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Lost in the Wilds

De Brunier turned his chair to the stove


"Ask

Louison," said Mr. De Brunier, in reply to his inquiry.

Gaspe ran out to put the question.

Louison was a hunter's son. He had wintered in the camp himself when he was a boy. The hunters gathered there in November. Parties would soon be calling at the fort, to sell their skins by the way. Wilfred could go on with one of them, no doubt, and then Bowkett could take him home.

Wilfred's heart grew lighter. It was a roundabout-road, but he felt as if getting back to Bowkett was next to getting home.

"How glad your uncle will be to see you!" cried Gaspe radiantly, picturing the bright home-coming in the warmth of his own sympathy.

"Oh, don't!" said Wilfred; "please, don't. It won't be like that; not a bit. Nobody wants me. Aunt wanted my little sister, not me. You don't understand; I am such a bother to her."

Gaspe was silenced, but his hand clasped Wilfred's a little closer. All the chivalrous feelings of the knightly De Bruniers were rousing in his breast for the strange boy who had brought them the timely warning. For some of the best and noblest blood of old France was flowing in his veins. A De Brunier had come out with the early French settlers, the first explorers, the first voyageurs along the mighty Canadian rivers. A De Brunier had fought against Wolfe on the

Heights of Abraham, in the front ranks of that gallant band who faithfully upheld their nation's honour, loyal to the last to the shameless France, which despised, neglected, and abandoned them--men whose high sense of duty never swerved in the hour of trial, when they were given over into the hands of their enemy. Who cared what happened in that far-off corner of the world? It was not worth troubling about. So the France of that day reasoned when she flung them from her.

It was of those dark hours Gaspe loved to make his grandfather talk, and he was thinking that nothing would divert Wilfred from his troubled thoughts like one of grandfather's stories. The night drew on. The snow was falling thicker and denser than before. Mr. De Brunier turned his chair to the stove, afraid to go to bed with the Blackfoot camp within half-a-mile of his wooden walls.

"They might," he said, "have a fancy to give us a midnight scare, to see what more they could get."

The boys begged hard to remain. The fire, shut in its iron box, was burning at its best, emitting a dull red glow, even through its prison walls. Gaspe refilled his grandfather's pipe.

"Wilfred," he remarked gently, "has a home that is no home, and he thinks we cannot understand the ups and downs of life, or what it is to be pushed to the wall."

Gaspe had touched the right spring. The veteran trader smiled. "Not know, my lad, what it is to be pushed to the wall, when I have been a servant for fifty years in the very house where my grandfather


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