350 HOW TOM WAS BORN A FRENCHMAN
my son keep them. Every living man is master of his property; only the dead possess nothing.'
The Captain glanced hastily towards the Indian, who did not move, and fell to on his supper as heartily as if he feared no danger. When he had finished he threw himself on the buffalo skin, but with no idea of going to sleep.
He had not been lying down very long, when the matting was raised and the woman peeped in cautiously. Neither sleeper stirred, so she went to the door of the hut and listened. No one was in sight, and she turned back and began to sharpen a long knife. The Captain watched her through his eyelashes and drew his own knife from his belt, opened it, and felt the edge.
Then steps were heard, and a minute later two big young men appeared bearing some game. They paused to look at the sleepers, and one of them asked his mother how they came there. For reply she led them silently behind the partition.
The Captain noiselessly turned so as to face the young Sioux, and noticed that, though apparently sound asleep, his head rested only on one hand, while the other lay by his side near his tomahawk.
Just then the matting was raised and the young men crawled silently under it, their mother's head just peeping out behind them.
Each approached one of the sleepers, then paused, looking at their mother.
' They sleep,' she whispered ; ' go on !'
At her word each son raised his arm to strike, but instantly fell back with a cry.
The Captain had plunged his knife into the breast of one, and the Sioux had split the skull of the other.
The old woman uttered a despairing shriek, and rushed off to the forest, and the Indian, picking up a lighted brand from the hearth, proceeded to set fire to the hut, whilst he executed a triumphant war dance round it.