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Lost in the Wilds

It made him think of Pe na Koam


There

was a mist before Wilfred's eyes, and his voice was low and husky. He only whispered, "I shall not forget, I never can forget to-night."

The small hours of the morning were numbered before Gaspe opened the door of his little sleeping room, which Wilfred was to share. It was not much bigger than a closet. The bed seemed to fill it.

There was just room for Gaspe's chest of clothes and an array of pegs. But to Wilfred it seemed a palace, in its cozy warmth. It made him think of Pe-na-Koam. He hoped she was as comfortable in the Blackfoot camp.

Gaspe was growing sleepy. One arm was round Wilfred's neck; he roused himself to answer, "Did not you hear what the warrior with the scalps at his belt told me? She came into their camp, and they gave her food as long as she could eat it. She was too old to travel, and they left her asleep by their camp-fires."

Up sprang Wilfred. "Whatever shall I do? I have brought away her kettle; I thought she had gone to her own people, and left it behind her for me."

"Do!" repeated Gaspe, laughing. "Why, go to sleep old fellow; what else can we do at four o'clock in the morning? If we don't make haste about it, we shall have no night at all."

Gaspe was quick to follow his own advice. But the "no night" was Wilfred's portion. There was

no rest for him for thinking of Pe-na-Koam. How was she to get her breakfast? The Blackfeet might have given her food, but how could she boil a drop of water without her kettle?

At the first movement in the house he slipped out of bed and dressed himself. The fire had burned low in the great stove in the sitting-room, but when he softly opened the door of their closet it struck fairly warm. The noise he had heard was Louison coming in with a great basket of wood to build it up.

"A fire in prison is a dull affair by daylight," remarked Wilfred. "I think I shall go for a walk--a long walk."

"Mr. De Brunier will have something to say about that after last night's blizzard," returned Louison.

"Then please tell him it is my duty to go, for I am afraid an old Indian woman, who was very kind to me, was out in last night's snow, and I must go and look for her. Will you just undo that door and let me out?"

"Not quite so fast; I have two minds about that," answered Louison. "Better wait for Mr. De Brunier. I know I shall be wrong if I let you go off like this."

"How can you be wrong?" retorted Wilfred. "I came to this place to warn you all there was a party of Blackfeet hidden in the reeds. Well, if I had waited, what good would it have been to you? Now I find the old squaw who made me these gloves was out in last night's snow, and I must go and look for her, and go directly."


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