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A short story by Charles M. Skinner

The Swim At Indian Head

Title:     The Swim At Indian Head
Author: Charles M. Skinner [More Titles by Skinner]

At Indian Head, Maryland, are the government proving-grounds, where the racket of great guns and splintering of targets are a deterrent to the miscellaneous visitations of picnics. Trouble has been frequently associated with this neighborhood, as it is now suggested in the noisy symbolry of war. In prehistoric days it was the site of an aboriginal town, whose denizens were like other Indians in their love for fight and their willingness to shed blood. Great was the joy of all these citizens when a scouting party came in, one day, bringing with them the daughter of one of their toughest old hunters and a young buck, from another faction, who had come a-courting; her in the neighboring shades.

Capture meant death, usually, and he knew it, but he held himself proudly and refused to ask for mercy. It was resolved that he should die. The father's scorn for his daughter, that she should thus consort with an enemy, was so great that he was on the point of offering her as a joint sacrifice with her lover, when she fell on her knees before him and began a fervent appeal, not for herself, but for the prisoner. She would do anything to prove her strength, her duty, her obedience, if they would set him free. He had done injury to none. What justice lay in putting him to the torture?

Half in earnest, half in humor, the chief answered, "Suppose we were to set him on the farther shore of the Potomac, do you love him well enough to swim to him?"

"I do."

"The river is wide and deep."

"I would drown in it rather than that harm should come to him."

The old chief ordered the captive, still bound, to be taken to a point on the Virginia shore, full two miles away, in one of their canoes, and when the boat was on the water he gave the word to the girl, who instantly plunged in and followed it. The chief and the father embarked in another birch--ostensibly to see that the task was honestly fulfilled; really, perhaps, to see that the damsel did not drown. It was a long course, but the maid was not as many of our city misses are, and she reached the bank, tired, but happy, for she had saved her lover and gained him for a husband.

[The end]
Charles M. Skinner's short story: Swim At Indian Head