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Lost in the Wilds

And I was left at school at Garry


The

room was low, no carpet on the floor, only a few chairs ranged round the stove in the centre; but a real dinner, hot and smoking, was spread on the unpainted deal table.

Mr. De Brunier, with one arm thrown over the back of his chair, was smoking, to recall his lost serenity. An account-book lay beside his unfinished dinner. Sometimes his eye wandered over its long rows of figures, and then for a while he seemed absorbed in mental calculation.

He glanced at Wilfred's thin hands and pinched cheeks.

"Let the boy eat," he said to Gaspe.

As the roast goose vanished from Wilfred's plate the smile returned to his lips and the mirth to his heart. He outdid the hungry hunter of proverbial fame. The pause came at last; he could not quite keep on eating all night, Indian fashion. He really declined the sixth helping Gaspe was pressing upon him.

"No, thanks; I have had a Benjamin's portion--five times as much as you have had--and I am dreadfully obliged to you," said Wilfred, with a bow to Mr. De Brunier; "but there is Yula, that is my dog. May he have these bones?"

"He has had something more than bones already; Chirag fed him when he fed my puppies," put in Gaspe.

"Puppies," repeated Mr. De Brunier. "Dogs, I say."

"Not

yet, grandfather," remonstrated the happy Gaspe. "You said they would not be really dogs, ready for work, until they were a year old, and it wants a full week."

"Please, sir," interrupted Wilfred abruptly, "can you tell me how I can get home?"

"Where is your home?" asked Mr. De Brunier.

"With my uncle, at Acland's Hut," answered Wilfred promptly.

"Acland's Hut," repeated Mr. De Brunier, looking across at Gaspe for elucidation. They did not know such a place existed.

"It is miles away from here," added Wilfred sorrowfully. "I went out hunting--"

"You--a small boy like you--to go hunting alone!" exclaimed Mr. De Brunier.

"Please, sir, I mean I rode on a pony by the cart which was to bring back the game," explained poor Wilfred, growing very rueful, as all hope of getting home again seemed to recede further and further from him. "The pony threw me," he added, "and when I came to myself the men were gone."

"Have you no father?" whispered Gaspe.

"My father died a year ago, and I was left at school at Garry," Wilfred went on.

"Fort Garry!" exclaimed Mr. De Brunier, brightening. "If this had happened a few weeks earlier, I could easily have sent you back to Garry in one of the Company's boats. They are always rowing up and down the river during the busy summer months, but they have just stopped for the winter With this Blackfoot camp so near us, I dare not unbar my gate again to-night, so make yourself contented. In the morning we will see what can be done."

"Nothing!" thought Wilfred, as he gathered the goose-bones together for Yula's benefit. "If you do not know where Acland's Hut is, and I cannot tell you, night or morning what difference can it make?"

He studied the table-cloth, thinking hard. "Bowkett and Diome had talked of going to a hunters' camp. Where was that?"


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