The Scouts of the Valley - Joseph A. Altsheler - Страница 1 из 394


THE SCOUTS OF THE VALLEY
by Joseph A. Altsheler
CHAPTER I. THE LONE CANOE
A light canoe of bark, containing a single human figure, moved swiftly
up one of the twin streams that form the Ohio. The water, clear and
deep, coming through rocky soil, babbled gently at the edges, where it
lapped the land, but in the center the full current flowed steadily and
without noise.
The thin shadows of early dusk were falling, casting a pallid tint over
the world, a tint touched here and there with living fire from the sun,
which was gone, though leaving burning embers behind. One glowing shaft,
piercing straight through the heavy forest that clothed either bank,
fell directly upon the figure in the boat, as a hidden light illuminates
a great picture, while the rest is left in shadow. It was no common
forest runner who sat in the middle of the red beam. Yet a boy, in
nothing but years, he swung the great paddle with an ease and vigor that
the strongest man in the West might have envied. His rifle, with the
stock carved beautifully, and the long, slender blue barrel of the
border, lay by his side. He could bring the paddle into the boat,
grasp the rifle, and carry it to his shoulder with a single, continuous
movement.
His most remarkable aspect, one that the casual observer even would have
noticed, was an extraordinary vitality. He created in the minds of those
who saw him a feeling that he lived intensely every moment of his life.
Born and-bred in the forest, he was essentially its child, a perfect


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