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Lost in the Wilds

And rolling Kusky over and over in the tangling harness


driving was the hunter's hobby. The whole party were engrossed in watching Yula's progress, and quiet, affectionate little Kusky's infantine endeavours to keep up with him.

Batiste regarded himself as a crack trainer, and when poor Kusky brought the whole cavalcade to a standstill by sitting down in the midst of his traces, he announced his intention of curing him of such a trick with his first taste.

"Send him to Rome," shouted one of the foremost of the hunters. "He'll not forget that in a hurry."

"He is worth training well," observed another. "See what a chest he has. He will make as good a hauler as the old one by-and-by. Pay him well first start."

What "sending to Rome" might mean Wilfred did not stay to see. Enough to know it was the uttermost depth of dog disgrace. He saw Batiste double up his fist and raise his arm. The sprain in his ankle was forgotten. He flew to the ground, and dashed between Batiste and his dogs, exclaiming, "They are mine, my own, and they shan't be hurt by anybody!"

He caught the first blow, that was all. He staggered backwards on the slippery ground.

Another of the hunters had alighted. He caught Wilfred by the arm, and pulled him up, observing dryly, "Well done, young 'un. Got a settler unawares. That just comes of interfering.--Here,

Mathurin, take him up behind ye."

The hunter appealed to wheeled round with a good-natured laugh.

But Wilfred could not stand; the horses, dogs, and snow seemed dancing round him.

"Yula! Kusky!" he called, like one speaking in a dream.

But Yula, dragging the sled behind him, and rolling Kusky over and over in the tangling harness, had sprung at Batiste's arm; but he was too hampered to seize him. Wilfred was only aware of a confused _melee_ as he was hoisted into Mathurin's strong arms and trotted away from the scene of action.

"Come, you are the sauciest young dog of the three," said Mathurin rather admiringly. "There, lay your head on me. You'll have to sleep this off a bit," he continued, gently walking his horse, and gradually dropping behind the rest of the party.

Poor Wilfred roused up every now and then with a rather wild and incoherent inquiry for his dogs, to which Mathurin replied with a drawling, sleepy-sounding "All right."

Wilfred's eyes were so swollen over that he hardly knew it was starshine when Mathurin laid him down by a new-lit camping-fire.

"There," said the hunter, in the self-congratulatory tone of a man who knows he has got over an awkward piece of business; "let him have his dogs, and give him a cup of tea, and he'll be himself again by the morning."

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