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954 > Page 954 of The romance and tragedy of pioneer life. A popular account of the heroes and adventurers who, by their valor and war-craft, beat back the savages from the borders of civilization and gave the American forests to the plow and the sickle ..

954 INDIAN TRAGEDIES AND ROMANCES. not likely to be ensnared by the cunning of their foes, nor to fall victims to their scalping-knives and tomahawks, without a desperate, and on their part, advantageous struggle. For food they depended on jerked venison and corn bread, with which their knapsacks were well filled. They dared not kindle a fire, and the report of a shot from one of their rifles would at once have divulged their presence, and brought upon them the entire force of the Indians. For drink they depended upon some rain-water which still stood in the hollows of some of the rocks; but, after a short period, this store was exhausted, and they were thrown upon the alternative of either finding a new supply or abandoning their position. There was, however, the river flowing at the foot of the rock, and from it they resolved to procure their drink. But it was a dangerous undertaking, for the river was open to the view of the village, and the party being discovered Avould unquestionably bring upon him the savages, with the unerring shots from their rifles or the fatal arrow. To accomplish this most hazardous enterprise, McClellan, being the oldest, resolved to make the attempt; and, with his trustworthy rifle in his hand, and their two canteens strung across his shouldei-s, he cautiously descended by a circuitous route to the prairie, skirting the hills on the north, and, under cover of the hazel thickets, he reached the river, and, turning a bold point of the hill, he found a beautiful and fresh spring within a few feet of the river bank. He filled his canteens, and returned in safety to his companion. It was now determined to have a fresh supply of water every day, and this duty was performed alternately. But " the jug," says the proverb, " goes to the well until it breaks;" and the procuring of their water-supply was destined one day to end their observations. This episode is described by General Sanderson, as follows: " On one of these occasions, after White had filled his canteens, he sat a few minutes watching the limpid element as it came gurgling out of the bosom of the earth, when the light