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Lost in the Wilds

Thought Wilfred growing desperate again


The

Great Swan looked over his shoulder and said something. A young man rose up from one of the sleeping-places.

Both were asking, "What was the good?"

"She is one of your own people," urged Louison. "We came to tell you."

This was not what Wilfred had said, and it was not all he wanted, but he was forced to trust it to Louison, although he was uneasy.

He could see plainly enough an Indian would be far more likely to find her than himself, but would they? Would any of them go?

Louison offered a taste of his tobacco to the old chief and the young, by way of good-fellowship.

"They will never do it for that," thought Wilfred growing desperate again. He had but one thing about him he could offer as an inducement, and that was his knife. He hesitated a moment. He thought of Pe-na-Koam dying in the snow, and held it out to the young chieftain.

The dusky fingers gripped the handle.

"Will you take care of her and bring her here, or give her food and build up her hut?" asked Wilfred, making his meaning as plain as he could, by the help of nods and looks and signs.

The young chief was outside the man-hole in another moment. He slung his quiver to his belt and took down his bow,

flung a stout blanket over his shoulder, and shouted to his squaw to catch a bronco, the usual name for the Canadian horse. The kettle was in his hand.

"Can we trust him?" asked Wilfred, as he left the camp by Louison's side.

"Trust him! yes," answered his companion. "Young Sapoo is one of those Indians who never break faith. His word once given, he will keep it to the death."

"Then I have only to pray that he may be in time," said Wilfred gravely, as he stood still to watch the wild red man galloping back to the beavers' lakelet.

"Oh, he will be in time," returned Louison cheerily. "All their wigwam poles would be left standing, and plenty of pine brush and firewood strewing about. She is sure to have found some shelter before the heaviest fall of snow; that did not come until it was nearly morning."

Gaspe had climbed the lookout to watch for their return.

"Wilfred, _mon cher_," he exclaimed, "you must have a perfect penchant for running away. How could you give us the slip in such a shabby fashion? I could not believe Chirag. If the bears were not all dropping off into their winter sleep, I should have thought some hungry bruin had breakfasted upon you."

Gaspe's grandfather had turned carpenter, and was already at work mending his broken doors. Not being a very experienced workman, his planking and his panelling did not square. Wood was plentiful, and more than one piece was thrown aside as a misfit. Both the boys were eager to assist in the work of restoration. A broken shelf was mended between them--in first-rate workmanly style, as Wilfred really thought. "We have done that well," they agreed; and when Mr. De Brunier--who was still chipping at his refractory panel--added a note of commendation to their labours, Gaspe's spirits ran up to the very top of the mental thermometer.


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