"What does he mean by his Indians, Jos?" he asked fiercely. "I will not have my name in his book if it makes me his."
When Jos reluctantly interpreted this, the Agent lost his temper. "That's all the use there is trying to do anything with them! Let him go, then, if he doesn't want any help from the Government!"
"Oh, no, no." cried Aunt Ri. "Yeow jest explain it to Jos, an' he'll make him understand."
Alessandro's face had darkened. All this seemed to him exceedingly suspicious. Could it be possible that Aunt Ri and Jos, the first whites except Mr. Hartsel he had ever trusted, were deceiving him? No; that was impossible. But they themselves might be deceived. That they were simple and ignorant, Alessandro well knew. "Let us go!" he said. "I do not wish to sign any paper."
"Naow don't be a fool, will yeow? Yeow ain't signin' a thing!" said Aunt Ri. "Jos, yeow tell him I say there ain't anythin' a bindin' him, hevin' his name 'n' thet book, It's only so the Agent kin know what Injuns wants help, 'n' where they air. Ain't thet so?" she added, turning to the Agent. "Tell him he can't hev the Agency doctor, ef he ain't on the Agency books."
Not have the doctor? Give up this precious medicine which might save his baby's life? No! he could not do that. Majella would say, let the name be written, rather than that.
"Let him write the name, then," said Alessandro, doggedly; but he went out of the room feeling as if he had put a chain around his neck.
THE medicine did the baby no good. In fact, it did her harm. She was too feeble for violent remedies. In a week, Alessandro appeared again at the Agency doctor's door. This time he had come with a request which to his mind seemed not unreasonable. He had brought Baba for the doctor to ride. Could the doctor then refuse to go to Saboba? Baba would carry him there in three hours, and it would be like a cradle all the way. Alessandro's name was in the Agency books. It was for this he had written it,-- for this and nothing else,-- to save the baby's life. Having thus enrolled himself as one of the Agency Indians, he had a claim on this the Agency .doctor. And that his application might be all in due form, he took with him the Agency interpreter. He had had a misgiving, before, that Aunt Ri's kindly volubility had not been well timed. Not one unnecessary word, was Alessandro's motto.