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Lost in the Wilds

Bowkett had not a thought to spare for Wilfred


The

first red beams of the rising sun were tinging the glassy surface of the lake when Bowkett came upon the scattered quadrupeds, and drove them, with Wilfred's assistance, down to its blue waters for their morning drink.

Diome's shouts recalled them to their own breakfast. He was a man of many tongues, invariably scolding in French--especially the horses and dogs, who heeded it, he asserted, better than any other language except Esquimau--explaining in English, and coming out with the Indian "Caween" when discourse required an animated "no." "Caween," he reiterated now, as Bowkett asked, "Are we to dawdle about all day for these English cow-keepers?" For neither Forgill nor Marley had yet put in an appearance.

The breakfast was not hurried over. The fire was built up bigger than ever before they left, that its blackened remains might mark their camping place for days, if the farming men came after them.

Wilfred, who had buckled the saddle on Brownie, received a riding lesson, and then they started, Diome driving the cart. Wilfred kept beside him at first, but growing bolder as his spirits rose, he trotted onward to exchange a word with Bowkett.

The sharp, frosty night seemed likely to be followed by a day of bright and mellow sunshine. The exhilarating morning breeze banished all thoughts of fear and care from the light-hearted trio; and

when the tall white stems of the pines appeared to tremble in the mid-day mirage, Wilfred scampered hither and thither, as merry as the little gopher, or ground squirrel, that was gambolling across his path. But no large game had yet been sighted. Then all unexpectedly a solitary buffalo stalked majestically across what was now the entrance to a valley, but what would become the bed of a rushing river when the ice was melting in the early spring.

Bowkett paused, looked to his rifle and saddle-girths, waved his arm to Wilfred to fall back, and with a shout that made the boy's heart leap dashed after it. Wilfred urged his Brownie up the bank, where he thought he could safely watch the chase and enjoy a repetition of the exciting scenes of yesterday.

Finding itself pursued, the buffalo doubled. On it came, tearing up the ground in its course, and seeming to shake the quivering trees with its mighty bellow. Brownie plunged and reared, and Wilfred was flung backwards, a senseless heap at the foot of the steep bank.

*CHAPTER III.*

_*THE FIRST SNOWSTORM.*_

IN the midst of the danger and excitement of the chase, Bowkett had not a thought to spare for Wilfred. He and Diome were far too busy to even wonder what had become of him. It was not until their work was done, and the proverbial hunger of the hunter urged them to prepare for dinner, that the question arose.


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