Mr. Green!” replied the

“Thar's a young man stopping at my
house, who com'd into the place, here,
afore night, expressly to jine our society.
He says he knows a gal as has been kidnapped,
and he's for gitting revenge.
He told his story all over to me, and it
sounded so nateral, that I promised him
I'd try and git him admission. Now I
wants to know if he can be admitted?”

“Does he think the girl was kidnapped
by any one belonging to this League of
the Miami?” inquired the president.

“He says he knows she was; and I'm
inclined to b'lieve he tells the truth
about it.”

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[figure description] Page 077.[end figure description]

“Well, we need all the force we can
raise,” rejoined the president; “and so,
gentlemen, I will take your minds on the
matter of admitting this stranger along
with Roberts.”

The result was a decision in the affirmative;
and while a messenger was despatched
for Roberts, Green went to notify
his guest that he could have a hearing.
In a few minutes all parties reappeared,
and the door was again bolted.


Considerable sensation was created in
the house, by the appearance of the
strangers. The fine, noble, commanding
look of Edward Langley, contrasted forcibly
with the somewhat cringing, sinister,
revengeful expression on the dark countenance
of John Roberts, the traitor.
Both were conducted forward to the
stand occupied by the president, who,
addressing himself to Langley, said.

“We will record your name, if you

“Edward Langley.”


“Belle Farm, Kentucky.”

“We have been informed, Mr. Langley,”
pursued the president, “that you
wish to join our society.”

“If the object of this society is the extermination
of a band of outlaws, known
among themselves as the League of the
Miami—then, sir, you have been rightly
informed,” was the calm, dignified reply.

“And what cause, pray state to the
company, has led you, a stranger, to come
thus far, to join a society for the purpose
you avow?”

“My tale is soon told;” and Langley
proceeded to repeat the story he had told
to the man Green.

“And you say,” pursued the president,
“that this fellow, when taken, declared
that the girl had been seized by the
League of the Miami?”

“Yes, so he stated; and also that they
wanted to secure him; and he was on the
point of proceeding to give more information,
when the other, who had him in
charge, knocked him down, and, catching
him up in his arms, sped to the boat, and
shoved into the stream, before I had time
to overtake him, and thus he escaped me.
Rumors had before reached me, that in
the Great Miami Valley, there was such
a band of outlaws in existence; and only
a few days previous, a person from these
parts had confirmed these rumors, and
stated that already their deeds of infamy
had become so troublesome to the honest
settlers, that they had organized a society
for their extermination; and this society,
I then resolved, if it were possible, to
join. In my excited state of mind, I
kneeled upon the earth, and swore I
would not take peaceful rest, till I had
rescued the girl, and revenged myself,
for the foul daring of seizing her, on some
of those who had sanctioned her capture;
and now I am desirous to make that
oath good, and for this purpose am I

“Well, if we may believe your story—
and I see no reason for doubting it—I
think your wrongs entitle you to become
one of us,” rejoined the president. “Gentlemen,
shall we, or shall we not, admit
Edward Langley to membership?—let
us have your minds on the subject.”

This being decided in the affirmative,
without a dissenting voice, the chairman

“Edward Langley, do you believe in a

“I do.”

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[figure description] Page 078.[end figure description]

“In a heaven for the good?”

“I do.”

“In a hell for the wicked?”

“I do.”

“Then hold up your right hand, in
acknowledgment that you swear, by that
God, as you hope for heaven, and dread
hell, that you will be true to us, in our
grave undertaking of ridding the country
of this accursed band of robbers, plunderers,
counterfeiters, incendiaries, kidnappers,
and murderers, self-styled the
League of the Miami.”

This being complied with, Langley was
forthwith declared to be a member. The
laws and regulations of the society were
then read to him by the secretary, and he
was called upon to sign the constitution—
which he did, in a bold, free, graceful

“You see,” said the president, in conclusion,
“by the reading of the constitution,
that your election to membership has
been somewhat illegal, inasmuch as the
said constitution expressly prohibits the
joining of any one who may not be known
to have lost a horse, or otherwise been
molested, prior to the organization of this
society; but as the spirit of it has reference
to persons living in this vicinity, and
was adopted in order to prevent any of
the League themselves gaining admittance,
it has been thought proper, by the
unanimous vote of those here assembled,
to waive the objectional point in your
particular case.”

“For which, Mr. President, and gentlemen,”
responded Langley, “I tender
you my heart-felt acknowledgements.”

He then took a seat near him, and the
chairman signified to Roberts that the
society was ready to hear what he had
to say.

“Mr. President,” responded the individual
addressed, “if I may be permitted,
I should like to ask the gentleman who
has just been admitted a member of the
society, one or two questions.”

“Do you object to this, Mr. Langley?”
inquired the chairman.

“I do not,” was the reply.

“Proceed, then,” rejoined the president
to Roberts.

“Will you please state what kind of a
looking person was the one you saw forcibly
taken away, and who declared that
the girl you mentioned was captured by
the League?”

“He was small in stature, and, as near
as I could judge, had ugly, villainous-looking
features,” replied Langley.

“And the one who knocked him
down—what sort of a person was he?”

“A low, stout, square-built man, with
rather broad, full features.”

“Then I am right in my conjectures:
the two persons were Jarvis and Melven.
Mr. President, and gentlemen, I can so
far confirm Mr. Langley's statement, as
to say, that I was in the Cave of the
League when Jarvis brought this man
Melven in a prisoner, where he is now
confined to await his trial and execution.”

This announcement caused some little
sensation throughout the house; and the
president, addressing himself to Roberts

“What sort of a character does this
Melven bear among you?”

“He is generally considered a contemptible
wretch, sir; and it has long
been believed, by most of the League,
that the first favorable opportunity he
would turn traitor.”

“Would it be worth our while, think
you, to attempt his rescue?”

“I do not think it would, as he is of no
use to any one, and had better, for society,
be dead than alive. He is a villain by

“But perhaps he could tell us what

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[figure description] Page 079.[end figure description]

has been done with the girl?” suggested
Langley, brightening up at the thought.

“No, I do not think he could; for, depend
upon it, whoever employed him,
would not trust him any farther with his
secret than was absolutely necessary.
And I must say—though my remark
prove in favor of the men I hate—that
I do not think this abduction was ever
sanctioned by the League, or I should
have heard of it. It is possible that
the villains who seized the girl may
belong to the League; but if so, I am
inclined to think they acted for themselves,
or for some person who has
promised a rich reward.”

“But for what object could the girl
have been taken?” said the president,

“The basest, undoubtedly,” rejoined
Edward; and his words trembled with
deep emotion. “But are you sure,” he
asked, addressing Roberts, whose
before the society had privately been
explained to him—“are you sure this
Melven knows nothing concerning the
girl? where she has been taken, for what
purpose, and so forth?”

“No, Mr. Langley, I am not positive,”
replied the other. “I only give it as my
opinion, knowing the man as well as I do.”

“Oh, I would that I could see him
myself!” rejoined Langley, not a little

“That will be difficult to do,” said
Roberts, “and can only be done by the
overthrow of the outlaws, as he is concealed
in their stronghold. But if it be
the wish of this society, I will guide you
all thither, on the night of Melven's trial,
and you will thereby have an opportunity
to rescue the culprit, and take revenge,
at the same time, on the assembled

“I move that this proposition be
adopted,” said Langley.

“I second it,” said Green.

It was now put to vote, and carried

“When will this trial take place?”
inquired the president.

“Soon,” replied Roberts; “I must
ascertain the precise time, and let you
know. Suffice, that it will not be to-night,
nor to-morrow night, as the captain
and his men have got as rauch business
on their hands as they can attend to; and
this brings me to the matter I wish to
communicate. The horses stolen last
night from Wilden's barn, have been
taken down to a place called Harlem's
Cover, about ten or fifteen miles below
here, where they will remain a couple of
days, for the purpose of coloring, and
otherwise altering, and also to prevent
you, whom the League suppose will be
out in search of them, from finding any
trace thereof.”

“And what do you mean by coloring?”
inquired the president.

“Why, the League has a way of so
coloring the hair of a horse, that you
would not know your own animal, should
you chance to see him. Out of a white
one, they will make a bay; and a dark
bay, sorrel, or brown, they will color a
beautiful, shiny black. If the horse has
shoes on him, by which you would know
his track, they will take them off, and put
on others in their place. This is generally
done at a place called Meizmer's
Cove. It is seldom they take a body of
horses together, as they did last night—
the more usual plan being, for one of the
party to watch his opportunity, and steal
from his nearest neighbor, ride the horse
away to the next neighbor that belongs
to the band, and then return home and
go to-bed, so that he may be found there
the next morning, and no suspicion fall
upon him. The next one does the same;
and so the horse is passed along the line,

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[figure description] Page 080.[end figure description]

as one may say, until he reaches the
place of concealment, where he is kept
several days, or until all search for him
is over, and then he is taken across the
ford of the Ohio, in the night, perhaps in
company with a dozen others, rode down
through Kentucky into Tennessee, and so
up into Virginia, where all are finally
disposed of.”

“The atrocious scoundrels!” said the
president, bitterly, biting his nether lip in
vexation; “we will soon put a stop to
their infamous movements! But go on
with your story, Mr. Roberts—state what
you know of their intentions, and advise
us how to act.”

“Well, to-night, if the scheme of the
League succeeds, there will be several
horses stolen from the vicinity of Hamilton.
These horses will be ridden down
to Harlem's Cover, and placed with those
stolen last night; and to-morrow night
the League will meet, by appointment, in
a place called the Oaken Grove, where
several persons, who are in the habit
of buying their spurious money—but
who do not belong to the League—will
meet them, to transact their unlawful

“How many of the League will be
present?” inquired the President of the
Anti-League Society.

“I do not know. It will be optional
with the members to come or not. Doubtless
there will be some fifteen or twenty
of the party there.”

“Why do they not meet at the cave—
or, as you have termed it, in speaking of
it to me—Hamilton's Den?”

“Because that is their stronghold, and
private resort; it is where the bogus
money is coined, and the blank bank
notes are filled up; and it would not do
to have that known to strangers, lest some
of them might betray the secret, and so
endanger the safety of the band.”

“Is this cave, then, so private?”

“It is, I believe, known only to the
members of the League; and so well is
it secreted by natural means, that were
you to pass over the very spot, unless
searching particularly for it, you would
not discover it. It is formed in a side
hill, and all around it are trees and undergrowth—
and even the very mouth of it
is concealed by a cluster of bushes.”

“You say you can lead us to it?”

“Not only that I can, but that I will,
if I am spared and prospered.”


“On the night of Melven's trial.”

“And how are you to ascertain when
that night will be?”

“By going back to the band, and
mingling with them.”

“But if we allow you to go back, what
proof have we that you will not betray

The features of Roberts instantly
flushed, and for a moment or two he
looked at the president indignantly, and
his dark eyes flashed.

“Have I not done enough,” he said,
angrily, “by placing my own life in
jeopardy, two nights in succession, to
convince you that I will prove true to

“Pardon me, Mr. Roberts!—but how
are we to know that all you have done is
not a mere scheme of your own party,
for finding out our secret, and having us
at an advantage?”

“Can you not judge by my actions,
and the verifying of my words last

“But that proves nothing. In the first
place, you state that a man is coming to
poison my spring, and I, of course, go
out to shoot him. Well, I miss my aim,
he runs, and I naturally follow. Well, in
running a few miles, he draws me into an
ambuscade, I am fired on, and in turn I

-- 081 --

[figure description] Page 081.[end figure description]

flee for my life, and, but for accidentally
running among my friends, I might have
lost it. Some things in this affair are a
little curious, and I have been puzzled to
understand them. In the first place, this
man, being a giant in strength, could
have handled me as easily as I could
handle a child. Well, then, why did he
run? In the second place, I saw it
clearly demonstrated myself, when Jake
Wilden took after him, that he could run
faster than I. This being the case, why
did he not run out of my sight, unless it
were a previous design to draw me into
that ambushment? Answer these questions,
Mr. Roberts.”

“Surely, I cannot say how it happened
that he did so,” replied the other; “but
this I can truly say, and I cail God to witness
the assertion, that I was, and am still,
innocent of there being any design beyond
that of poisoning your spring—otherwise
I should have mentioned it. But let
me ask you a question or two! In the first
place, allowing the whole to have been a
plan to entrap you, and that I was sent to
you to inform you exactly what I did, do
you not think it all very bunglingly managed
for men who are in the habit of
doing business with a more than usual
amount of cunning and sagacity? Look
at it, and see for yourself! Here comes
a man, rouses you up in the middle of
the night, and tells you your spring is
going to be poisoned. Well, does he
know that you will get up on his mere
say-so, and go out with your rifle to
watch for the villain? Granted he
thought you would, does it follow that
this same poisoner has no desire to live?—
that he will go deliberately to the spot
where he knows you are concealed, and
allow you to take a shot at him—merely
for the purpose, in case you miss your
aim, that he, by running, may draw you
into a trap?—when, too, as you yourself
have acknowledged, he could, then and
there, have handled you as you could
handle a child? And then again, supposing
all this so, what reason could he
have had before coming there, to suppose
that, even if you did follow him, that you
would continue the chase for miles, in the
night, alone? And, finally, let me ask
you, seriously, trusting you will answer
me candidly, if there was anything in the
man's manner, as he approached the
spring, that led you to believe he knew
of, or even mistrusted, your presence?”

“Frankly, I confess there was not,”
replied Butterman; “and since you have
stated the matter so fully and clearly, I
must confess I see it in a different light;
though I shall still have to say, I think
there was something very curious in the
man's actions. So far as that is concerned,
however, I am willing to exonerate
you; but still all this does not make
us safe, in allowing you liberty to pass
from one party to the other.”

“Since I am suspected and despised,
by men who claim to be honest—and
merely, too, from a desire to turn honest
myself—I regret I did not remain with
those with whom I am leagued, or leave
the country without giving information to
any one,” replied Roberts, bitterly.

“Well, you certainly cannot blame us
for desiring security against betrayal, since
your very presence here is either to deceive
us or to betray others into our hands.”

“What security do you want? Here,
take my money!” and Roberts, indignantly
flung a well-filled purse upon the
platform, at the feet of the president.
“It is all I have,” he continued, “and
if you think that is security, take it!”

“It is not sufficient security for us to
trust our lives in your hands.”

“Then, by heavens! you may hunt
out the horse-thieves yourselves!” cried
the other, in rage.

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[figure description] Page 082.[end figure description]

“Stop! not so fast—for your bragadocia
will be of no avail here!” replied
the president, sternly. “Either you are
what you profess to be, or you are not.
If you are, you will not scruple to give
us the security we want. If not, we shall
take measures to make you feel that we
are in earnest in our desire for vengeance
against those who have wronged us.”

“What means this implied treachery?”
demanded Roberts, turning deathly pale.
“I came here in good faith, and I now
ask to be set at liberty, and allowed to go
my own way—since, as I plainly see,
my word will not be taken!”

“You came here, sir,” rejoined Butterman,
sternly, “with the avowed purpose
of betraying your comrades into our
hands. This opportunity you sought.
We did not go to you, but you came to
us, and forced yourself on us, as it were;
and all we now ask, since our secret is in
your possession, is that you will give us
security that you will do faithfully what
you have promised—otherwise, let me
tell you, once for all, to cut the matter
short, you will be detained a prisoner,
will be tried before this body, and, if
found guilty, will be taken out and hung
at such place as may be designated by
your judges.”

“My God!” cried the man, in alarm—
“already I feel I begin to reap the reward
of my treachery.”

“Traitors may be used for a certain
purpose,” replied Butterman; “but they
will ever be despised by all honest, or
dishonest men—for they are truly the
lowest grade of villains that exist.”

“What then shall I do?” pursued
Roberts, cold perspiration starting out
and standing in large drops on his features.
“I have given you my purse—
the only security I have to give—what
more can I do?”

“I will tell you. You have informed
me, privately, you have a wife and child—
we will take them as hostages of your
good faith to us. If you prove true, they
shall be set at liberty, your money be
restored to you, and, in addition, we will
make you up a purse of one hundred
dollars. If you prove false, your wife
and child shall suffer for your conduct.”

“I accept the terms,” replied Roberts;
“and the more willingly, because I have
been fearful, in case the League should
discover my meditated treachery, they
might, if I escaped them, vent their rage
on my innocent family; and with you,
gentlemen, (bowing to the company) I
know they will be safe.”

“This matter settled, then, we will
dispatch a messenger, forthwith, to fetch
them here. Mr. Munger, draw up a
paper from Roberts to his wife, commanding
her presence, and let him sign

As soon as this was done, and the
messenger was dispatched on his errand,
arrangements were discussed for falling
upon the bandits, on the following night,
at Oaken Grove, and endeavoring to kill
and capture as many as possible. It
was at last settled that Edward Langley
should be the leader of a daring party
for that purpose, and that Roberts should
be the one to direct their steps thither.
Meantime, as soon as his wife and child
should appear as hostages, he was to be
allowed to return to his companions in
crime, and so lull all suspicion.

After some farther business arrangements,
not sufficiently important to be
mentioned here, the meeting broke up;
but still Roberts was detained a prisoner,
until the arrival of his wife and child,
which occurred during the night, and
then he was set at liberty.

-- 083 --


[figure description] Page 083.[end figure description]

On the night following the meeting of
the Anti-League Society, as recorded in
the last two chapters, some twenty or
more of the outlaws were assembled at
Oaken Grove. This was a level spot of
ground, some ten rods by twenty, on the
summit of a short, steep hill, at a distance
perhaps of ten miles north of the
Ohio river, and near the line which
divides the State of the same name from
that of Indiana. On this level tract grew
many large, noble oaks, at regular intervals
from each other, and hence the place
had come to receive the appellation of
Oaken Grove. On three sides the mount
was so steep as to be difficult of ascent;
the fourth side sloped off gradually to its
base; but the ridge of easy ascent, was,
in some places, not more than a rod wide;
and, on either side of this, the hill again
descended as steep as on the before-mentioned
three sides.

On the flat, as we have said, the outlaws
had assembled, to the number of
twenty or more; and by the dim light of
the stars, through the occasional openings
in the grove, a faint outline of their dusky
forms could be seen, as they stood grouped
together, or were carelessly lounging
about, apparently awaiting the arrival of
some expected person or persons. On
the outskirts of this level tract, where the
descent of the hill began, some three or
four of the party were stationed, at equal
distances, to act the part of sentinels, and
see that no one entered the grove without
giving the password; for the excitement
caused by their late daring acts among
the honest settlers, rendered this precaution
necessary to avoid a troublesome

It was about nine o'clock in the evening,
and most of the party present had
been on the ground over an hour, and
some of them were already beginning to
get impatient. The delay of another half
hour, without bringing the looked-for
personage, caused the impatient ones to
grumble aloud.

“Why don't he come?” said one.

“He's getting to neglect us of late, it
seems to me,” returned another.

“May be it will be best to make a new
choice soon,” rejoined a third.

“That we can't do till his time is out,”
put in a fourth; “and that won't be this

At this moment the voice of one of the
sentinels was heard saying:

“Who goes there?”

“Bonny Gray,” was the reply.

“Ha! he comes at last!” said one of
the party of grumblers—“and it is high
time he were here.”

A tall, dark figure was now seen advancing,
with a quick step, and presently
he stepped in the center of the grove,
and all the outlaws, not on duty, began to
gather round him.

“Jarvis!” he called, in a tone of

“Here, Captain,” was the quick response;
and the individual who answered,
drew closer to the other.

“How many are here assembled?”
inquired Gerolstein.

“Twenty-one, besides the four sentinels.”

“Have we had any purchasers?”

“Not as yet, Captain.”

“Henry Morford!”

“Here, Captain.”

“What amount of spurious coin have
you on hand?”

“Ten thousand dollars, full value—
five thousand, sale price.”

“Is it better, then, than usual?”

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[figure description] Page 084.[end figure description]

“The best, I believe, we have ever

“But these are no buyers, it seems!”

“We have had none yet, Captain.”

“Strange! we surely have not mistaken
the night—eh! Morford?”

“This, sir, according to my reckoning,
is the twenty-third—and that is the regular
day, I believe for this business.”

“Has this monthly meeting ever proved
a failure before?”

“Yes, Captain, once, last year, you

“Ah! yes—I remember. It seems
to me I am growing forgetful. Well, we
will wait another half-hour, and if no one
comes, we will go down to Harlem's
Cover, and look to our horses. By-the-by,
that last night's job was not a bad
one, all things considered. Six as goodblooded
nags as one need wish to ride;
and that reminds me we have done our
share in this part of the country for the
present. The haul last night, and the
night before, has pretty well thinned all
the animals worth taking, besides rousing
up the settlers to some decisive action. I
would we had not taken so many at once—
but it cannot be helped now. We must
try and get them across the ford as soon
as we can; and then those who have not
families, had better go to another part of
the country, till the storm this will raise
shall have time to blow over. I truly
hope no trouble will come of it!” pursued
the captain, uneasily; “but, somehow,
I have my fears. I am sorry that
Thrasher was obliged to kill young Wilden,
for such deeds are apt to bring
trouble, especially when the whole transaction
is so exposed as was that. But no
blame can be attached to Thrasher, who
acted in self defense: his escape was a
very narrow one at that. But what seems
somewhat singular to me, is the fact that
Butterman should be watching his spring
at that time of night, as though he really
knew some one was coming to poison it.”

“Pardon me, Captain—but somehow
I am inclined to think he did know,”
rejoined Morford.

“Gods! that implies treachery, Harry!”
cried Gerolstein, with a vehement

“And if it does—”

“If it does, Harry!” repeated the
other, interrupting him. “If it does!
then we should know the traitor, and sit
in judgment on him before we do anything
else. It could not have been Melven,
for he is still in close confinement.
Speak, Harry Morford, and declare whom
you suspect!”

“Nay, Captain, I would rather not,
till I have further proof—lest I wrong an
innocent man, and it be set down by my
enemies, or the friends of the accused
party, to sheer malice.”

“But, sir, this is matter that puts all
our lives in jeopardy, and must be known.
Name him you suspect, no matter what
be the consequences! and so let us endeavor
to ascertain whether or no your
suspicions are correct.”

All now crowded around Morford, and
many were clamorous for the name of the

“Thus called upon, gentlemen,”
rejoined the treasurer, “I feel myself
bound to speak; but mind! I accuse no
man, and only mention the name of him
I suspect. I have doubts of the honesty
and true faith of John Roberts.”

“Ha!” exclaimed the captain, with a
convulsive start, as though a new thought
had suddenly struck him; while the hands
of the others instinctively clutched the
knives they carried in their belts, and
many a low, deep muttered curse was
heard. “Where is Roberts?” demanded
Gerolstein. “I have not seen him to-night.”

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[figure description] Page 085.[end figure description]

“And did you see him last night?”
inquired the treasurer.

“By heavens, no!—this, then, looks
suspicious. But then he was present the
night before, and therefore I do not see
how he could have conveyed any information
to Butterman; for it was not
decided, till late in the evening, that his
spring should be poisoned, and that very
night Thrasher was there. Can it be
possible, that any one knows of our secret
retreat, who was near enough to listen
and overhear our plans?”

“No,” answered one of the party; “I
will take my oath that no stranger was
near; for, until the breaking up of the
meeting, I stood sentinel near the entrance
to the cave.”

“Pardon me, Captain!” said Morford;
“but do you not overlook the fact, that,
after leaving the cave, we all separated,
to rendezvous in the vicinity of Wilden's
barn?—and if a man rode, might he not
have had time to get his horse, go past
Butterman's, give him the information,
and be in time at the appointed place of

“True enough, this could be done;
but are you sure Roberts rode that night?”

“I can bring proof that he did; for
one of our party, not now present, informed
me, that in making his escape, he took
a different direction from the others; and
that some half a mile from the barn, in
the edge of a heavy wood, he stumbled
upon a horse, tied to a sapling. Surprised
at this, he secreted himself near, and
waited to ascertain who was the comer.
He had not been there many minutes,
when a man approached, and began to
untie him; and on accosting him, he
found it to be Roberts. The latter seemed
greatly surprised, and flurried, at finding
who was there, and stammered out an
apology, by saying that, being very tired,
he had been home, got his horse, and
ridden-thither; but said if the captain
knew it, he might think strange of it, and
therefore begged he would not mention it
to any one. This my friend promised;
but afterward, in conversation, happening
to mention my suspicion to him, he related
these particulars.”

“Well, well, this must be seen to immediately!”
replied the captain. “Jarvis,
you have proved yourself good at arresting
traitors—see that Roberts has a place
along with Melven, so that the trial of
both may take place at the same time.”

“I will do my best, Captain, to execute
your orders—though I must protest,
so far as my belief is concerned, that I do
not think Roberts guilty—and that the
evidence against him, so far, is trifling.”

“Mind, I do not bring it forward as
conclusive,” returned Morford; “but the
captain and others insisted on knowing
of whom I am suspicious, and so I mentioned
the name of Roberts, and some of
the reasons why I thought he might be

“Well, well,” rejoined Gerolstein, “so
far you have done right; but his guilt
must be proved before we can harm him.
But hark! some one comes—I hear the
sentinel's challenge. Perhaps it is a
stranger. Put on your masks, gentlemen.”

In an instant, as it were, every figure
placed a mask over his face, so as to
avoid the possibility of detection—lest in
dealing with strangers, some one might
afterward take a notion to betray them.
Scarcely was the masking completed,
when the new-comer was dimly seen
moving along through the grove, and a
minute later the suspected Roberts stood
in the center of an excited group.

“It is well you have come, Mr.
Roberts,” said the captain, sternly; “for
we were just speaking of you in no very
flattering terms.”

-- 086 --

[figure description] Page 086.[end figure description]

“Of me, Captain?” exclaimed Roberts,
in a rather excited, and, as some
fancied, agitated tone. “And pray, what
were you saying of me?”

“Why, it is fully believed by some of
us that there is a traitor in our party, and
your name has already been mentioned
as one suspected”

“And who dares accuse me, sir?” said
the other, in a well-feigned tone of innocent
indignation; for well the traitor
knew he stood on slippery ground, and
that nothing short of the boldest assurance
could save him from falling to rise
no more.

Already he trembled at the thought;
But he labored to conceal the secret terror
he felt; and so well succeeded, that even
his enemies could perceive nothing in his
actions but what was natural of one placed
under such disagreeable circumstances.
Of how much was really known to his
confederates in crime, Roberts was ignorant;
and he would freely have given ten
years of his life to have been assured of
his safety; for well he knew, if the charge
were proved against him, nothing short
of a miraculous interposition of that Providence
in which he had but little faith,
could save him from a speedy and bloody
death; but, as we have before said, he
was determined to put on the boldest face
he could; and if the whole matter were
merely a suspicion, he fancied he could
yet escape. The reply of the captain
greatly reassured him.

“No one really accuses you,” returned
Gerolstein, “because, as yet, we have
no positive proof of your guilt, and it
is to be hoped you can prove yourself

“I trust I can,” replied Roberts; “at
least I can declare myself so, and it is
for you to prove me otherwise. Really,
gentlemen,” he said—in a tone and with
a manner well calculated to reassure his
friends and make his enemies somewhat
doubtful of his guilt—“I feel hurt, and
grieved, that you should find cause to
suspect one who has been as true to you,
as I have, for the last five years of my
life—thus dating from the time when I
first became one of you, and bound myself,
by the strongest of oaths, to true

“Can I be permitted a question, Captain?”
asked Morford.

“Certainly—go on!” replied Gerolstein.

“How was it, then, that you should
make use of the language you did, on the
last night of our meeting at the cave?”
inquired Morford, turning to Roberts.

“Ha!” said Roberts—“if I am not
mistaken, it is Henry Morford who now
addresses me; and if so, I can readily
perceive who is my would-be accuser.
Not satisfied with getting me disgraced,
and deprived of the honorable office I
held for two years, you must now seek to
degrade me still further in the eyes of my
worthy comrades—and, if possible, send
me out of the world as a traitor. I shall
not forget, nor overlook this, Henry

“As to that, sir,” replied the other,
“you can do as you please; but just
now I wish you to answer my question,
as to why you made use of the language
you did on the night in question; and
when you have done that, I will, with the
captain's permission, interrogate you still

“So, then, you are to constitute yourself
my inquisitor, eh?”

“Remember, Mr. Roberts, you are
evading my question; and one that I
have a right to ask—for I first obtained
permission of our commander.”

“Out of respect to Captain Gerolstein,
then, and the other gentlemen here
present, I will answer the question

-- 087 --

[figure description] Page 087.[end figure description]

propounded,” replied Roberts; “though,
I protest, I am not answering you individually,
with whom I scorn to hold any
further conversation. The night alluded
to, I was greatly excited, and, in the heat
of passion, I might have made use of
language, the real meaning of which I
did not fully take into consideration, and
have now forgotten: this is my answer.
If I am to be questioned further, I beg,
Captain, that you will be my interrogator;
for it is your office by right, and
I would rather answer a superior than an

“By heavens! wretch, do you allude
to me as your inferior?” cried Morford,
completely thrown off his guard by passion.

“Hold!” exclaimed Gerolstein, sternly.
“You seem to forget, Henry Morford,
that I am present. Henceforth, I will
question Roberts myself.” And then
turning to the latter. “I wish,” he said,
“to know where you went, after leaving
the cave, on the night of our last meeting

“I will answer you truly, Captain.
When we separated at the cave, it was
decided that each should go what way he
pleased, so that all were at the rendezvous
at the time appointed. Well, at
first, I thought of going afoot—as I
believe most of the party did do—but
feeling a good deal fatigued, I altered my
mind, and went home for my horse. My
wife, hearing me in the act of taking him
out, came out to me, and said our little
child was sick. I could do no less than
go into the house, where I was detained
above an hour. I then mounted my
horse, and rode to within half a mile of
the rendezvous, where I tied him to a
sapling, and then set off afoot. This
accounts for my being somewhat late;
though, you will bear in mind, I was in
time to have taken part in the business
of the night, had my services been

“Well, so far your story seems straight-forward,
and tallies with what we already
know,” replied the captain. “But what
seems strange to us, and first excited our
suspicion of treachery in some one, is the
fact that Butterman should be watching
his spring, with a loaded rifle, at the very
time Thrasher went to poison it.”

“It is strange,” replied Roberts, “and
I have thought of it much—and, I must
confess, not without uneasiness. I have
thought that perhaps a message had been
conveyed to him, of what that night took
place in the cave; and again I have
thought that it might, perhaps, all be the
result of accident. You know that Butterman,
from what we hear, has, for
some time, held the belief that we had,
and still have, a design upon his life.
Well, it is possible (mind I only suggest
this as an idea that occurred to me, as a
way of accounting for his accidentally
being there,) that, having occasion to get
some water for his family, he went out,
taking his rifle with him as a natural
precaution; and that on arriving at the
spring, which is concealed in some bushes,
he saw a man approaching, and waited
quietly to ascertain his intention; and
that, furthermore, on seeing him approach,
he drew back himself; and that,
finally, when the other threw the poison
in, mistrusting his design, he fired, and,
owing to the darkness, missed his mark.
Such has been one way I have had of
accounting for the singular circumstance;
but since I have been accused myself, another
idea has struck me.”

“What is it?” demanded the captain.

“Why, I have thought that it sometimes
happens that the real thief is the
first to cry thief.”

“And what do you mean by such insinuations
as that?” cried Morford.

-- 088 --

[figure description] Page 088.[end figure description]

“Did I insinuate?” queried Roberts,

“Yes, you did.”

“Does the coat fit?”

“By heavens, I—”

“Silence!” thundered the captain.
“Henry Morford, if you dare to interfere
in this matter again, till I am done, I will
have you arrested for mutiny! John
Roberts, be careful of your language,
unless you can made a direct accusation!”

“But has he—”

“Silence, sirrah! Gods! I shall get in
a passion soon, if I do not find my orders
obeyed a little more promptly. But to
the point. Admitting you to be innocent
of treachery night before last, I wish to
know where you were last night, that you
were not among us as I directed?”

This was a rather difficult question to
answer satisfactorily; nevertheless, Roberts
had resolved on his reply; but fortunately,
perhaps, for him, he was not
granted an opportunity to make it; for at
the moment he was about to speak, the
sharp cry of one of the sentinels, “Who
goes there?” broke the stillness, followed
by the report of a musket, and shouts of
vengeance; while from every quarter of
the Oaken Grove, dark figures sprang
up, as it were, from the earth, and, rushing
toward the center, completely surrounded
and hemmed in the surprised,
alarmed, and discomfitted outlaws.


Defend yourselves, men! we are
attacked!” thundered the clarion voice
of Gerolstein. “Discharge your arms at
the assailants, and follow me!”

Instantly a scattering fire was poured
forth in every direction upon the assailants,
who as promptly returned it; and
then, cheered on by the voice of Langley,
the latter bore down upon the outlaws,
with the intention of drawing them into a
hand to-hand combat. But in this they
were disappointed; for believing the most
prudent course to be the best, under the
present circumstances, Gerolstein was
determined on drawing off his men, and
making his escape with as little delay as
possible. Not that he was by any means
a coward; but he foresaw that to remain
and fight, would be to cause much blood-shed,
and lose a part, if not all, of his
men, who would doubtless either be killed
or taken prisoners; and he knew, also,
that if his own party equaled in numbers
the assailants, they would fight at a great
disadvantage, from having been so suddenly
surprised, and taken so much as it:
were off their guard; besides, for all he
knew to the contrary, his foes might outnumber
him as two to one; and from
having seen his forces, and planned their
mode of attack, every man would know
his place, and exactly what to do; and
thus victory, on their part, would be
almost a certain consequence. All this
Gerolstein took into consideration in a moment,
and issued his orders accordingly;
and in doing so, he proved himself a wise
commander; for under the favorable circumstances
in which the party of Langley
made the attack, the latter would certainly
have been successful.

“Follow me, men!” rang out the clear
voice of Gerolstein, the moment his party
had, according to orders, discharged their
pieces at the party approaching; and selecting
the weakest part of the surrounding
line of foes, he made for it with all
speed, followed by every one of his band.

In vain Langley sought to throw
himself, and some half-a-dozen of his
companions, in forward, and so turn the

-- 089 --

[figure description] Page 089.[end figure description]

van, or impede the progress of the fugitives,
till the others could come up behind;
he could not reach the spot in time; and
those who stood before Gerolstein, perceiving
him coming with such speed, with
such a body of men at his heels, drew
back and left his path free; and in another
moment he had cleared the grove
with his shouting followers, and all were
rushing and tumbling down one of the
steep sides of the mountain.

“Halt!” shouted Langley; “it is
useless to follow them further; they have
escaped us, and it is a bloodless victory.”

“Not quite,” said one of the men, who
now began to gather around him, some of
them grumbling and cursing what they
termed their bad luck, “Not quite a
bloodless victory,” pursued the one who
had spoken, addressing Langley; “for
I've got a hole clean through my arm,
and the blood runs right smart.”

“It must be stanched,” returned Langley;
and undoing his neckerchief, he
approached and bound it tight around the
man's arm. “Are there any more
wounded?” he inquired.

“I've got the tip of my ear shot off,”
laughed one.

“And I've got a hole plum through my
beaver,” joined in another.

“Here's a hole through my coat,” said
a third.

“Another through my shirt,” chimed
in a fourth.

“And there was one bullet, as come so
near my head, I had to dodge it,” added
a fifth.

“Curses on the imps of Satan, to get
clear from us so easy!” said a harsh,
coarse voice, in a very different key from
the merry tones of the others.

“Yes, and — such a victory as
this!” grumbled another.

“Ef we could only hev let the heart's
blood out of two or three, I'd been better
satisfied,” chimed in a third.

“Ef ever I git so near'em agin,” said
a fourth, “without hurting anybody, I'll
jest squat down peaceable, and let any
man call me a liar.”

“Come, come, men,” interposed Langley—
“all this does not mend the matter;
they have escaped us, and before we can
wreak our vengeance on them, we must
find them again. By heavens! and this
reminds me what I had forgotten—which
is, that Roberts informed me, that if they
escaped us here, we had better set off at
once for Harlem's Cover; for if we found
them not there, we should be likely at
least to recover the stolen horses. Besides,
he gave me full particulars concerning
the place and the way to manage.”

“Good! good!” returned several
voices—“let us start at once for Harlem's

“But how are we to find it?” asked

“Follow me,” said Langley, “and I
think, if Roberts directed me right, I can
lead you thither.”

“Away, then!” said another voice—
“we have no time to lose.”

“Come on, then, one and all!” cried
Langley; and darting across the grove,
he rushed down the hill, on the side opposite
to that which the outlaws had

He was followed by each of the others,
and in another minute the grove was
cleared of human beings, and the last
one disappeared down the sloping side of
the mount. Leaving them to find their
way to Harlem's Cover, we will now return
to the fugitives.

Rushing down the hill in the manner
we have shown, Gerolstein and his men
came to a halt in a thick wood, about a
quarter of a mile from the place of attack;
and ascertaining they were not pursued,

-- 090 --

[figure description] Page 090.[end figure description]

they forthwith held a short consultation,
as to what was best to be done.

“We are certainly betrayed,” said the
captain; “and oh! that I could find the
villain that has done it, and punish him
for his treachery!”

“I think after this, you can no longer
suspect me,” returned Roberts, boldly.

“I feel we have no right to, certainly,”
answered the captain; “for had you betrayed
us, it would have been natural for
you to have escaped when we fled—or,
rather, not to have joined us at all, knowing
we were about to be attacked, when
you would run the same risk of dying by
a chance bullet as the rest of us.”

“And I think the same thing,” rejoined
Jarvis. “I have known Roberts
long, and I do not believe he could be
guilty of an act so base as that of which
he has been suspected; but were it otherwise—
did I really think him guilty—my
hand should be the first to plunge a knife
to his heart.”

“I thank you, gentlemen,” replied
Roberts, evidently somewhat touched,
and, if truth must be told, feeling not a
little remorse for what he had done,
though well he knew it was now too late
to play the part of other than a villain:
“I thank you, gentlemen, for having so
promptly and honorably exonerated me
when convinced of my innocence.”

“And well you may,” grumbled Morford,
in a tone too low to reach the ears
of the traitor. And then he added aloud:
“If I remember rightly, John Roberts
has not yet answered the question asked
by the captain the moment before we were

“Well, well,” interposed Gerolstein, in
a decisive tone, “we cannot attend to that
matter now: another time we will hear
Mr. Roberts' explanation. At present we
must decide what to do, and that speedily,
and then act upon it at once.”

“If I might venture a suggestion,”
hesitated Roberts.

“Go on!” rejoined the captain.

“I should say,” pursued the other,
concluding the sentence, “that perhaps
we had better set out for Harlem's Cover,
and secure our horses, lest the villain who
has betrayed us, direct our foes thither,
and so all be lost.”

“Right! right!” cried the captain;
“and it is strange I should have overlooked
it so long as I have. We will
away at once; and if we make all haste,
I think we can reach there in an hour.
But one thing, gentlemen, I wish to caution
you about; and that is, in case we
fall in with the enemy, to avoid a conflict
if possible; and I will tell you wherefore:
If we are not betrayed by any of our
own party—and I know no reason, since
I come to think of it, why we should be—
the men we trade with have doubtless
given information; (and that, by-the-by,
accounts, too, for their not being present,)—
and this being the case, and
many of our members being regular settlers,
should any get killed, wounded, or
taken prisoners, they will be missed from
their dwellings, and so their connection
with us will become known, to the endangerment
of their safety, and that of their
families; besides, I would rather not get
into a skirmish, till after the regular
meeting of our body at the cave—which
will take place one week from the last
one—so that when all the members in
this part of the country shall be assembled
together, I can lay the whole matter
before them, and act as the wisdom of
the majority shall decide. What say you
to this, gentlemen?”

“I coincide with you,” replied Jarvis.

“And I also,” rejoined Roberts.

“And I! and I!” cried the majority of the others.

“So be it, then!” resumed Gerolstein;

-- 091 --

[figure description] Page 091.[end figure description]

“and now let us away;” and taking the
lead himself, the whole party soon disappeared
after him.

It is not our intention to follow them
in their windings through the woods, and
so we will precede them to Harlem's
Cover, long enough to give a brief description
of the place.

On the north bank of the Great Miami,
some five or six miles from Oaken Grove,
stood an old log cabin, completely surrounded
by woods; while immediately
around the house was a dense cluster of
bushes, which grew so high as almost to
screen it from observation. In fact, so
well was it concealed, that, should a
stranger chance to pass along a miserable
horse-path that wound about through the
woods, at the distance of a stone's throw
from it, ten to one he would not discover
it at all. To all appearance it was uninhabited;
but had you chanced to rap on
the only door it apparently contained at
the time of which we write, it is possible
a feeble old man would have opened it,
and in a dry. consumptive tone inquired
your business; and had you entered the
house, doubtless you would have found
an old crone sitting near a large, old fireplace,
and shivering, even in the summer
time, over a few decaying embers—both
man and woman looking like the last sad
wrecks of perishing mortality. The
house, too, you would have found to contain
little or no furniture; and had you
asked for food, ten to one you would have
been answered there was nothing but a
single crust of stale corn-bread in the
house, and that the occupants had no
idea where their next meal was to be procured.
Had you chanced to be a philanthropic
individual, with any loose
change in your possession, doubtless you
would have been induced to bestow a
part in alms; and then have gone on
your way rejoicing, that you were so
much better off than that poor, afflicted
old couple.

And you would have been deceived.

For the people in question were not as
old as they looked, the man had no consumption
but that of food and drink, the
old woman was not in reality any colder
than yourself, and there was plenty of
provision in the house, and that, too, of a
kind to have tempted an epicure. In
short, this place was neither more nor
less than Harlem's Cover; and had any
one shown you its mysteries, he would
have conducted you to the back wall, and,
by an ingenious contrivance, have lowered
a part of it in the form of a door;
and then, raising a trap door inside of the
house—from which, perhaps, he would
at first have been obliged to remove a
pile of brush, that completely concealed
it—he would have shown you a gentle
descent, leading to underground stables,
where, on certain occasions, you would
have found not less than twenty or thirty
horses, undergoing the process of coloring,
preparatory to being taken hence, at
the proper time, for the purpose of being
disposed of. Perhaps the whole inventive
faculties of ingenious and plotting
mankind, could not have contrived a
place more likely to deceive each and
every one who might see it, than thir
same Harlem's Cover—nor one where
you would be less disposed to seek information
concerning a stolen horse.

Suppose, for instance, you were well
mounted, and in hot pursuit of the thief
that had stolen your horse—that both of
you were riding hard, and he only some
fifteen rods in advance. Well, you both
come in sight of this old structure—if,
in fact, you could see it all—and riding
into a dense thicket, he should here disappear:
would you, in such a case, mistrust
he had taken refuge in that old
shanty? No, it would be the last place

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you would think of looking for him: and
yet there he would be in safety with your
horse, perhaps cracking jokes with this
old man and woman, or with some comrade,
over a bottle of wine, at the trick
he had played you; while you, beating
about the thickets of the forest, and finding
no trace of him you sought, would at
last be forced to give up the pursuit, and
perhaps be angry with yourself at your
stupidity and short-sightedness.

Such was Harlem's Cover; but this
was not the only place of the kind owned
and used by the League of the Miami.
We have said this band of outlaws extended
from what is now Lawrenceburgh,
Indiana, in a continued chain, to what
is now Urbana, Ohio; and at proper
distances, along the whole route, were
covers, similar to the one we have
described. But to return to the outlaws

Hurrying through the woods, and
knowing the nearest route to Harlem's
Cover, Gerolstein and his men soon
reached the latter place; and reconnoitering
the premises, to ascertain if there
were any foes about, and perceiving none,
the captain at last ventured to give three
peculiar raps on the rear wall of the old

“Who's there?” inquired a feeble
voice from within; and at the same time
the speaker appeared to be seized with a
very violent attack of coughing.

“Bonny Gray,” was the answer from

“What do you seek, Bonny Gray?”
responded the consumptive individual
from within.

“The stables of the League.”

Immediately there was a rattling of
chains and bolts inside, and then a portion
of the wall was lowered, something
like a drawbridge, over which Gerolstein
and his men passed into the house, when
it was quickly drawn up to its place, and
fastened as before.

“Well, Harlem, has there been any
strangers here to-night?” demanded

“None, Captain,” replied the old man,
now speaking in a strong, hearty tone,
that denoted his lungs in a sound, healthy
state. “But why do you inquire?—do
you expect any?”

“I cannot say whether I do or not,”
rejoined the other, in a manner that implied
he did not wish to be questioned
farther. “But how come on the horses,

“They are doing well, Captain, and
will soon be fit for service.”

“Do they take color well?”

“Beautifully; you would hardly know

The old man at once proceeded to remove
a pile of brush that concealed the
trap-door, while the old woman hurried
to get ready a lantern. In a short time
the door was raised; and taking the lead,
lantern in hand, old Harlem conducted
the whole party down below, and the
woman closed the trap after them, and
replaced the brush.

Scarcely had this been effected, when
the same peculiar knock which Gerolstein
had given, again sounded on the wall of
the house outside

“Who's there?” queried the old

“Bonny Gray,” was the reply.

“What do you seek, Bonny Gray?”

“The stables of the League.”

Again the bolts and chains rattled, the
broad, heavy door was lowered, and Edward
Langley, followed by his party,
entered the house.

“If I'd a known there was so many o'
ye, I'd a asked Captain Gerolstein's permit
afore I opened the door—for you're
all strangers to me,” said the old woman,

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as one after another came pouring in, to
the number of thirty, completely filling
the room. “But I 'spose it's all right,”
she added, eyeing Langley keenly, and addressing
herself to him; “for the captain
said something about another party coning,
and you gin the password correct.”

“It is all right,” replied Langley;
“but where is the captain now?”

“He's down below, with Mr. Harlem,
looking at the hosses—may be you came
to buy 'em.”

“Are his men with him?” demanded
Langley, without heeding the last question
of the old woman.

“Yes, they're all down there.”

“Then, comrades,” cried Langley,
“we have them! Are you ready?”

“All ready,” was the unanimous

“What d'ye mean?” screamed the
old woman, in alarm, as she saw one of
Langley's party hurriedly kick the brush
from off the door, while the rest examined
their arms.

At the same moment a voice shouted
from below:

“What ho! Mother Harlem!”

“Hush! betray us, and you die!”
said Langley, in a hoarse whisper, seizing
the old woman by the hair of her head,
and placing the cold muzzle of a pistol
against her face.

“What ho! Mother Harlem!” again
shouted the voice from below.

“What shall I say?” asked the
trembling old woman of Langley.

“Ask what he wants,” replied Langley.

The old woman did so; but she had to
strain her lungs to the utmost, to make
herself heard below.

“What is the disturbance I hear up
above?” returned the voice.

“Say some three or four of his men
have arrived, and are in high glee,”
whispered Langley.

The old woman gave the answer, as
directed, trembling all over at the same
time, and, in an under tone, begging
Langley, for God's sake, not to let any
of her friends be harmed. To Mother
Harlem's last answer, the voice below

“Open the door, then—we will come

“Do as he bids you!” said Langley,
releasing her; “but do not intimate our
presence as you value your life!”

Then motioning his men to draw back
as far from the door as possible, he silently
awaited the result. The old woman slowly
raised the trap, and, as she did so, the
head of a man came above the level of
the floor. On seeing such a body of enemies,
on all sides, he drew back suddenly,
and shouting, “Die traitoress!” discharged
a pistol he held in his hand, full into
the breast of Mother Harlem, who, uttering
a deep groan, fell back upon the floor,
weltering in her own blood.

“Quick! quick!” shouted the assassin,
who was no other than Gerolstein himself,
at the same time bounding down to the
stables—“close the inner door, men, and
hold it, till the horses can be removed!
for we are betrayed and surprised. But
I have sent the traitoress to be judged for
her deeds!” he added, bitterly, his eyes
flashing a wild light, as he shut to the
door with violence.

This door was at the foot of the descending
passage, was made of heavy
timber, and, when closed, it completely
barred the passage to the stables.

But it was closed none too soon, for the
safety of the horse-thieves; for the moment
the captain disappeared, Langley
sprang after him, shouting:

“Follow, comrades! we have them
now!” and rushing down the passage,
he came with all his might against the
door. “Quick! quick!” he cried, turning

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to his followers, who were now pressing
upon him—“some one run up above, and
get an axe which I observed standing in
the corner near the chimney! There is a
door here which they have bolted inside—
but I can quickly hew it away.”

Leaving our friends to effect an entrance
as best they may, let us precede them
into the stables. A large excavation had
been made within, and fitted up with
stalls, to the number of forty. On one
side was a place for hay, and grain, and
near it a well, whence water was procured
for the animals to drink. The whole
place was walled up on all sides, with the
exception of the passages for entrance
and exit. The latter was at the farther
end, and was a sort of tunnel, under
ground, to the river Miami, where it
came out into the water through a steep

This answered the double purpose of
passing the horses out or in, and also had
the advantage of concealing their foot-prints—
for the water here was so shallow
that, unless just after heavy rains,
they could be conducted down the bed
of the stream some quarter of a mile.
Around the mouth of this channel grew
a cluster of bushes, partly natural and
partly artificial, which completely concealed
it—so that a person who knew
nothing about it, would never think of
searching there for anything mysterious
or unusual. In describing the place to
Langley—how to obtain admittance and
the like—Roberts had neglected, either
intentionally or otherwise, to mention the
tunnel; and therefore, when Langley
found the horse-thieves in the stables, he
believed there was no egress for them
but through the very passage he and his
men now guarded. And under this supposition,
the reader will naturally infer
that he must be a bold man, thus to rush
recklessly on, and, as it were, beard the
lion in his very den. And such Edward
Langley was. She whom he prized more
than life, had been stolen away by
ruffians, and he was determined to
avenge her wrongs—and terribly too—
even though he should sacrifice his own

At the moment Langley rushed against
the door, Gerolstein shouted to his men:

“Quick, now, good fellows! we have
no time to spare! Take out the horses,
and let us mount and away, before we
are called to defend ourselves against our
blood-thirsty assailants! Already I hear
their leader shouting for an axe, and soon
will they be upon us!”

Every man sprang to a horse; and so
fast did they work, that scarcely had the
last sentence passed the lips of Gerolstein,
ere every horse was bridled, and
those nearest the tunnel were already in
the act of going through it. We say
every man sprang to a horse; but we
must except old Harlem, who, from the
moment Gerolstein uttered the words,
“But I have sent the traitoress to be judged
for her deed,” had never taken his
eyes off the Captain of the League, and
who now, planting himself directly in the
path of the latter, demanded to know
what he meant by what he said, at the
same time repeating the sentence just

For a single instant, Gerolstein looked
the old man fiercely in the eye; and then,
believing him to be less innocent than he
seemed—but not feeling sufficiently satisfied
of his guilt to justify himself in inflicting
the punishment due to a traitor—he
raised his fist, as quick as lightning, and
struck him full in the face. The old man
fell with a groan, and the blood spirted
from his nose and mouth. He lay senseless,
and never moved but a few times
afterward. In ten minutes his spirit had
fled its mortal tenement, and, with all its

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[figure description] Page 095.[end figure description]

unrepented sins, stood in the presence of
its Maker, ready for judgment.

At this moment the strokes of the axe
sounded on the door, and soon the heavy
timbers began to give way before it.

“Quick, men! some of you come here
and defend this place till the horses can
be got out!” cried Gerolstein; and stepping
over the body of old Harlem, he
sprung to the door, and began to place
some loose planks against it, in the form
of props.

Roberts, Morford, Jarvis, and one or
two others, hurried to his assistance,
while the rest labored hard to get the
horses through the tunnel. The lantern
brought down by Harlem, and which was
now hanging on a hook, was the only
light in the stables; and consequently the
tunnel was so dark, that one could not
see his hand before him. Add to this the
fact, that only one horse could enter the
tunnel at a time—and that then the place
was so narrow and small, that his sides and
back occasionally rubbed, causing him to
be very fractious—and it will readily be
perceived, that to enter and pass out between
twenty and thirty horses, was an
undertaking requiring several minutes for
its accomplishment.

Meanwhile, Langley worked fiercely
upon the door with his axe; and in a
very short time he had destroyed the
fastenings of the bolts, so that nothing
prevented his entrance to the stables save
the props, which were kept in their places
by Gerolstein and his assistants.

“It is held on the other side by the
bandits,” the voice of Langley was now
heard saying, in an excited tone. “Now,
comrades, altogether, rush upon it, and
see if we cannot force it!”

The rush was made, but still the door
stood firm.

“Ha! I have it!” cried Langley again.
“I will cut away the hinges;” and
immediately the strokes of the axe were
heard by the outlaws guarding the opposite

“They will soon force it,” said Gerolstein,
in a whisper: “it will be impossible
to hold out much much longer. Ha!”
he added, looking behind him—“the last
horse is just disappearing. Good! now
let them come! what need we care? A
farewell volley, comrades, and then for
flight! Quick, now, put your pistols to
the crevices, and fire!”

The order was obeyed; and the groans,
yells, and curses that followed, announced
they had not been without effect. The
next moment a rush was made against
the door, it gave way with a crash,
and several of the foremost of the assailants,
among whom was Langley himself,
were precipitated upon the ground of the

“Fly!” shouted Gerolstein, and he
darted forward to the tunnel, followed
closely by all but Morford, who paused
an instant to extinguish the light of the

That moment proved fatal to his escape;
for Robert Wilden, who was close behind,
clasped him in his huge arms, and, with
a demoniac yell of vengeance, threw him
violently upon the earth; while all the
others, with the exception of Langley, who
at this moment came up, passed on in
pursuit of the fugitives, fairly making the
cave hideous with their shouts of fury.
Drawing his knife, young Wilden was
about to plunge it into the heart of his
victim, when Langley grasped his arm,
and, in a voice of thunder, cried:


“Who dar's stop Bob Wilden doing
his duty?” exclaimed that individual,
bounding to his feet, and turning fiercely
upon Langley.

“Do not, at least kill him, till I have
asked him some questions?” returned the

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[figure description] Page 096.[end figure description]

other, at the same time taking hold of
Morford, to prevent his escape.

“What questions hev you got to ask?”
queried the other, in a dogged tone.

“Questions of vast importance.”

“Be quick about it, then, for as sure's
my name's Bob Wilden, this here feller's
got to die right sudden, and no mistake!”

“But not here, and in this manner,
for that would be murder!” pursued
the other. “Let us at least give him a

“Ay, ay—that's just what Butterman
said about the villian as killed brother
Jake. It won't do, Mr. Langley—it
won't do! I tell you this here thief has
got to die, if for nothing else than for this
here hole, which, jest as like as not, he
made—if he didn't, no thanks to him;”
and turning up his shirt sleeve, he showed
his arm all bloody, where a ball, fired by
Gerolstein and his party, had passed
through the fleshy part of it.

“Well, let us at least conduct him outside,
and first ascertain what has become
of the others!”

“I'm agreed to that; but as sure's
I'm a sinner, I tell you he's got to die.”

During this colloquy, Morford, expecting
death every moment, did not open his
lips; but with a sullen look, watched
every expression and movement of his
captors, ready to make his escape, should
a favorable opportunity present itself.

“Were any of our party dangerously
wounded?” inquired Langley of Wilden;
as, one on either side of Morford, they
began to move along toward the tunnel.

“Can't say for sartin,” replied the
other; “but if I'm not mistaken, I stumbled
over somebody lying on the ground
soon after we broke in here. Yes,” he
added, turning round and looking back—
for the lantern, still hanging on the hook,
faintly lighted the place—“yes, thar he
is yit.”

“Ah! I see!” replied Langley; “and
I must go back to him; for none of our
party must be left to perish here—or,
perishing, must not be left here unburied.”

He accordingly went back; while Wilden,
disarming Morford, and holding him
firmly in his vice-like grasp, conducted
him through the tunnel. Before they had
gained the other end, Langley rejoined
them, and said:

“It is an old man, and he is evidently
dead. Probably he was knocked down
and trampled on by some of our men, in
rushing after the others;” and as he said
this, all three came to the bushes; and,
carefully parting them, issued forth into
the bed of the Great Miami.

At the same moment a bright light
flashed in their eyes, and loud and prolonged
shouts were heard coming from
the direction of the old shanty.

“By heavens!” cried Langley, looking
in that direction: “see! our men
have fired the old building, and the
flames are already bursting through the


The exclamation of Langley, given at
the close of the preceding chapter, was
true. Gerolstein and his party, with the
exception of Morford only, had again
escaped their pursuers, with all the
horses; and enraged at this, no sooner
did the latter find they were gone, than
one of them proposed to fire the dwelling
of old Harlem. The proposition was acceded
to with shouts; and rushing to the
house, they set it on fire; and the moment
Langley issued from the tunnel, it was in
full blaze.

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[figure description] Page 097.[end figure description]

“Quick!” pursued Edward—“let us
drag this fellow along with us, and join
the others, and then I will question him
in the presence of all;” and at once proceeding
to carry out his suggestion, all
three soon drew near to the burning
building, around which stood between
twenty and thirty men—shouting, laughing,
and cursing, according to the peculiar
feelings excited in their breasts, at witnessing
the work of their hands.

“If the old woman wasn't killed when
that fellow fired, I guess she thinks the
heat of hell is near her now,” laughed

“Then I'spose she's in her element,”
rejoined another, laughing also.

“Wish we'd a thought to fired the
building in the first place,” grumbled a
third, “and then the cussed horse-stealers
would have found hot work, and no

“Yes,—'em! that was an oversight,”
said a fourth.

“But where's our leader?” cried one,
suddenly. “I have not seen him since
we entered the stables. God send he be
not harmed!”

“Ah! here he comes! here he comes!”
rejoined another; “and Bob Wilden's
with him; and they've got one of the
imps in tow, as I'm a living man.”

“Hurrah! hurrah!” shouted a number
of the others, as, by the light of the
burning building, they beheld Langley
and Wilden approaching with their prisoner;
and they began to gather round the
new-comers, uttering exclamations of

“The—horse-stealer! let's hang
him!” cried one.

“Cut his bloody heart out!” said

“Let's heave him into the fire!” vociferated
a third.

“Stop!” roared Bob; “stand back!
don't a man of ye touch him!—he's my
property.—I catched him—and, by—!
I'll be the feller to butcher him when the
time comes.”

“Why don't you do it now, then?”
said one.

“Hold! gentlemen,” interposed Langley;
“before you attempt anything rash,
let me put a few questions to him.”

By this time the whole party had sursounded
the prisoner, who, standing in the
center, with pale features and compressed
lips, looked from one to another, with a
calm, determined air. Turning to him,
Langley continued:

“Will you tell me your name?”

“Henry Morford,” was the bold,
straight-forward answer.

“How long have you been connected
with the League of the Miami?”

“Some four or five years.”

“How many members compose the

“I decline answering.”

“But your life depends upon it!”

“How so?—have you not vowed to
take my life already?”

“But if you will answer, truly, all
questions we may ask you, your life may
perhaps be spared.”

“I will freely answer any question you
may ask, provided it does not concern any
but myself.”

“But it will concern those with whom
you have an unrighteous connection.”

“Then I cannot answer.”

“You are obstinate.”

“Call it what you will—I am indifferent
as to terms.”

“What's the use of fooling with him?”
interposed one; “you can't make nothing
out of him; better finish him at once.”

“Yes, by—! them's my sentiments,”
rejoined Wilden, drawing a pistol.

“Stay! gentlemen—give me time!”
said Langley. “I wish to question him

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[figure description] Page 098.[end figure description]

further:” and then to the prisoner:
“Did you know that, two or three nights
since, a girl was abducted from a place
called Covington, in the state of Kentucky,
opposite to Cincinnati?”

“No, I know nothing about it.”

“It was said she was captured by the
League of the Miami.”

“Who said so?”

“One of your own party.”

I never heard of it, and believe it to
be a false statement.”

“Strange!” said Langley—“that
none of your party seem to know anything
about it. Come! to find what has
become of this girl, is of the utmost consequence
to me; and if you give me the
information I seek, I will pledge myself,
that not only no harm shall be done to
you, but that you shall be set at liberty,
and have one hundred dollars as a

“I could not give you the information
if I would—I would not if I could.”

“Then you are a villain, and intend to
remain so.”

“Granted! are you much my superior?”

“Oh,—him! let him die!” again
interposed Robert Wilden.

“One question more,” said Langley.
“Will you save your own life by betraying
your comrades in crime?”

“Gentlemen, I am not, I never will be
a traitor—you have my answer!” was
the calm, determined reply of Morford.

“To h-l with you then!” cried Wilden;
and as the words passed his lips, he
raised his pistol and fired.

The ball took effect in the head of the
outlaw, the blood gushed forth, and sinking
down, with barely a groan, he expired.
Langley turned away with a shudder, and
there were few of the spectators that
looked on unmoved.

“Come,” said Langley, “let us leave
this spot of crime and blood!” and he
walked rapidly away, followed by all the
others, with the exception of Wilden, who
remained as if rooted to the ground,
gazing upon the ghastly and bloody visage
of his victim.

“Well, he deserved it!” he muttered
to himself, as if holding an argument
with his own conscience; “for Jake was
killed by one of his party, and I've only
fairly revenged him.”

Saying this, he turned slowly away,
and took the direction pursued by his
comrades—the last of whom could just
be discerned, by the light of the burning
building, entering a dense thicket, wherein
they soon disappeared. As Wilden quitted
the corpse of Morford, a tall figure,
that had been watching the whole proceedings
from a thick copse close behind,
glided back into the woods; and, making
a rapid circuit, entered the thicket through
which Wilden was about to pass, unperceived
by the latter, and before that individual
had reached its outer border. On
gaining the thicket, Wilden paused and
looked back, repeating to himself:

“Yes, he deserved it!”

These were the last intelligible words
that ever issued from his lips. As he
spoke them, he turned, and disappeared
into the brushwood. A moment or two
after, a deep groan might have been
heard, mingling with the sound of the
roaring and crackling of flames, as though
a spirit was wailing over the destruction
and death which prevailed on that ill-fated
ground. Presently the tall figure that
had glided into the thicket in advance of
Wilden, again made his appearance, on
the side next to the burning building,
holding in his hand a knife, from which
the warm, red blood of a human being
was dripping. With long hasty strides
he approached the body of the unfortunate
Morford, and, halting by its side,
exhibited, by the lurid light of the fire,

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[figure description] Page 099.[end figure description]

a pale, stern face, compressed lips, and
eyes gleaming like those of a wild beast.
For a few moments he stood looking
down upon the bloody corpse, motionless
and mute, as one lost in a painful abstraction.
Then his stern visage assumed a
look of deep melancholy; and brushing
a tear from his eye, he said, in a mournful

“Alas! Henry Morford, thou art gone,
and I must soon follow thee! Yes, I feel
a presentiment of my doom. Thou wert
a noble fellow, Henry Morford!—and if
I, at one time, wronged thee in thought,
may God forgive me!—for that thou
wert true to us, and to thy oath, thy sad,
deplorable fate here announces. From
yonder cover I witnessed all, and know
thou died as became a man. Ah! would
that all had been like thee! then this
calamity had not befallen us. But,” he
continued, his eyes suddenly kindling with
gleams of ferocity, “I trust I have sent
the vile traitors to their account, and that
henceforth we shall be too much for our
foes! At least, noble Harry, I have revenged
thee on thy damnable assassin!
This knife, Harry, is red with his heart's
blood; and in yonder thicket his gory
careass is lying, where none but the
howling wild beasts of the wilderness shall
find it. And they shall come,” he added,
with increasing vindictiveness, both in
tone and manner—“they shall come, and
tear off his vile flesh, piece by piece, until
his bones shall lie naked, to bleach in the
open air!—while thou, noble Harry, shalt
be interred with honor, to rest in quiet,
till summoned from thy grave for the final

Then, after another pause, he continued:

“Oh! that I were done with this wild
life of crime! I tire of it; and I must
beg to be released ere my term of office
expires. Once it would have suited me;
but now I sicken at the sight of blood,
and long to be done with such a terrible
calling. If I could be released, and steal
away, where none would know me, and
have one— But no! no! that cannot
be—for she is too good, and pure, to be
the associate of such as I! Well, well,
I must take the consequences of my
crimes. But what could that young man
have meant, by inquiring for a stolen
girl?—stolen, too, from the very place
where she resides! I must inquire into
this—I must—

“What ho! who comes?” he suddenly
exclaimed, interrupting himself, and looking
toward the nearest thicket.

“Friends!” was the answer; and
immediately Jarvis, Roberts, and one
other, issued forth, and approached their

“What news?” cried Gerolstein.

“All have escaped in safety,” was the

“All but one,” returned Gerolstein,
mournfully; and he pointed to the body
of Morford.

“Good God! who did this?” exclaimed

“A wretch, whose body lies in yonder
thicket,” replied Gerolstein, fiercely.

“Poor fellow!” sighed Roberts, looking
down upon the mortal remains of his
most bitter enemy. “Poor fellow! I pity
and forgive him;” and he turned away,
apparently to hide his grief, but in reality
to indulge in a secret joy: and he muttered
to himself: “Now am I safe.”

“How did this happen?” inquired

“I saw it all, and will tell you all about
it,” replied Gerolstein; “but not here;
for our enemies may return at any moment.
Come, let us take up the body, and

Complying with the captain's request,
all lent a hand to raise the body of
Morford; and in a few minutes all had

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disappeared. Further we shall not follow
them, but proceed to shift the scene.


Some three or four days have passed
since the foregoing events, and we must
now turn again to the cave of the League.
It was a warm summer's evening, but
very dark, for a dense fog had settled
over the surrounding country, and not an
object, without the aid of artificial light,
could be distinguished at the distance of
two feet from the eye.

The cave, itself, was brilliantly lighted
by a large chandelier, constructed for the
purpose, and suspended from its ceiling
by a chain. Within, stood some fifty
dark figures—we say dark, for each one
was covered with a black gown, something
like a monk's, with the exception,
that in place of the cord suspending the
cross, each one wore around his waist a
leathern belt, in each of which were confined
two pistols and a knife. A hood
covered each of their heads, and a mask
concealed each of their features. They
stood, crowded together, motionless as
statues, forming a most impressive
group—while, save their deep breathing,
the silence seemed truly awful. On the
large flat stone—before noticed, as the
one whereon Burrand took the oath—
lay some object, covered with a dark
cloth; to which, judging from the position
of their heads, each eye was directed.

On the stone, or platform, stood three
figures; Gerolstein, tall and erect, in the
center; Jarvis and Pottenger on either
side. In front, on the ground, stood the
three who had borne Burrand hither, on
a previous occasion; while close behind
them ranged the four light bearers.

“Gerolstein was the only one present
who wore no mask. His features were
pale and haggard; his lips white, but
compressed, as with inward resolution for
some important event. His eyes, black
and piercing, had lost none of their
wonted fire; but there were dark livid
lines around them, that told his very soul
had been put upon the rack of agony.
His forehead was contracted with a stern
resolve—his cheeks seemed a little more
hollow—and the slight furrows time and
care had begun to trace on his cheeks,
seemed a little more deepened. Raising
his right hand, in a solemn, impressive
manner, while every breath was hushed,
he thus addressed the assemblage:

“Gentlemen, we have met—met on a
solemn, important occasion: one of our
number is no more,”—and he pointed to
the object before him. “One of our
number is no more; and, I fear, by our
hands, another must this night follow
him to eternity. Death, in any shape, is
solemn—is awful to contemplate; but
when it comes to us by the hand—the
act of another fellow creature—it ever
seems to me more awful. What the one
before us was, you all know. Like the
rest of us, he had his failings; but that
he was ever true to us—true to his oath—
his death has proven. He died a martyr
to the cause in which we are collectively,
individually engaged; and how soon it
may be our turn to undergo a like fate, no
one can tell. I fear our seizure of those
horses, was a rash act; for we have
drawn down a daring combination of men
upon us—headed by one, a hot-headed
Kentuckian, who fears nor man nor
devil—but who, for some supposed act
of ours, swears to have revenge. They
are determined to ferret us out; and our
only resource is now in flight, or fight.
Action of some kind—action is necessary.
Shall we stand the brunt of the

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peril? or shall we disperse? Of this we
must determine anon. To-night our first
duty is to consign to dust the remains of
one who died to save us. Let it be done
with honor; let our hearts pour forth praise
to his memory—for mark me, gentlemen,
I say no idle words, when I say he died to
save us—true to his oath! By an unfortunate
move—by a daring act, worthy of
a Spartan—in endeavoring to cover our
flight, he was taken. Life, which was dear
to him—dear as to any present—life, and a
free pardon, were offered him, if he would
renounce and denounce us. What was his
answer? It should be written in letters of
gold upon our constitution—

“ `Gentlemen, I am not—I never will
be a traitor! You have my answer.'

“These, my friends, were the last
sounds his lips ever uttered: alas! alas!
they can never speak again. A bullet—
guided by an accursed hand—sped upon
its course—pierced his brain, and his
noble spirit winged its flight—his account
with time was closed—closed forever.
Look at him, gentlemen,” continued he,
stooping and removing the pall from the
head—exhibiting a pale, ghastly countenance,
contorted with the spasms of
death, on which the light glared with a
horriffie effect—“look at him, gentlemen,
and look well, for it is your last—your
farewell gaze! You see before you one
who has gone—gone where all must soon
follow; for death spares none. Let us,
like him, die like men! Proceed with the

As he ceased, he again covered the
corpse, while the three men stepped forward,
slowly raised it to their shoulders,
and proceeded to the mouth of the cave;
followed next by the light-bearers, who
sprung their lanterns—though so dense
was the fog that their gleams pierced
but a little way—next by Gerolstein,
Jarvis, &c.; and, lastly, by the whole
company, two by two—with the exception
of three, left as guard. Tramping
on, with slow and measured tread, at a
little distance from the cave they entered
a hollow, where, beside an aged oak, was
dug a grave. Here, slowly, in gloomy
silence, they lowered the corpse into its
long, last resting place; when, each kneeling,
in turn—preceded by the Captain—
stirred, with his knife, the loose thrown-up
earth—rattling it upon the body—each
repeating as he did so:

“Farewell to thee, most noble, gallant
Harry! farewell—forever!”

This ceremony through, the three bearers
seized upon spades that were standing
by the grave, and, a moment more, the
body was covered from their sight. In
the same order the procession returned to
the cave.

“Arnold Melven, the prisoner and traitor,
let him be brought!” said the deep
voice of Gerolstein; “and the chair of

As he spoke, Pottenger placed upon
the platform, at one end, a rude oaken
chair; while, at the same time, from the
inner cave, Jarvis led forth Melven, pale
and trembling, and fixed him in a kneeling
position. He was stripped entirely
naked, and his hands bound behind him
by an iron chain. Hideous as he ever
looked, he now looked more hideous than
ever; for every feature was curled and
distorted with paltry cowardice, and his
knees fairly knocked together in absolute

“Oh! spare me! spare me! good,
kind gentlemen!” he ejaculated, while
his teeth chattered with the words he

“Silence! traitor!” said Gerolstein
fiercely; as, stepping upon the platform
he took his seat in the chair. “Arnold
Melven, you are accused of treachery.”

“Oh! it is false; it is, good, kind sir!

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I—I'd never ha' dared to done such a
thing, good, noble Captain!” whined

“We shall see. Jarvis!”

“Your will, Captain.”

“Remove your mask, and answer the
questions propounded!”

Jarvis immediately obeyed—exhibiting
features calm and stern.

“Where did you arrest the prisoner?”

“On the bank of the Ohio.”



“What was he doing at the time?”

“Assisting in the abduction of a young

“How! Jarvis!” exclaimed Gerolstein,
starting, his features blanching to a
deadly white.

“I say true, Captain.”

“Gods! her name, Jarvis?—her name?”

“I did not learn it.”

“But you were in time?—he did not

“I was in time to arrest the prisoner,
but not to save the girl. She was borne
away by his two companions.”

“Where? where?”

“I know not.”

“Melven, speak! speak!” cried Gerolstein,
wildly,—“or, by the eternal
gods! you never speak again!” and he
drew from his belt a pistol.

“Wha-what shall I say?” stammered

“Say who the girl—where she was
taken—for what end?”

“I—I did'nt know her name; she
lived with—”

“Who? who?”

“Molly Magore.”

“Ha! wretch! villain! die!” shouted
Gerolstein, his face livid with passion, at
the same time cocking his pistol, and
taking deliberate aim at the other's

“I—I was bribed to do it,” cried
Melven, ghastly with terror.

The words saved him: the pistol of
Gerolstein was turned aside, by a sudden
jerk of the arm, just as his finger touched
the trigger; and the ball flattened against
the rock close by the traitor's head. Melven

“Who bribed you fool?” asked Gerolstein,
between his clenched teeth.

“Aaron Burrand.”

“Ha! Aaron Burrand! let him, if
present, stand forth and unmask!”

A figure immediately stepped forward;
and, withdrawing the hood and mask,
exhibited the features of Burrand, calm
and collected, over which hovered a bland

“Is this the man you accuse?” asked
Gerolstein of Melven.

Burrand immediately fastened his keen,
soul-piercing eyes upon Melven, with such
a look as made him shudder; but, knowing
all depended on his answer, he nerved
himself to the point, and replied:

“It is.”

“State the particulars, and be quick!”

“Why, ye see, most truly noble Captain,
we happened to meet one day—I
don't exactly remember how—and got
into conversation, and says he to me, says
he, `If you'll find me a handsome young
lady, that's virtuous, and kidnap her, I'll
give you a hundred dollars, and make a
great man of you.' ”

“And you dared to find the one you

“He dared do more,” said Burrand,
in a calm voice, turning to Gerolstein.

“Well, sir, explain!”

“Oh! do not—do not listen to that
man!” cried Melven.

“Hold your peace, fool! Burrand,

“I say he dared do more—for he
dared to point her out, knowing there was

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some secret connected with yourself,

“With me, sir? with me? how know
you that?”

“By his own words. He said you frequently
sent him to an old cottage, where
she resided, with money; which, by the
way, he did not deliver.”

“Did not deliver, say you? did not

“Such were his words—let him deny
them if he dare!”

“ 'Twere useless if he did. But of the

“Of the girl I know nothing, further
than what was said at the time. 'Tis
true, I made the proposition as he stated—
I do not deny it; but I do, most positively,
deny that I know anything further
of the girl. What I said was in jest.”

“Is this true, on your oath and honor,

“On my oath and honor it is true.”

“Enough! you may resume your

“Melven, where was this girl to have
been taken?”

“Why, on my oath and honor, Cap'en,
as true as there's a God—”

“Hush! profane not the name with
your blasphemous lips.”

“I swear to you, I's to take her a mile
down the river, and there Burrand was
going to be, and tell me what to do, and
where to convey her to next.”

“Do you know where she is now? and
who were your accomplices?”

“I don't, on my life. I just hired 'em
for the occasion.”

“Have you, Jarvis, any further testimony
to give, relative to the prisoner?”

“I have. After my seizure of Melven,
before we got into the boat, another came
upon us very much excited, and inquired
for the girl, what we'd done with her,
and the like. Before I could reply, Mel
ven sprang to him, commenced whining
like a puppy, and told him she had been
seized by the robbers, by the League
of the Miami, and that they were seizing
him also. I waited for nothing further;
but knocked him down—caught him up
in my arms—out sped the other to the
other to the boat, and brought him here.”

“You did well, nobly, Jarvis; and in
the name of the League, I thank you!
There is a mystery hanging over this girl
that must be fathomed. Have you any
conception of who was the individual that
joined you on the river?”

“None, unless the lover of the girl,
and the Kentuckian now so hotly in pursuit
of us.”

“Ha! yes, by the gods! it is so. That
accounts for it; he fancies we have abducted
the girl; all this we owe to our
friend Melven,” and his features grew
dark, his teeth ground together, and his
lips curled with suppressed passion.

A sudden thrill seemed to run through
the assemblage; and, in an instant, fifty
knives flashed the light from their polished
blades, while murmurs of “death to
the traitor” ran among them.

“Hold, gentlemen—bold!” said Gerolstein,
rising from his seat with dignity,
commanding silence with a wave of his
hand; “let me deal with him.”

Then turning to the prisoner—whose
features were of a sickly white, whose
every muscle was quivering with fright—
in a deep, firm tone, he said:

“Arnold Melven! prepare—prepare—
your sentence is death!”

The prisoner started, as by a sudden
spasm—his lower jaw fell ajar with horror;
while cold sweat started out, and
stood in large drops on all parts of his
body. Gerolstein continued:

“Prepare for eternity! no power on
earth can save you. You have, in the face
of Heaven and hell, perjured yourself,

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and broken your solemn oath. Ere ten
minutes expire, you will stand before
the bar of God—your body be cast forth,
a prey to the ravenous jaws of animals
that feed upon carrion—for to you, as a
traitor, we deny burial!”

“Oh God! Oh! good gentlemen—
mercy!” groaned Melven.

“There is, with us, for traitors, no
mercy. I once for you had merey; I
saved your life; you took the dreadful
oath, and have broken it. Instead of gratitude
for this, you have repaid me with
the foulest acts that lay in your power.
You have abused my confidence; you
have, through another, wounded my heart
with daggers more powerful than steel.
Your doom is now sealed: again I say,
prepare; for mercy, seek it in another
world. Time wears—let the gong sound
the summons of death.”

As he spoke, three heavy strokes, at
intervals of two seconds, were struck
upon the gong—which echoed through
the cavern with awful, terriffic sounds.
Every breath was still—every limb in
that vast assemblage was motionless: it
was the silence of death.

Melven turned his face upward; and,
with bloodless, quivering lips, seemed to
be praying—yet no sounds issued from
them—his very eyes looked glassy, as
though death was already at work within.
The whole scene was terribly sublime:
one, by those who witnessed it, never,
never to be forgotten. Gerolstein, pale
and erect, with firmly compressed lips,
stood at the other end of the platform—
eyeing the prisoner—while on his features
were the cold damps of inward commotion.
Over all the light streamed with a
yellow, sickly cast—as if that, too, partook
of the oppressive gloom.

“Jarvis!” called Gerolstein, at length,
in a heavy, guttural voice.

Jarvis stepped forward.

“Load that pistol, with a nicely balanced
charge; put in two balls, and be
quick!” As he spoke, he handed him
the pistol which he had previously discharged.
“Let Melven see the balls
entered, that he may be doubly sure
there is no escape from his irrevocable

Pouring in the powder, Jarvis stepped
upon the platform, and approaching Melven,
held before his already swimming
gaze the leaden messengers of death.
Then, dropping upon one knee—close to
the prisoner—holding in his left hand the
pistol, muzzle upward—in his right, the
balls—he dropped them in, and as they
glided down with a holow, deadening
sound, Melven shuddered with a cold

As he finished loading, Jarvis returned
the pistol to Gerolstein, and then took his
place among the group.

“Let the gong sound three times, at
exactly minute intervals.”

Again it echoed through the cave.

“The third sound, Melven, summons
you to another world—prepare!”

Melven writhed in agony. All was
silence. Again that heavy sound shook
the cavern.

“One minute more,” said Gerolstein,
in tremulous tones, as he slowly poised
the pistol with a deadly level toward the
head of Melven. The suspense to all was
terrible—past description—and many of
those dark forms, for the first time, felt a
thrill of secret fear.

“Mercy!” gasped Melven.

“Seek it in another world!” said the
deep voice of Gerolstein.

Crash went the gong—the pistol flashed—
the smoke curled upward—and
Melven fell upon his face without a
groan, bespattering the stone with his
blood. His soul was in eternity.

A pause of a moment ensued.

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“Thus perish traitors!” said Gerolstein,
solemnly. “Bear him hence!”

The three bearers covered the corpse
with a mantle, raised it in their arms, and
left the cave. Scarce a minute elapsed
ere they returned.

“Have you cast the body to the

“We have.”

“'Tis well. Thus, men, you see what
it is to break your oath. Thus you see
the doom of traitors. Heaven forefend
that I be ever called to do another act
like this, or witness such another scene!”
and he covered his face with his hands,
as if to shut out the horrid vision, while
his whole frame trembled. At length he
raised his head, and again resumed:

“At present, friends, our prospects are
gloomy. If we stand in a body, we must
fight. If we disperse, the storm may soon
blow over, and we be left again at liberty.
In this matter I cannot act, but with the
advice and consent of yourselves. At
this critical juncture, Burrand has made
me, and you, my friends, through me, a
proposition, which may not be lightly regarded.
As the gentleman is present, he
can best speak for himself.”

Saying this, Gerolstein again took his
seat; while Burrand stepped upon the
platform—threw off his mask—his hood—
his gown—and stood revealed before the
assembly in the alluring trappings of an
officer of rank—well knowing the favorable
impression such would make on the
minds of his audience. His features,
ever handsome, were bright and animated;
his eyes sparkled with lofty
thought; and there seemed a noble dignity
in his whole bearing, as, with the
majestic gesture of a true orator, he thus
addressed them:

“Gentlemen of honor, I am proud to
say I rank one among you; and, prouder
still, am I, of the distinguished privilege
allowed me of addressing you on the
present occasion. Permit me then, gentlemen,
as a brother, to freely, candidly
speak; not as to the cold and selfish
world—but as to friends whose interests
are in mine own bound up. I would lay
my heart open to you—not for its good
qualities, but that I in return might win
your noble confidence—your disinterested
affection. Life, my friends, is compounded
of many parts—all tending—all forming
one general whole—to be by its possessor
used as doth become his thinking best,
till death steps in and crumbles all to
nothingness. The object, then, of life, is
enjoyment; and in the sum of life's enjoyment,
lies the amount of happiness
bequeathed to man. The question then,
how shall we enjoy it most? each answers
to the dictates of his feelings. But with
you, my brothers, I fancy I can perceive
kindred spirits with mine own. You pant
for glory—fame—and for immortal renown.
You would do deeds that shall
hereafter live upon the mighty tablets of
history, and be familiar on the tongues of
millions yet unborn. You would be
spoken of as the great—the good—the
brave—whose very statues should, in
after ages, be bound with rosy wreaths—
perchance made gods, for men of weaker,
though of mighty minds, to worship. You
would have men, even of the present day,
bowing before you, their lords and masters;
and you would ride in chariots of
luxuriant ease, and sit in marble halls,
each on a princely throne. You would
have servants, of rich livery, to herald
you with sounding titles, that should not
shame a princely, kingly ear. All this is
easy; all this you can have—all this I
aim for. But put yourselves under my
guidance—give me the helm—and I
will pilot you clear of the present shoals
that surround you, and land you in the
haven of glorious immortality. With

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you, as I said before, I will be candid;
therefore start not when I say, I am seeking
to overthrow the present government,
and establish one to my own liking. Liberty,
the great watchword of which politicians
prate so loudly, is but an empty
sounding name, that carries its charm but
into weaker minds. With me, and with
yourselves, I trust, 'tis but a bubble,
which makes show without the substance.
But say, my friends, you will be great,
and I will point you to a glorious end—
to the liberty worthy of gods!”

Burrand ceased, placed his hand upon
his heart, and made a low obeisance;
while the cave echoed with a universal

“Long live Colonel Burrand!”

At this moment a figure, pale and
breathless, rushed into the cave.

“How now, Sezmond?” cried Gerolstein,
starting to his feet. “How now,
Sezmond? what is the meaning of this?”

“We are again pursued, Captain; a
party is close upon us!”

“Quick! quick! extinguish the lights!”

In an instant all was total darkness.

“Let us disperse, silent and speedy,”
said Gerolstein, in a low, hurried voice.
“I would avoid meeting them; there is
blood enough upon our hands already.
Speedy, men! speedy!”

Scarce a minute elapsed ere the cave
was cleared, and those dark forms were
standing without, wrapt in a mantle darker
than their own—the mantle of night.

A shout was heard—a body of men
rushed forward—and, some of the more
daring, entered the cave.

“They are gone!” cried the voice of
Langley; “by Heaven! they are gone.”

“The fault is not mine,” returned
another voice—“I directed you right;
they were here when I left.”

“Ha!” said Gerolstein, in a fierce
whisper, who was standing at a little
distance—“another traitor, Jarvis, by
the gods! 'Tis that accursed Roberts,
as I am a living man!”

“It is,” returned Jarvis. “Stay you
here, a moment, Captain,” and he suddenly
moved away.

“What is to be done, Roberts?” inquired
the voice of Langley, as he came
out of the cave.

“I know not,” replied the other, “unless
we seize upon the Captain.”

“Where can he be found?”


At this instant a flash, for a moment,
dispelled the darkness—exhibiting a number
of forms, and a man of low stature
standing by the side of Roberts; the report
of a pistol rang on the air; and the
traitor fell forward upon his face. Jarvis
had shot him in the head. All, for a
moment, stood aghast at the boldness of
such an act. Jarvis, taking advantage of
this, quickly rejoined Gerolstein, and both
fied; while the others, with a cry of vengeance,
started in pursuit—a seemingly
hopeless chase.


On the same evening in which the attack,
as we have shown, was made upon
the League—about the hour of ten—
Cicely was seated in the same room
wherein we left her in a previous chapter.
A week had passed, and on the gentle
countenance of Cicely was written a week
of trouble. Her features were pale, almost
sallow, and much thinner than before.
Soft blue veins stood out upon her countenance
in rather bold relief, and her eyes:
were red with weeping. Poor Cicely! to
her had it been a week of misery and

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apprehension. Everything in the future
had looked dark and gloomy; she had
been a prey to strange, wild fancies; horrid
dreams had made even her sleep a
sleep of pain; and her waking moments
had been racked with the thoughts of a
burning brain. Mary had paid her the
strictest attention. Every want that could
be, had been supplied, save that of liberty;
for, strict to the letter of Burrand's
injunctions, she had not allowed her to
leave the cottage even for a moment.

Thus day and night, day and night had
passed, and now the awful, dreaded night
of all had come. The terrible words of
Burrand had sunk as barbed steel into
her soul—“One week from to-night,
remember!” This was the night. Oh!
what might this night unfold? what new
act of villainy? what terrible crime?
Cicely thought, and shuddered. She
thought of Molly—alas! how would she
bear the separation, the loss? She
thought of Edward—where was he? did
he know of her capture? and, if so, what
would he do? what could he do? what
interest would he now take in her welfare?
had they not parted? had she not
rejected him? would he ever see her
again? Wildly such thoughts rushed
through her brain—wildly and madly;
she felt she was growing mad; her head
seemed pressed to bursting; and, in her
agony, she clasped it with her hands and

Suddenly she started to her feet—
looked hurriedly around—she was alone—
(Mary had, for the moment, left the room,)
she might, perchance, escape!—she had,
during her captivity, never before thought
of this!—it was an inspiring thought!—
she sprang to the door—but no, no, alas!
it was fast; and again Cicely sank upon
her seat, and buried her face in her

“So, then, you would escape!” said
Mary, entering at the moment. “You
are weary of me, I suppose?”

“Oh! Mary,” said Cicely, looking up,
her eyes filling with tears—“do not
blame me; you know not the terrible
feelings that are harrowing my soul. Oh!
I shall go mad!” and she wrung her
hands in a sort of frenzy.

Mary gazed on her a moment, and
her eyes looked watery—her heart was

“Do not weep—do not grieve thus,
poor Cicely! would to Heaven I had died
ere I had a hand in your wrong; but it
alters nothing now.”

“You! a hand in my wrong?” repeated
Cicely; “what mean you? surely,
it was not by your influence, or your plotting,
that I was brought hither?”

“True, neither. Yet have I not
shared in the crime, by being made your

“Oh, lady! if, then, you have pity—
assist me to escape—I entreat, I beg of

“It is impossible, Cicely; we are
watched, night and day; such an attempt
would only place you in a worse position,
and cost me my life.”

“Heavens! Mary—watched from
without? I did not think that; then all
is lost—all is lost! Oh! Father of
Heaven, help me! But what is to take
place? O, tell me that, Mary? Who is
this dark man? what are his intentions?
why are you, who seem to possess a
kindly heart, joined with him?”

“To answer the latter question, Cicely,
would take me hours; I shall not attempt
it; suffice, that I am what I am—a ruined
woman—Aaron Burrand my seducer.”

“Aaron Burrand! Mary! was that terrible
man Aaron Burrand? is it with him
I have to contend? Then do I know his
purpose; then am I lost; oh, God! oh!
God!” and Cicely paced the room,

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wringing her hands, and crying in a state
bordering on insanity.

“Then you have heard of Aaron Burrand,
before?” said Mary, inquiringly.

“Heard of him?” repeated Cicely,—
“who has not? his name is the terror of

“Then do you well know his base design;
I shall not, therefore, be pained by
having to explain.”

“Is there no escape?—no hope?”

“None. Yet hold!—a thought strikes
me; which had you rather suffer, death
or dishonor?”

“Death!” replied Cicely, shuddering.

“Then your only hope lies in death.
Here is a dagger—do you understand?”

“I do,” said Cicely, as she firmly
clenched it in her trembling hand, and
gazed on it with a pale cheek. “I understand—
I thank you;” and she concealed
it in the folds of her dress.

“Hark!” said Mary, listening; “I
hear his steps already now approaching;
I was but just in time. Remember, do
not use the dagger, save as your last

“I shall remember,” replied Cicely.

At this moment a knocking was heard
at the door. Mary immediately opened
it, and admitted the figure of Aaron Burrand,
who, with perfect sang froid, walked
into the room, and took off his hat and
gloves deliberately.

“Well, my pretty Cicely,” said he,
seating himself close to her, “you look
extremely beautiful this evening.”

Cicely shuddered, but made no answer.

“I believe this is the night on which I
promised to see you again; am I not

“You are right,” returned Cicely,

“I am extremely sorry that I have thus
long kept you in waiting; but some very
important business called me away.”

“But come, have you nothing to say to
me after my absence, my pretty Cicely?”
pursued Burrand, endeavoring to draw
her into conversation.

“Nothing, save that had you staid longer
away, I should have less cause for

Burrand compressed his lips, and a
dark smile lingered on his features as he

“So, you have grown a little ironical,
I perceive;” and turning to Mary, he
gave her a peculiar look, when she immediately
left the room. “But come, dear
Cicely,” continued he, endeavoring to
take her hand, “why will you feign what
you do not feel?”

“I never feign,” replied she, withdrawing
her hand, and moving her chair somewhat

“O, Cicely, if you did but know how
much I love you.”

“'Tis false!” interrupted she, with
flashing eyes; “you love me not. You
say this but to cover base design!”

“Ha! who hath told you this?”

“Your features.”

“Nay, my lovely Cicely, you misjudge
me: I would not wrong you!”

“Then go your way—let me go mine.”

“O, Cicely, you do not mean this!”

“And wherefore not? Do you think
I prefer a prison to liberty?”

“But you shall have liberty, sweet one;
only be mine, and you shall have everything
you may ask, within my power to
grant; refuse, and you shall know what
I can do!”

“You continue to threaten, then, it
seems; this is brave in an American officer—
a powerful man—to steal away a
girl, by cowardly ruffians, and then
threaten her because she does not love
him—because she will not consent to
be by him degraded!—truly, this is

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“I see 'tis useless to dally farther with
you. I now say—as I said when I last
saw you—you must be mine—you shall
be mine! You are in my power; think
not you can escape—'tis impossible; think
not you will have assistance, for you are
far from friends, and he is bold who dares
to cross my will!”

“I know all this,” said Cicely, calmly,
but firmly; “I have conned the matter
over well; and, ere you take this daring
step—ere your soul is deeper steeped in
crime—I charge you, solemnly charge
you! to pause—reflect! Reason well
the matter, and what, after all, will you
have gained—even supposing you succeed
in your foul intent?—nothing. On
the contrary, you will have ruined one
who never did you wrong: will it not be
a serious death-bed thought, when you
are approaching the confines of eternity?
when about to stand in the presence of

“You reason prettily,” said Burrand,
with a wicked smile—a smile which made
Cicely shudder; “but you reason like
the mass, who think there is a God—that
that the soul is immortal; with me such
thoughts do not have weight: I disbelieve
them all.”

“What!” cried Cicely, staring in
alarm—“do you disbelieve there is a

“I do.”

“Then God protect me! else am I
lost;” and, turning her eyes upward,
she murmured a prayer.

“Pshaw! this is idling time!” said
Burrand, approaching her.

“Off! villain, off!” cried Cicely,
springing from her seat, and drawing the
dagger; “you see that I am armed;
press not upon me, else my blood be on
your head! For, solemnly I swear! if
you persist, this pointed steel shall free
my spirit. I will drive it through and
through my heart, ere you shall clasp me
other than a corpse!”

Burrand paused. He saw, by a glance,
that Cicely would fulfill her threat, should
he still persist; and, consequently, his
only course was now to manage so as to
disarm her.

“Well, well, my gentle Cicely,” said
he, “I see that you are obstinate toward
my advances, and I like you the better
for it. It was but done to try your

“O, sir! then you will not—will not
wrong me?” cried Cicely, beseechingly.

“No, Cicely, I will not. You shall be
returned to your friends.”

“God of Heaven! I thank thee!” exclaimed
she, dropping the dagger—clasping
her hands—and looking upward, with
tearful eyes.

Burrand gazed for a moment upon her
in undisguished admiration. Wicked as he
was, this noble sight affected even him.'
Twas but for a moment, however; good
thoughts, or good intents, ne'er held a
place with him; for, as the water when
separated by the falling in of some ponderous
globe, again rushes back with twofold
power, burying the mass within its
tide—so the evil in the heart of Burrand,
when separated by the good, collected
and returned with double fury. Springing
forward with a bound, he caught the dagger
from the floor, and, turning to Cicely,

“Now I have thee!” and he grasped
her by the wrist, and fixed his dark, lascivious
eyes upon her.

Cicely uttered a wild, heart-piercing
scream, and attempted to free herself
from his grasp.

“Nay, 'tis useless,” said Burrand,
seizing her with both hands, in a rude
manner. “By hell! if you escape me
now, then do I give you liberty.”

Again Cicely uttered a thrilling scream.

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At this instant the door was burst open,
and Gerolstein, pale and breathless, rushed
into the room.

“That voice! that voice!” cried he,
wildly; “by heavens! 'tis she! 'tis
Cicely! O, Cicely, do you not know

On the entrance of Gerolstein, Burrand
relaxed his hold of Cicely, and started
back, to be on guard in case of danger;
surprise then held him mute—while
Cicely, wild with fluctuating feelings,
gazed upon her deliverer in joyful wonder.

“Do you not know me? my own, dear
Cicely!” cried Gerolstein, throwing out
his arms.

“A thought—a wild, thrilling thought—
passed through the brain of Cicely; she
looked again—yes! it must be him—it
was him—and with the cry of—

“Father! dear, dear father!” she
sprang forward, and fainted in his arms.

“Quick! good fellows, quick!” said a
voice from without; “he entered here;”
and the next moment the door was again
thrown open, and Edward Langley, with
three or four stout followers, sprang into
the room.

“Heavens!” exclaimed Langley;
“what do I behold! Cicely in the arms
of a stranger? Have I then sought her
rescue to find myself dishonored by the

“There stands the man who can best
answer that question,” replied Gerolstein,
pointing to Burrand.

“Who are you, sir?” asked Langley,
sternly, turning to Burrand; “how came
you here?”

Burrand saw there was but one way
of escape, and quickly made answer:

“My name is one of honor—I came
to rescue this lady, who is now in the
arms of her seducer.”

“ 'Tis false! 'tis a lie, as black as hell!”
cried Gerolstein, in rage. “Cicely, poor
girl, shall be my proof; see! she recovers.”

As he spoke, all eyes were directed to
Cicely, who, awaking from her swoon,
started, rubbed her eyes, and looked
hurriedly around, exclaiming:

“Father—Edward—what is the meaning
of this? am I awake, or is this a
delusive dream?”

“Father!” cried Langley, springing
forward, and clasping Cicely in his arms—
“is this your father, dearest Cicely?”

“It is,” murmured Cicely.

“ 'Tis false!” said Burrand. “Her
name is Vandemore; this is Gerolstein,
the notorious Captain of the League.”

“Ha! this is the man we seek—seize
him!” cried another of the party.

“Not while a traitor lives!” exclaimed
Gerolstein, as he drew from his belt a
pistol, and fired at Burrand.

“You have missed,” remarked Barrand,
coolly, as the ball passed through
the wall close to his head; “I shall remember
this!” and he ground together
his teeth.

Ere Gerolstein could try a second, he
was seized and disarmed by three of the
men; while Cicely, uttering a scream,
sprang from Langley, exclaiming:

“Oh! do not believe that villain! this
is some terrible mistake; this is my
father, Vandemore—'tis not Gerolstein!”

“Here is mystery,” said Langley,
turning to Gerolstein—“will you explain,
sir, which is your right name?”

“Both!” replied Gerolstein, gloomily.
“I feel my time has come; I no longer
care for concealment; my name is Gerolstein
Vandemore; to one am I known as
Vandemore, to the other as Gerolstein:
do with me as you will; I am ready.”

“Gerolstein Vandemore!” muttered
Burrand to himself;—“ 'tis the name, by
all the gods! Cicely, too—'tis so, 'tis so—
I have been duped—the girl he was to

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have destroyed is living—this is she: yet
shall he pay the penalty with his life, or
I know not my nature;” and, unperceived,
he glided from the room.

While this was taking place with Burrand,
the rest were not less active.

“Oh! father! father! is this true?”
cried Cicely, in the most piteous, agonizing
tones conceivable. “Oh! have you
thus linked yourself with men of crime?
Oh! father, dear father, say 'tis not so—
say 'tis false—'tis a lie, and I will bless

“ 'Tis true—'tis all true, dearest

“Oh, God!” exclaimed she, and sank
at his feet.

“Merciful Heavens!” cried Langley,
pressing his hands upon his temples—
“can this be true? Cicely, the gentle,
the lovely Cicely, the daughter of an outlaw?”

“No, that is not true,” said Vandemore,
deeply affected.

“Explain! explain!” cried Langley,
breathlessly, while Cicely looked up in

“Not in this world,” muttered Burrand,
who had paused at the door—“not
in this world, and there is no next! She
knows not who she is—she never shall

While speaking, he drew a pistol from
his breast, and deliberately glancing
along the barrel, he touched the trigger—
it flashed—the report rang out—and ball
entered Vandemore's head—and he fell
forward, even over the gentle Cicely,
whose lovely features were bespattered
with his blood.

All stood aghast—horrified—dumb
with amazement, at an act so bold—so
unexpected—while Cicely again swooned
from the effects.

“Great God! who could have done
this?” cried Langley. All sprang to the
door—it was densely dark—no one could
be seen. “The officer—ha! he is gone—'
twas he—'twas he!”

Oh! what a sight was there!—Vandemore
stretched upon the floor, on his
side—his mouth a little ajar, gasping for
breath—his features distorted with the
throes of death, over which the blood
was trickling from the wound in his
head—while beside him, apparently
lifeless, lay the beautiful Cicely—her
features without color, save here and
there the red spots of the other's blood.

Edward, as this caught his eye, started,

“Oh, God! what a sight!” and
springing to Cicely, he knelt beside her,
and commenced chafing her hand, while
the others flew to Vandemore, and proceeded
to examine his wound.

“It is mortal,” said one, who appeared
to be somewhat skilled in surgery—“he
can survive but a few minutes.”

At this moment Cicely opened her
eyes, with a shudder, partly raised herself,
and seeing Vandemore, uttered a
scream, threw herself forward, clasped
him around the neck, bloody as he was,
and buried her head upon his breast,
while her whole frame was shaken with
terrible emotions.

It was an awful, heart-rending sight,
and the pen droops in attempting to deseribe

This seemed to revive the dying man
a little, for he attempted to rise, and as
he did so, gasped out:

“Cicely—will—will—you for—forgive
me? Cicely—I am not your—your
father. I—I am dy-ing, Cicely. This:
paper (partly withdrawing one from his:
breast)—this will—tell all—all—all;' ”
and sinking back with a groan he expired.

For some time no one moved or spoke,
so powerfully were they affected by the
piteous sight. Cicely, in a kneeling

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posture, was gazing upon him with marble
features, and clasped hands—her very
eyes seemed glazed.

Edward at length moved forward, and
touched her on the shoulder:

“Cicely,” said he, “dear Cicely, look
up, my love!”

Cicely slowly raised her eyes to his,
with a mournful look; then rising herself,
she took a step forward, buried her
head upon his breast, and wept like a child.

It was a thrilling moment to Edward,
as he drew the being of his love—this
tender flower—to his heart.

But why prolong this scene. Matters
were soon arranged that one of the party
should procure horses, and that Edward
and Cicely should return to Covington,
while the others should remain, and on
the following day inter the remains of
Gerolstein Vandemore. About his person
were found some fifty dollars, and a
letter, directed to Molly Magore—the one
he had attempted to draw forth as he
expired—all of which Langley took possession

While waiting for the horses, considerable
curiosity was excited by Cicely informing
them that Mary was in another
apratment. Search was made, but nothing
of her person discovered, and it was supposed
that she and Burrand had fled
together. About daylight the horses
arrived, and Edward and Cicely set out
upon their return.

Perhaps, ere we close this chapter, a
word of explanation may not be deemed

Burrand, after leaving the cave, at the
time of the attack, took a direct line for
the cottage, which was distant some five
miles—while Gerolstein, in wandering
about, had accidentally come upon it; and
seeing the lights, and hearing the shriek
of Cicely, and rightly divining it was her
voice, he had rushed to her assistance.

Langley, with some three or four of
his party in their search, chanced to be
near the place also; and, likewise seeing
the lights, hearing the screams, and marking
one enter, who they took to be one of
the League, they rushed in, as has been

We will briefly state here, as we may
not refer to it again, that by the perseverance
of the citizens, and the terrible and
summary manner in which they dealt
with all the aggressors that fell in their
power, (some being shot in Lawrenceburgh,
and elsewhere—some being hung,)
that the League was, for the time, disbanded
and broken. We say for the time;
for it is supposed to be in existence even
at the present day, though in nothing of
the force which it was at that date.

Having said this much, we will dismiss
the outlaws and their pursuers, and turn
to another, the final, and closing scene.


The morning on which we left Edward
and Cicely on their return, some hours
later, was beautiful, most beautiful. The
sun, as he crept up the arching vault,
gradually dispelled the fog—which rolled
away in large, cloud-like masses—and
then shone out in glorious refulgence.
Here and there bright water drops lingered,
for awhile, on blade and flower,
giving an animated sparkle to the whole
face of nature—while a soft breeze swept
gently by, bearing its stolen perfume with
it. The little birds, as they flew from
branch to branch among the thick foliage
of the trees, or skimmed lightly over the
more open plain or meadow, tuned their
silver voices with a heart-felt joy divinely

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musical. It was, in fact, one of those
beautiful days of summer, in which we see
everything through a lovely medium—in
which everything seems at peace and harmony
with the whole—and we, as we
gaze upon it, feel such a noble, highgushing
of soul—such lofty, inspiring
thoughts—that our mind is unconsciously
borne upward to the supreme fount—to
God, the holy giver of all—and impulsively
we bow in adoration.

Such, or similar, were the thoughts and
feelings at work in the breast of Molly
Magore, as she stood in the door of the
old cottage, and gazed forth upon the enchanting
scene. Since the capture of
Cicely, she had scarcely ate or slept, so
much had her mind been troubled with
doubts and fears, alternately struggling
with hope; and the effects of their many
combats were plainly visible on her altered
features; but now, she could not
tell why, for the first time since Cicely's
absence, she felt a sudden thrill of joy—
her heart seemed to expand, and it seemed
to her she was at peace with everything—
could love everything around her—and
drawing to her a chair, she seated herself
thereon, and mused away a couple of

At length she started up with a cry of
joy—before her stood Edward and
Cicely—and the next moment the latter
was locked in her arms; while the tears
of both—tears of joy—mingled together.

“O, Cicely! dear, dear Cicely! have
you returned to me again? Do I again
behold you?” cried Molly, starting back
and gazing upon her. “Yes, yes! it is,
it is my own dear little Cicely!” and
springing forward, she was again clasped
to her heart.

“Thank God!” said Cicely, “I have
once more returned.”

“Ay, my daughter, thank God, that is
right—thank God; for he it is who has
borne you up through your trials, and
returned you safe to your home: thank
God! thank God! But where have you
been, my child? you have suffered—
you look pale!”

Cicely thought of her many trials—
her escape—and shuddered.

“Oh! mother, I have been—I cannot
tell you where; I have suffered—I cannot
tell you what; but I have seen
strange, strange things—and horrid, horrid
sights. But you forget my deliverer,
there!” and Cicely pointed to Edward,
who was standing a little back, and, with
tearful eyes, gazing upon this affectionate

“True, true,” said Molly, turning to
Edward, and grasping his hand; “in my
joy of beholding my Cicely, I had forgotten
you, sir; may God bless you, sir,
for this noble act!”

“May God bless me, I echo,” returned'
Langley, pressing her hand; “but forthe
noble act, as you are pleased to term
it, I will say I have done no more than
my duty—nothing more than I would do
an hundred times again, were I an hundred
times to have the opportunity. I
only feel I have done too little;” and he
glanced at Cicely with a lover's eye, who
rewarded him with a similar glance, and
then modestly turned away her head.

“You are a noble fellow,” said Molly,
and her look told she meant what she
said. “But come!—come! be seated,
and tell me all about it: I am anxious to
hear it from your sweet lips, Cicely;
something told me this morning all would
yet be well, and now that I see you here,
I am as eager for the story as a child.”

In a few minutes all three were seated,
and Cicely, in a style of sweet simplicity,
related what had occurred; but as the
reader is already acquainted with the incidents,
it will be unnecessary for us to
detail them again.

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As Cicely came to the narration relative
to her meeting with Vandemore, Molly
grew more and more interested; but
when she spoke of his death from an unknown
hand, she started from her seat—
clasped her hands—uttering, “Dead!
dead! is he hands—uttering, “Dead!
dead! is he then dead? Cicely's father
dead! and a robber, too! Oh! this is

“He is dead,” said Langley, joining
in, “that is true, most true, for I myself
saw him die,—though he is not Cicely's

“How!” asked Molly, breathlessly—
“not her father, say you?”

“Those were his dying words. But
probably this letter will explain,” and he
produced the one found on the person of
Vandemore, superscribed, “Molly Magore,
Covington, Ky.”

Molly hastily took it—broke the seal—
glanced at the contents—but immediately
handed it back, saying:

Read it, Edward—read it; my eyes
are dim—I cannot see the letters.”

Edward took it, and thus commenced:

To Molly Magore.

Madam:—When this reaches you, I
shall probably be no more. I believe
that we are often warned of our approaching
dissolution, and I feel that mine is
near at hand. What my end will be,
God only knows; yet, while I contemplate
and write, I shudder. Seven years
ago, I placed in your charge Cicely

“What!” gasped Molly, interrupting
him—clasping her head with her hands—
“Cicely Edgerton! yes, yes—go on! go

—“Who,” resumed Edward, reading,
“I gave out as my daughter, Cicely Vandemore,
but for reasons best known to
myself, which may never be explained.
She is the daughter of a wealthy family
in the city of New York, and was by me
stolen from her parents in the year 1790,
then some two years of age.”

“Heavens!” exclaimed Cicely, in
wonder—“can this be true?”

“Every word of it!” cried Molly,
wildly; “go on! go on!”

“I received pay from an unknown villain
to put an end to her life, and took a
dreadful oath to that effect; but which,
thank God! as you see, I did not fulfill;
for, young as she was, she stole the affections
of my heart, and, having nothing to
love, I loved her—ay, loved her, strange
as it may seem, wildly and madly. I
determined to rear her, and call her my
own child, at least, till she should come
of age. It was a wild, wicked thought,
to deprive her so long of her parents, I
know; and yet I felt I could not yield
her up before. Well, I lived on; the
sum I received for this daring crime was
large, and enabled me to live in comfortable
circumstances for several years; but
at last my funds ran low, and I came to
the West for the purpose of seeking some
honest employment, and ending my days.
But, I know not why, I never could be
honest. I never could resist temptation;
and, falling in with bad company, brilliant
offers were made me if I would join a
band in a lawless enterprise. On the impulse
of the moment, while under the
influence of liquor, I consented, and was
sworn in by an oath—a dreadful oath—
which I could not, dare not break. Terrible
were my reflections, when I came to
myself, and thought of the pure, the innocent
Cicely—what would become of
her, and the like—for I now felt myself
bound—dreadfully bound—and no escape.
I sat down and drew up those
papers which I left in your possession—
so that in case of accident to myself, the
girl, if she lived, would sometime know
the facts of her birth. In them you will
find the corroboration of this statement;

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which, should this reach you ere she is of
age, I give you privilege to open; for
there are many things therein of importance
in establishing her parentage.

“Well, the girl, as you know, I consigned
to your care, and went forth. My
life, thereafter, I shall not attempt to explain;
suffice, it has been one of mystery
and crime. I have frequently sent you
money; but whether you have received it
or not, I know not. I have often learned
of Cicely, sweet girl, and know that under
your charge she has fared well—for
which, God bless you! I have yearned
to see her—tell her so; but I suppose we
may not meet again on the shores of
time; whether we shall in the world to
come, is a mystery I cannot solve. Kiss
her a dozen times for me, and say to her,
hard-hearted as I am, I have wept over
her memory hours together.

“Farewell! God bless you! Farewell—

Gerolstein Vandemore.

“O Cicely, Cicely!” cried Molly, as
Edward concluded the letter, throwing
her arms around the other's neck in a
transport of joy; “I have often, often
fancied this; and now that my dream has
come true, it almost seems incredible.
The ways of Providence are indeed

“Mother, mother! what means this?”
exclaimed Cicely, in wonder—almost
doubting her senses, as a wild crowd of
thoughts rushed swiftly through her brain.

“It means, Cicely Edgerton,” said
Molly, wiping her eyes, “that these rough
old arms have held you in your father's
mansion when a child; ay, and when you
were stolen from me, I was not only cast
forth upon the heartless world, without a
friend, but I was tried, Cicely, tried for
being your supposed murderess!”

“Is it possible?” exclaimed Langley
and Cicely together.

“And now—and now,” contined
Molly, seemingly unheedful of everything
around her—“and now I can restore
her, and they shall acknowledge they
were wrong! O, merciful God of Hea
ven! I thank thee—I thank thee! my
bliss is too deep for words;” and for a
few minutes Molly paced the room, wringing
her hands in a transport of joy, almost
amounting to agony, while the
others, occupied with thoughts of their
own, gazed upon her in silence.

At length Molly paused, and then approaching
Cicely, she took her hand,
placed it in that of Edward's, exclaiming:
“Take her, Edward Langley, take her;
you have won her, and she is worthy of
you: her connexions will not shame
yours: take her—protect her—love her.”

“Cicely!” gasped Langley, almost
wild with delight, as their glances met in
the holy unison of love.

“Edward!” murmured she, faintly,
and sank into his arms.

The pure, deep, holy, transporting bliss
of that moment, was worthy a record in
Heaven; we will not attempt to describe
it. Molly, half frantic, fairly danced
around the room; while Edward clasped
the lovely Cicely forever to his heart.

And now kind reader, a few words
more and we must part—must bid you
adieu, at least, for a time. We are loth
to do so; for while we bask in the light
of your kind smiles, the sun of hope seems
ever in its zenith of glory; but stern necessity
commands, and our only choice is
to obey.

The package in the possession of Molly
Magore was opened, and found to contain
sufficient proofs to establish the birthright
of Cicely Edgerton, which was
afterward done, though not until she
had learned to write her name Cicely
Langley, which she was enabled to do in

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less than a month from the foregoing

Accompanied by her husband and
Molly Magore, in the ensuing fall she
visited New York, and found her parents,
who were still living in the luxury of

Great was the excitement, and great
the rejoicing with them, when their long
lost daughter, and only heir, was again
restored; and princely entertainments
were given in honor of the event.

There were some who did not rejoice;
but these were disappointed heirs, of
whom Aaron Burrand was one.

It was a proud moment to poor old
Molly, when after a life of troubles and
perplexities, she stood before her former
accusers, and pointed, with glowing
checks, to their beautiful child, returned
to them, through her unceasing care,
pure in thought as when she slept in

In justice to them, we will say, they
did all in their power to repair the error
done her in former years. She was not
only publicly exonerated, but a worthy
income settled upon her for life; and the
remainder of her days glided gently past;
and a few years after, the pillow of her
death bed was smoothed by one whom
she ever claimed as her daughter, Cicely

The parents of Cicely dying about
the same time, left her sole heir to their
vast possessions; when with Edward she
returned to the West, and purchased a
large estate in Kentucky, where a son and
daughter were added to the family.

Forty years have passed,* and one by
one have our characters disappeared from
the stage of action, and Cicely only remains.

The case of Aaron Burrand is too well
known to require much explanation from
us. His deeds are recorded on the page
of history in glaring colors, serving as
beacon lights to warn men to steer clear
of the shoals of a worthless, grasping
ambition. All his high-wrought schemes
of glory failed him, and he was afterward
tried by a jury of his countrymen, and,
by a mere chance, escaped the awful
punishment so justly awarded to a Conspirator.

In conclusion, we will say, it is not an
unfrequent occurrence, that a fine, noble
looking lady, dressed in black, some fifty-seven
years of age, is seen walking the
streets of Cincinnati at the present day,
who, should you question her in regard
to her past life, would, undoubtedly, tell
you some strange things relative to what
came beneath her own notice—without
taking into consideration a hundred other
stories in circulation, at the time—of
which space has not permitted us even to
mention—concerning that far-famed, notorious
combination—the LEAGUE OF THE MIAMI.

THE END eaf470n1

* This was written and published in 1845.

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Bennett, Emerson, 1822-1905 [1851], The league of the Miami. (Lorenzo Stratton, Cincinnati) [word count] [eaf470T].
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