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Lost in the Wilds

Had struck up a friendship with Yula


Gaspe

proposed a run with the dogs, just to try how they would go in their new harness, and if, after all, the sled would run as a sled should.

Other things were set aside, and boys and men gathered in the court. Even Mr. De Brunier stepped out to give his opinion about the puppies. Gaspe had named them from the many tongues of his native Canada.

In his heart Wilfred entertained a secret belief that not one of them would ever be equal to his Yula. They were Athabascans. They would never be as big for one thing, and no dog ever could be half as intelligent; that was not possible. But he did not give utterance to these sentiments. It would have looked so ungrateful, when Gaspe was designing the best and biggest for his parting gift. And they were beauties, all four of them.

There was Le Chevalier, so named because he never appeared, as Gaspe declared, without his white shirtfront and white gloves. Then there was his bluff old English Boxer, the sturdiest of the four. He looked like a hauler. Kusky-tay-ka-atim-moos, or "the little black dog," according to the Cree dialect, had struck up a friendship with Yula, only a little less warm than that which existed between their respective masters. Then the little schemer with the party-coloured face was Yankee-doodle.

"Try them all in harness, and see which runs the best," suggested grandfather, quite

glad that his Gaspard should have one bright holiday to checker the leaden dulness of the everyday life at Hungry Hall.

Louison was harnessing the team. He nailed two long strips of leather to the lowest end of the sled for traces. The dogs' collars were made of soft leather, and slipped over the head. Each one was ornamented with a little tinkling bell under the chin and a tuft of bright ribbon at the back of the ear, and a buckle on either side through which the traces were passed. A band of leather round the dogs completed the harness, and to this the traces were also securely buckled. The dogs stood one before the other, about a foot apart.

Yula was an experienced hand, and took the collar as a matter of course. Yankee was the first of the puppies to stand in the traces, and his severe doggie tastes were completely outraged by the amount of finery Gaspe and Louison seemed to think necessary for their proper appearance.

Wilfred was seated on a folded blanket, with a buffalo-robe tucked over his feet. Louison flourished a whip in the air to make the dogs start. Away went Yula with something of the velocity of an arrow from a bow, knocking down Gaspe, who thought of holding the back of the sled to guide it.

He scrambled to his feet and ran after it. Yula was careering over the snow at racehorse speed, ten miles an hour, and poor little Yankee, almost frightened out of his senses, was bent upon making a dash at the ribbon waving so enticingly before his eyes. He darted forward. He hung back. He lurched from side to side. He twisted, he turned. He upset the equilibrium of the sledge. It banged against a tree on one side, and all but tilted over on the other. One end went down into a badger hole, leaving Wilfred and his blanket in a heap on the snow, when Yankee, lightened of half his load, fairly leaped upon Yula's back and hopelessly entangled the traces. The boys concealed an uneasy sense of ignominious failure under an assertion calculated to put as good a face as they could on the matter: "We have not got it quite right yet, but we shall."

*CHAPTER XI.*

_*THE HUNTERS' CAMP.*_


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