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Lost in the Wilds

Bowkett came out into the porch to receive them


*CHAPTER XIV*

_*WEDDING GUESTS.*_

More guests were arriving--Diome, Batiste, Mathurin, and a dozen others. Bowkett came out into the porch to receive them, and usher one after the other into the dining-room. As the last went in before him, his friend Dick Vanner of the forked tongue tapped him on the shoulder.

"Who is in there?" he whispered. "Did you see?" pointing as he spoke to the door of Uncle Caleb's room.

Gaspe was on the alert in a moment, longing to break a lance in his friend's behalf. The men dropped their voices, but the echo of one sentence reached him. It sounded like, "No, she only saw the other boy."

"So, Wilfred, _mon cher_, you and I have changed places, and I have become that 'other boy,'" laughed Gaspe to himself, lying perdu with an open ear.

As the two separated they muttered, "Outwit us? Like to see it done!"

"Keep that door shut, and leave the rest to me," added Vanner, sauntering up to the fire.--"Accommodation is scanty here to-night. How many are there in your party?" he asked, looking down on Gaspe. "Pete said four--three men and a boy. Was not it five--three men and two boys?"

"Yes, five," answered Gaspe.

"You boys must want something to eat," remarked Vanner, carelessly pushing open the door of the storeroom, and returning with a partridge pie. "Here, fall to. Where's your chum?"

Gaspe saw the trap into which he was expected to walk. He stepped over it.

"Have not you been taught to look out for number one?" asked Gaspe. "I'll have a turn at that pie by myself, now I have got the chance, before I call on a chum to help me. I can tell you that."

"Confound you, you greedy young beggar!" exclaimed Vanner.

"Try thirty miles in an open sled, with twenty-five degrees of frost on the ground, and see if you would be willing to divide your pie at the end of it," retorted Gaspe.

"That is a cool way of asking for one apiece," remarked Vanner, abstracting a second pie from the storeroom shelves.

"If you've another to spare I'd like two for myself," persisted Gaspe.

"Then have it," said Vanner. "I am bound to give you a satisfaction. We do not reckon on a wedding feast every night. Now, where is the other boy? You can't object to call him. Here is a sausage as long as your arm. Walk into that."

"You will not get me to move with this dish before me," returned the undaunted Gaspe, and Vanner felt it waste of time to urge him further. He went back to his friends.

Gaspe was at Caleb Acland's door in a moment, singing through the keyhole,--

"St. George he is for England, St. Denis is for France. _Honi soit qui mal y pense._"

Wilfred rose to open the door as he recognized his friend's voice.

"Keep where you are. Don't come out for anybody," urged Gaspe, retreating as he heard a noise: but it was only his grandfather re-entering the porch.

He flew to his side. "What's up?" he asked breathlessly.

"A goodly crop of suspicions, if all the Cree tells me is true. Your poor friend is fitted with an uncle in this Bowkett after their old ballad type of the Babes in the Wood."


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