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Lost in the Wilds

Bowkett came out and spoke to them


"We can't condemn a fellow on evidence like that," moaned the old man, "and one so near to me as Bowkett. What does it mean for Miriam?"

"Will you see this Cree and hear for yourself?" asked Mr. De Brunier. "We are neither judge nor jury. We are not here to acquit or condemn, but a warning like this is not to be despised. I came to put you on your guard."

The feeble hand grasped his, "I am about spent," groaned Caleb. "It is my breath. Let me rest a bit. I'll think this over. Come again."

The gasping words came with such painful effort, Mr. De Brunier could only lay him back amongst his pillows and promise to return in the morning, or earlier if it were wished. He was at the door, when Caleb Acland signed to him to return.

"Not a word to my sister yet. The boy is safe here. Tell him he is not to go out of this room."

Mr. De Brunier shook the feeble hand once more, and gave the required promise. There was one more word. "What was that about buying land? I might help you there; a little business between us, you understand."

"Yes, yes," answered Mr. De Brunier, feeling as if such another effort might shake the labouring breath out of the enfeebled frame in a moment.

"Keep in here. Keep quiet; and remember, whatever happens, I shall be near," was Mr. De Brunier's parting charge to Wilfred as he went back into the kitchen, intending to watch there through the night, if no one objected to his presence.

The old man started as the door closed after him. "Don't fasten it, lad!" he exclaimed. "It looks too much like being afraid of them."

Mr. De Brunier joined Gaspe and the sledge-driver at their supper. Gaspe watched him attentively as they ate on in silence.

Bowkett came out and spoke to them. "I am sorry," he said, "to seem inhospitable, but the house is so full to-night I really cannot offer you any further accommodation. But the men have a sleeping hut round the corner, under the pines, where you can pass the night. I'll send one of them with you to show you the way and light a fire."

No exception could be taken to this. The three finished their supper and were soon ready to depart.

"I must see Mr. Acland again about the land business," remarked Mr. De Brunier, recalling Uncle Caleb's hint.

Bowkett summoned his man, and Diome came out with him. He strolled through the porch and looked about him, as if he were considering the weather.

Maxica was still prowling behind the orchard trees, like a hungry coyote watching for the remnants of the feast, as it seemed. The two met.

"There will be mischief before these fellows part," said Diome. "Keep a sharp look-out for the boy."

Diome went on to catch Dick Vanner's pony. Maxica stole up to the house. The travellers were just coming out. He gave Yula a call. Gaspe was the only one who perceived him, as Yula bounded between them.


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