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Lost in the Wilds

When Wilfred stood by the bedside


"The

boy, God bless him! I only wish he were more of a man, to take my place," answered the dreamy voice of her sick brother, just rousing from his slumbers.

"Oh, but I am so disappointed!" retorted Aunt Miriam. "I had been looking forward to a dear little niece to cheer me through the winter. I felt so sure--"

"Now, now!" laughed the old man, "that is just where it is. If once you get an idea in your head, there it wedges to the exclusion of everything else. You like your own way, Miriam, but you cannot turn your wishes into a coach and six to override everything. You cannot turn him into a girl."

Wilfred burst out laughing, as he felt himself very unpromising material for the desired metamorphosis.

"How shall I keep him out of mischief when we are all shut in with the snow?" groaned Aunt Miriam.

"Let me look at him," said her brother, growing excited.

When Wilfred stood by the bedside, his uncle took the boy's warm hands in both his own and looked earnestly in his bright open face.

"He will do," murmured the old man, sinking back amongst his pillows. "There, be a good lad; mind what your aunt says to you, and make yourself at home."

While he was speaking all the light there was in the shadowy room shone

full on Wilfred.

"He is like his father," observed Aunt Miriam.

"You need not tell me that," answered Caleb Acland, turning away his face.

"Could we ever keep him out of mischief?" she sighed.

Wilfred's merry laugh jarred on their ears. They forgot the lapse of time since his father's death, and wondered to find him so cheerful. Aunt and nephew were decidedly out of time, and out of time means out of tune, as Wilfred dimly felt, without divining the reason.

Morning showed him his new home in its brightest aspect. He was up early and out with Forgill and the dogs, busy in the long row of cattle-sheds which sheltered one end of the farm-house, whilst a well-planted orchard screened the other.

Wilfred was rejoicing in the clear air, the joyous sunshine, and the wonderful sense of freedom which seemed to pervade the place. The wind was whispering through the belt of firs at the back of the clearing where Forgill had built his hut, as he made his way through the long, tawny grass to gather the purple vetches and tall star-like asters, still to be found by the banks of the reed-fringed pool where Forgill was watering the horses.

Wilfred was intent upon propitiating his aunt, when he returned to the house with his autumn bouquet, and a large basket of eggs which Forgill had intrusted to his care.


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