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given as Wetzel and Maywood, were watching from the summit of Mount Pleasant the movements of the Indians; for what purpose is not known. By some, it is surmised, that they were seeking redress for some depredation on the white settlements along the Ohio river; by others, that their mission was to learn the strength and designs of the savages. The rocky recesses and dense growth of pine and other trees on the top and slopes of the mount afforded the scouts perfect concealment, and at the same time, in the event of discovery and attack, a fortress of defense, as the few accessible points to the summit were easily guarded from ambush. Their principal danger, therefore, in the event of an attack, was in being starved into capitulation by a protracted siege. They easily saw the coming and going of the inhabitants of Tarhe Town, which was situated one mile to the south, and on the tablelands where the railroad works and agricultural works now are. They had succeeded for several days in maintaining perfect concealment, and at the same time in keeping a sharp look-out.
Three-quarters of a mile west of Mount Pleasant is a hill that at the time was covered with a dense forest. The intermediate ground between the hill and the mount was also covered with trees and underbrush. A few feet from the southwest base of the hill flowed the Hocking, and beyond it, and stretching off to the west, was a prairie, more or less grown over with high grass and clusters of willow-bushes. Immediately from the south base of the hill flowed a strong current of pure limpid water, which is familiarly known to this day as the " Cold Spring." The approach to it was over a tolerably well worn foot-path round its eastern and south-eastern margin, for the Indians were in the habit of frequenting the spring for supplies of water. The path was entirely concealed by the forest and thick growth of pawpaw-bushes. With the exception of the trodden path, everything there was in the same condition'of nature it had been for unknown ages. The stream itself was overhung with the growths along its banks. Any one going to and from the spring was, therefore, exposed only to the chance of meeting stray Indians, who, for .the time, might be detached from the main body that was closely watched by Wetzel and Maywood.
To the Cold Spring the scouts went to get water, one keep
ing watch on the mount while the other performed the hazardous task. It was growing toward the close of the day. "Every leaf was at rest," and that awful stillness which will forever remain unknown to all those unfamiliar with forest life, reigned all around. Not a sound, save the humming of insects in the tree-tops, broke the silence profound. To those who have penetrated the depths of the forest, this buzzing of flies will be remembered as only serving to make the silence, the "dumb silence, still more dumb."
It was a little more than one mile to Tarhe Town, but if a thousand miles had intervened, it could not have been more quiet in the vicinity of the Cold Spring. True, roving Indians might have lurked almost at the next step, unheard, for so solitary and silent was their tread when off the war-path, or when not engaged in some of their many ways of making sport, that one might pass almost in contact with them, wholly unaware of their near presence. To those unfamilar with Indian life in the forest, no idea can be formed of their cat-like movements.' Naturally of few words, their feet shod with the soft moccasin, and traveling, as is their habit, in single file, they move as noiselessly as if miles away, so far as human ears are concerned. This is doubtless owing to their trained habits of stealing stealthily on their prey. On the other hand, their appalling war whoop, familiar only to frontiersmen, when excited, makes the forest ring with wild echoes far and near, and creates the instinct of seeking to widen the space between them and the white man whose ear catches the sound. Even the beasts of the forest scamper away to their wild recesses to seek safety from their deadly foe, as soon as the shriek reaches them.
Wetzel had been to the spring, and with his canteens filled with water, was stealing as stealthily away as he came. In his right hand he grasped his unerring rifle, while his eyes and ears were wide open to catch the faintest sound or movement, or intimations of unwelcome presence. He was just making the bend round the south corner of the hill, not exceeding fifty yards from the spring, when suddenly, and without the least premonitory sound, he -found himself visa-vis with a couple of squaws. There was not a moment to be lost in deliberation, and his plan was formed with lightning speed, for he knew that a yell from one of the savages before him would speedily bring to the spot a score or more of warriors, when his fleetness of foot would be his only chance of safety; and besides, he knew such a catastrophe could not fail of discovering his retreat, greatly imperiling the chances of escape. With the quickness and agility of a tiger he dropped his gun, and springing forward, grasped the throat of each in his powerful hands, rushed into the stream but a few feet to the right, and plunged their heads beneath the water, which was considerably swollen by recent rains, where he intended to keep them until all danger of making a noise was forever at an end with both of them. One of them was old, the other young and athletic. The latter resisted heroically, and finally, getting her head above water, and her mouth cleared, she addressed Wetzel in English. This caused him to desist, and to question her, when, to his great astonishment, she informed him that she was a white girl, and a captive. Time was precious, and ascertaining that the old squaw was quite dead, the scout and the rescued girl started "for Mount Pleasant. They had no more than reached the base of the mount, when, from back in the direction they had come, came the most deafening yells, as if from five hundred throats, which told them that the body of the drowned squaw had been found, as well as the trail of the white man's foot. There was nothing now left for them but to gain the summit as soon as possible, and prepare for the defense, for they knew the savages in great numbers would soon be upon them. They were not long in gaining the top, where they rejoined Maywood, and a brief council was held, as to the course of defense to be pursued.
There were not more than twoor three points of access, and to these the attention of the besieged was entirely directed. Night was fast coming on, and the scouts were told by the girl, who was able to converse freely with them, that there was little probability that the Indians would hazard the attempt to gain the top of the mount in the dark. Their means of defense consisted of two rifles, and a supply of ammunition sufficient to hold out for several days. Their greatest source of anxiety arose from the fact of their scanty supply of provisions, and the utter impossibility of procuring water, unless the passage to the spring and back could be accomplished in the night. But that feat seemed too full of peril to be thought of, for they knew that every possible point of escape from the mount would be carefully guarded by dark assassins.
It was not long after Wetzel and the girl gained the summit of Mount Pleasant, when they were surrounded on all sides by the howling savages, who sent up at them the most demoniac yells of defiance, which continued until darkness came on, when all was profoundly silent. In the meantime the points of access were closely sentineled; but throughout the tedious and sleepless night, no signs of attempt to scale the rocky fortress were indicated.
The night passed away as the earth rolled round to meet the God of Day, who was again to light up the world with his burning face in the East. Wetzel, Maywood and the girl, felt no want of slumber throughout the terrible vigil. Their nerves were wrought up to too great a degree of tension to permit nature to assert her demands, for well they knew that death, perhaps by terrible torture, would be their certain doom if they should fall into the hands of their merciless foes. They knew also that with the return of day the attack would be vigorously renewed. Their supply of water was nearly out, and their little stock of provisions was diminishing, and starvation and famishing seemed imminent, unless they should go down and surrender themselves to a fate far more to be feared than starvation and the agonies of consuming thirst. They resolved, therefore, to withstand the siege to the last, rather than to submit themselves to the fiendish revenge of the relentless savages. To still further add to the terror of the scouts, the discovery was made towards morning that the girl had disappeared in the darkness—perhaps gone back to the camp to report their helplessness, and to aid in their ultimate capture.
They were greatly surprised however, as the morning advanced, that there were no indications of Indians below. Not even the sound of a voice could be heard far or near. In the meantime the watch was kept up, lest some secret and silent approach was being made. Still the silence that reigned all around remained unbroken, a circumstance that further contributed to increase their apprehensions.
Near the eastern part of the "Standing Stone" (the name given to Mount Pleasant by the Indians) was a steep and rugged ascent, over points of jagged rocks, down which the eye peered more than a hundred feet through the thick overhanging foliage, while the sentinel above could keep himself concealed from even the sharpest Indian eye. It was perhaps ten o'clock, or about that hour, when Wetzel, from his concealment, caught sight of a stalwart Wyandot silently and cautiously creeping upon a footing far down below. He at last gained his point, and paused, with rifle in hand, as beseemed to listen, and perhaps calculated his plans for a further ascent. It was but a moment. There was a curl of smoke, a sharp crack of a rifle, and the brawny savage 'sprang into the air but to be precipitated headlong on the rocks far beneath, a lifeless corpse. Almost instantly another took his place, seeming to come from a crevice on the left. Another curl of smoke; another sharp crack, and another tumble into the abyss as suddenly followed. A third phantom curl, and three bronzed bodies lay a crushed mass of flesh and bones at the foot of Mount Pleasant. This third tragedy was instantly followed by the wildest tumult from every point of the surrounding thickets below. Seemingly, a thousand guttural throats were opened to give vent to the most hellish rage. The clamor lasted several minutes, when all again became quiet, and the remainder of the day passed with the usual stillness of the forest solitudes.
With the accession of the darkness of the second night, Wetzel and Maywood seated themselves together on a pile of rocks, for the purpose of holding a counsel as to what was to be done. Their position was at a point just above where the three Indians had a few hours previously met so unexpectedly their doom. They were contemplating the chances of possible escape in the face of such imminent peril. It was to be a daring and perilous descent; but they were beginning to feel the pinchings of hunger and thirst; nevertheless, they were both powerful men, and very fleet on foot, and they hoped that if once they got safely to the table-land below, unperceived by their foes, to be able to effect their escape. Profound darkness and silence surrounded. Suddenly, and without the least premonitory sound whatever, a gentle hand was placed on Wetzel's shoulder, at the same time that a canteen filled with fresh water was placed on his knee, accompanied by a few small pieces of jerked venison ; and then, in a whisper, a female voice said, "Be on this spot to-morrow night, and await my coming." They began to interrogate the mys