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Lost in the Wilds

Wilfred drank the broth eagerly


is the matter with you, Wilfred?" asked his uncle anxiously. "What makes you stand like that, my boy?"

"I am so tired," answered Wilfred, "I have walked all day to-day, and all day yesterday. If I take the cushion out of your chair for a pillow, I might lie down before the stove, uncle."

"That Pete is an ass not to bring something to eat, as if he could not make those fellows in the dining-room wait half-a-minute. But stop, there is some broth keeping hot on the stove. Take that, and come and lie down on the bed by me; then I can see you and feel you, and know I have got you again," answered Uncle Caleb, as if he had some presentiment of what was passing in Wilfred's mind.

Glad enough to obey, Wilfred drank the broth eagerly, and came to the bed. The old man took him by both hands and gazed in his face, murmuring, "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace."

The peace that Uncle Caleb rejoiced in was his own alone; all around him strife was brewing. But his peace was of that kind which circumstances cannot give or take away.

"Kneel down beside me just one minute, my boy," he went on. "We must not be like the nine lepers, who forgot the thanks when the good had come. They wouldn't even with the tailors, for in the whole nine put together there was not one bit of a true man, or they could not

have done it."

Wilfred fell on his knees and repeated softly the Christ-taught prayer of the ages, "Our Father who art in heaven." He remembered how he had been fed from the wild bird's _cache_, and saved by the wild man's pity, and his heart was swelling. But when he came to "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us," he stopped abruptly.

"Go on," whispered the old man softly.

"I can't," muttered Wilfred. "It isn't in my heart; I daren't go on. It is speaking with a forked tongue: words one way, thoughts another; telling lies to God."

Caleb Acland looked at him as if he were slowly grasping the position.

"Is it Bowkett that you can't forgive?" he asked gently. "Did you think he need not have lost you? Did you think he would not know you, my poor boy?"

"Have I got to live with him always?" returned Wilfred.

"No, not if you don't like him. I'll send you back to school," answered his uncle in a tone of decision.

"Do you mean it, uncle? Do you really say that I shall go back to school?" exclaimed the boy, his heavy heart's lead beginning to melt, as the way of escape opened so unexpectedly before him.

"It is a promise," repeated the old man soothingly. It was obvious now there was something wrong, which the boy refused to explain.

"Patience a bit," he thought; "I can't distress him. It will leak out soon; but it is growing strange that nobody comes near us."

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