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Lost in the Wilds

And filled the storeroom with good things


This

name was spoken with an effort. Like many a noble-minded boy, Wilfred hated to tell of another. He hesitated, then went on abruptly: "I thought he would be sure to bring me home. Well, I got there. He did not seem to know me. He was all for fiddling and dancing. They were a rough set, uncle, a very rough set. Father would not have liked to have seen me with such men. I got away again as quickly as I could. The Cree who had saved me before guided me home at last."

"What is that? Did you say Bowkett, Hugh Bowkett?" repeated the old man. "Why, your aunt was married to him this morning."

When Pete disappeared into his master's room, Maxica, who had seated himself on the kitchen floor, rose suddenly, and leaning over Mr. De Brunier, asked, "Who in this place is friend to the boy without a father?"

"I can answer your question for myself, but no further, for I am a stranger here," replied Mr. De Brunier.

"We are four," said Maxica, counting on his fingers. "I hear the voice of the man at the gate--the man who spoke against the white boy with a forked tongue; the man who drove him out into the frosty night, that it might kill him. We have brought the marten to the trap. If it closes on him, Maxica stays to break it."

"Come outside, where we can talk freely," answered Mr. De Brunier, leading the way.

style="text-align: justify;">Gaspe and the sledge-driver were left to the enjoyment of the roaring fire. They were considering the state of Kusky's feet. Gaspe was removing the icicles from his toes, and the man of the sledge was warmly recommending boots, and describing the way to make them, when the shouts at the gate told them the bridal party had arrived. The stupid Pete, as they began to think, had vanished, for no one answered the summons. Gaspe guessed the reason, and sent the man to open the gate. He silenced the dogs, and drew back into the corner, with instinctive good breeding, to make himself as little in the way as possible.

The great farm-house kitchen was entrance-hall as well. Every door opened into it. On one hand was the dining-room, reserved chiefly for state occasions; on the other, the storeroom. The family sleeping rooms were at the back. Like a provident housewife, Aunt Miriam had set the tables for her marriage feast, and filled the storeroom with good things, before she went to church. Pete, with a Frenchman's genius for the spit, could manage the rest.

The arrival of one or two other guests at the same moment detained the bridal party with their noisy greetings.

When Aunt Miriam entered the kitchen, leaning on her bridegroom's arm, Gaspe was almost asleep in his dim corner.

Out ran Pete, effervescing with congratulations, and crossing the heartiness of the bridal welcome with the startling exclamation, "The boy, Mrs. Bowkett!--the boy's come home!"


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