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Lost in the Wilds

And that Bowkett had refused to recognize him


Then

Maxica went out and set his traps in the fir-brake and the marsh, keeping stealthy watch round the hut for fear Bowkett should appear, and often looking in to note Wilfred's progress.

One day the casual mention of Bowkett's name threw the poor boy into such a state of agitation, Diome suspected there had been some passage between the two he was ignorant of. A question now and then, before Wilfred was himself again, convinced him the boy had been to La Mission, and that Bowkett had refused to recognize him. When he spoke of it to Pe-na-Koam, she thought of the danger at which Maxica had hinted. She watched for the Cree. Diome began to fear Wilfred's reappearance might involve him in a quarrel with Bowkett.

As Wilfred got better, and found Hungry Hall was shut up, he resolved to go back to Acland's Hut, if possible, whilst his Aunt Miriam and Bowkett were safe out of the way on their road to the church where they were to be married. Diome said they would be gone two days. He proposed to take Wilfred with him, when he went to the wedding, on the return of the bride and bridegroom.

"Lend me your snow-shoes," entreated Wilfred, "and with Maxica for a guide, I can manage the journey alone. Don't go with me, Diome, for Bowkett will never forgive the man who takes me back. You have been good and kind to me, why should I bring you into trouble?"

style="text-align: justify;"> *CHAPTER XIII.*

_*JUST IN TIME.*_

The walk from Diome's log hut to Uncle Caleb's farm was a long one, but the clear, bright sunshine of December had succeeded the pitiless sleet and blinding snow. Lake and river had hardened in the icy breath of the north wind. An iron frost held universal sway, as Wilfred and Maxica drew near to Acland's Hut.

[Illustration: The walk to Uncle Caleb's farm was a long one.]

The tinkle of a distant sledge-bell arrested Maxica. Had some miscount in the day brought them face to face with the bridal party?

They turned away from the well-known gate, crept behind the farm buildings, and crossed the reedy pool to Forgill's hut.

With the frozen snow full three feet deep beneath their feet there was roadway everywhere. Railings scarcely showed above it, and walls could be easily cleared with one long step. The door of the hut was fastened, but Wilfred waited behind it while Maxica stole round to reconnoitre.

He returned quickly. It was not the bridal party, for there was not a single squaw among them. They were travellers in a horse-sledge, stopping at the farm to rest. He urged Wilfred to seize the chance and enter with them. The presence of the strangers would be a protection. They took their way through the orchard trees, and came out boldly on the well-worn tracks before the gate. It excited no surprise in the occupants of the sledge to see two dusky figures in their long, pointed snow-shoes gliding swiftly after them; travellers like themselves, no doubt, hoping to find hospitality at the farm.


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