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Lost in the Wilds

De Brunier looked at him in amazement


They could scarcely believe their ears, but the sudden silence which succeeded convinced Gaspe their rough visitors had beaten a hasty retreat.

"Anyhow we will wait a bit, and make sure before we go down," they decided.

But De Brunier's first care was for his grandson, and he was missing.

"Gaspard!" he shouted, and his call was echoed by Louison and Chirag.

"Here, grandfather; I am here, I am coming," answered the boy, gently raising the trap-door and peeping down at the dismantled storeroom. A great bag of goose-feathers, which had been hoarded by some thrifty squaw, had been torn open, and the down was flying in every direction.

There was a groan from Mr. De Brunier. All his most valuable stores had vanished.

"Not quite so bad as that, grandfather," cried Gaspe brightly.

The trader stepped up on to the remains of the barricade the boys had erected, and popped his head through the open trap-door.

"Well done, Gaspard!" he exclaimed.

"This other boy helped me," was the instantaneous reply.

The other boy came out from the midst of the blanket heap, feeling more dead than alive, and expecting every moment some one would say to him, "Now go," and he had nowhere to go.

Mr. De Brunier looked at him in amazement. A solitary boy in these lone wastes! Had he dropped from the skies?

"Come down, my little lad, and tell me who you are," he said kindly; but without waiting for a reply he walked on through the broken door to survey the devastation beyond.

"I have grown gray in the service of the Company, and never had a more provoking disaster," he lamented, as he began to count the tumbled heap of valuable furs blocking his pathway.

Louison, looking pale and feeling dizzy from his recent knock over, was collecting the bags of pemmican. Chirag, released from his imprisonment, was opening window shutters and replenishing the burnt-out fires. Gaspe dropped down from the roof, without waiting to replace the steps, and went to his grandfather's assistance, leaving Wilfred to have a good sleep in the blanket heap.

The poor boy was so worn out he slept heavily. When he roused himself at last, the October day was drawing to its close, and Gaspe was laughing beside him.

"Have not you had sleep enough?" he asked. "Would not dinner be an improvement?"

Wilfred wakened from his dreams of Acland's Hut. Aunt Miriam and Pe-na-Koam had got strangely jumbled together; but up he jumped to grasp his new friend's warm, young hand, and wondered what had happened. He felt as if he had been tossing like a ball from one strange scene to another. When he found himself sitting on a real chair, and not on the hard ground, the transition was so great it seemed like another dream.


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