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Lost in the Wilds

With Yula careering and bounding in extravagant delight


a boy like you will never find her," laughed Louison.

"I'll try it," said Wilfred doggedly.

"Was she a Blackfoot?"


"Then she is safe enough in camp, depend upon it," returned Louison.

"No, she was left behind," persisted Wilfred.

"Then come with me," said Louison, by no means sorry to have found a friendly reason for approaching the Blackfeet camp. "I have a little bit of scout business in hand, just to find out whether these wild fellows are moving on, or whether they mean waiting about to pay us another visit."

Chirag was clearing away the snow in the enclosure outside. Wilfred found the kettle and the skin just where he had laid them down, inside the first shed. He called up Yula, and started by Louison's side. Chirag was waiting to bar the gate behind them.

"Beautiful morning," said the Canadians, vigorously rubbing their noses to keep them from freezing, and violently clapping their mittened hands together. The snow lay white and level, over hill and marsh, one sparkling sheet of silvery sheen. The edging of ice was broadening along the river, and the roar of the falls came with a thunderous boom through the all-pervading stillness around them.

The snow

was already hard, as the two ran briskly forward, with Yula careering and bounding in extravagant delight.

Wilfred looked back to the little fort, with its stout wooden walls, twice the height of a man, hiding the low white house with its roof of bark, hiding everything within but the rough lookout and the tall flag-staff, for

"Ever above the topmost roof the banner of England blew."

Wilfred was picturing the feelings with which the De Bruniers had worked on beneath it, giving the same faithful service to their foreign masters that they had to the country which had cast them off.

"It is a dirty old rag," said Louison; "gone all to ribbons in last night's gale. But it is good enough for a little place like this--we call it Hungry Hall. We don't keep it open all the year round. Just now, in October, the Indians and the hunters are bringing in the produce of their summer's hunting. We shall shut up soon, and open later again for the winter trade."

"A dirty old rag!" repeated Wilfred. "Yes, but I am prouder of it than ever, for it means protection and safety wherever it floats. Boy as I am, I can see that."

"Can you see something else," asked Louison--"the crossing poles of the first wigwam? We are at the camp."



A cloud of smoke from its many wigwam fires overhung the Indian camp as Louison and Wilfred drew near. The hunter's son, with his quick ear, stole cautiously through the belt of pine trees which sheltered it from the north wind, listening for any sounds of awakening life. Yesterday's adventure had no doubt been followed by a prolonged feast, and men and dogs were still sleeping. A few squaws, upon whom the hard work of the Indian world all devolves, were already astir. Louison thought they were gathering firewood outside the camp. This was well. Louison hung round about the outskirts, watching their proceedings, until he saw one woman behind a wigwam gathering snow to fill her kettle. Her pappoose in its wooden cradle was strapped to her back; but she had seen or heard them, for she paused in her occupation and looked up wondering.

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