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Lost in the Wilds

Wilfred renewed his shouts at intervals


"Stand

still, good dog. There, quiet, quiet!" cried Wilfred quickly, as he tore a bit of fur off his cap and plugged the hole.

The poor wounded fellow seemed to understand all about it. He only turned his head and licked the little bit of Wilfred's face that was just visible under his overwhelming cap. A doggie's gratitude is never wanting.

"Don't, you stupid," said Wilfred. "How am I to see what I am about if you keep washing me between my eyes? There! just what I expected, it is out again. Now, steady."

Another try, and the plug was in again, firmer than before.

"There, there! lie down, and let me hold it a bit," continued Wilfred, carefully considering his shaggy acquaintance.

He was a big, handsome fellow, with clean, strong legs and a hairy coat, which hung about his keen, bright eyes and almost concealed them. But the fur was worn and chafed around his neck and across his back, leaving no doubt in Wilfred's mind as to what he was.

"You have been driven in a sledge, old boy," he said, as he continued to fondle him. "You've worn harness until it has torn your coat and made it shabbier than mine. You are no hunter's dog, as I hoped. I expect you have been overdriven, lashed along until you dropped down in the traces; and then your hard-hearted driver undid your harness,

and left you to live or die. Oh! I know their cruel ways. How long have you been wandering? It isn't in nature that I shouldn't feel for you, for I am afraid, old fellow, I am in for such another 'do.'"

Wilfred was not talking to deaf ears. The dog lay down beside him, and stretched its long paws across his knee, looking up in his face, as if a word of kindness were something so new, so unimagined, so utterly incomprehensible. Was it the first he had ever heard?

No sunset glory brightened the dreary scene. All around them was an ever-deepening gloom. Wilfred renewed his shouts at intervals, and the dog barked as if in answer. Then followed a long silent pause, when Wilfred listened as if his whole soul were in his ears. Was there the faintest echo of a sound? Who could distinguish in the teeth of the gale, still tearing away the yellow leaves from the storm-tossed branches, and scaring the wild fowl from marsh and lakelet? Who could tell? And yet there was a shadow thrown across the white pine stem.

Another desperate shout. Wilfred's heart was in his mouth as he strove to make himself heard above the roar of the wind. On came the stately figure of a wild Cree chief. His bow was in his hand, but he was glancing upwards at the stormy sky. His stealthy movements and his light and noiseless tread had been unheard, even by the dog.

The Indian was wearing the usual dress of the Cree--a coat of skin with a scarlet belt, and, as the night was cold, his raven elf-locks were covered with a little cap his squaw had manufactured from a rat-skin. His blue cloth leggings and beautiful embroidered moccasins were not so conspicuous in the fading light. Wilfred could but notice the fingerless deer-skin mittens covering the hand which grasped his bow. His knife and axe were stuck in his belt, from which his well-filled quiver hung.

Wilfred tumbled himself on to one knee, and holding out the arrow he had extracted from the dog, he pointed to the dead game on the bank.


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