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Lost in the Wilds

Louison and Batiste were talking


Wilfred

crossed the court to Gaspe. He looked up brightly, exclaiming, "Kusky is the boy for you; they all say Kusky will draw."

"I am going," whispered Wilfred.

"Going! how and why?" echoed Gaspe in consternation.

"With these men," answered Wilfred.

"Then I shall hate Batiste if he takes you from me!" exclaimed Gaspe impetuously.

They stepped back into the shed the puppies had occupied, behind some packing-cases, where nobody could see them, for the parting words.

"We shall never forget each other, never. Shall we ever meet again?" asked Wilfred despairingly. "We may when we are men."

"We may before," whispered Gaspe, trying to comfort him. "Grandfather's time is up this Christmas. Then he will take his pension and retire. He talks of buying a farm. Why shouldn't it be near your uncle's?"

"Come, Gaspard, what are you about?" shouted Mr. De Brunier from the shop door. "Take Wilfred in, and see that he has a good dinner."

Words failed over the knife and fork. Yula and Kusky had to be fed.

"Will the sled be of any use?" asked Gaspe.

Even Wilfred did not feel sure. They had fallen very low--had no heart

for anything.

Louison was packing the sled--pemmican and tea for three days.

"Put plenty," said Gaspe, as he ran out to see all was right.

Louison and Batiste were talking.

"We'll teach that young dog to haul," Batiste was saying; "and if the boy gets tired of them, we'll take them off his hands altogether."

"With pleasure," added Louison, and they both laughed.

The last moment had come.

"Good-bye, good-bye!" said Wilfred, determined not to break down before the men, who were already mounting their horses.

"God bless you!" murmured Gaspe.

Batiste put Wilfred on his horse, and undertook the management of the sled. The unexpected pleasure of a ride helped to soften the pain of parting.

"I ought to be thankful," thought Wilfred--"I ought to rejoice that the chance I have longed for has come. I ought to be grateful that I have a home, and such a good home." But it was all too new. No one had learned to love him there. Whose hand would clasp his when he reached Acland's Hut as Gaspe had done?

On, on, over the wide, wild waste of sparkling snow, with his jovial companions laughing and talking around him. It was so similar to his ride with Bowkett and Diome, save for the increase in the cold. He did not mind that.

But there was one thing Wilfred did mind, and that was the hard blows Batiste was raining down on Kusky and Yula. He sprang down to remonstrate. He wanted to drive them himself. He was laughed at for a self-conceited jackass, and pushed aside.


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