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Lost in the Wilds

Deep growl from Yula brought Mr


"Shut me in with Dick Vanner in a rage!" exclaimed Diome. "He would smell treachery in a moment. Not for me."

It went hard with Diome to turn against his old companions. It was clear to Mr. De Brunier the man was afraid of a hand-to-hand encounter. With such half-hearted help the attempt was too hazardous. He changed his tactics.

"I am not in their secrets," protested Diome. "I am only here to hold his horse. They don't trust me."

"And I," added Mr. De Brunier, "am intent upon preventing mischief. I'll walk round once more. Should you hear the house-door open, you will probably find I have gone in."

Yes, Mr. De Brunier was beginning to regret leaving the house; and yet, if he had not done so, he could not have started Gaspe to intercept the policeman. "Now," he thought, "the boy will be carried off before they can arrive." His thoughts were turning to a probable pursuit. He crossed to the back of the house to look for the Cree. No one better than an Indian for work like that.

The light from the windows of the farm-house was reflected from the shining ground, making it bright as day before them, and deepening the gloom of the shadows beyond. A low, deep growl from Yula brought Mr. De Brunier to the opposite corner of the house, where he discovered Maxica lying on the ground, with his ear to the end of one of the largest logs with which the house was built. They recognized each other instantly, but not a word was said. They were at the angle of the building where the logs crossed each other.

Suddenly Mr. De Brunier remembered the capacity in the uncut trunk of a tree for transmitting sound, and following Maxica's example he too laid his ear to the end of another log, and found himself, as it were, in a whispering gallery. The faintest sound at the other end of the log was distinctly audible. They tried each corner of the house. The music and the dancing from dining-room to kitchen did not detain them long. At the back they could hear the regular breathing of a healthy sleeper and the laboured, painful respiration of the broken-down old man.

The log which crossed the one at which they were now listening ran at the end of the storeroom, and gave back no sound. It was evident both Wilfred and his uncle had fallen asleep, and were therefore off their guard.

To drive up the loose ponies and make them gallop round the house to waken them was a task Yula took off their hands and accomplished so well that Bowkett, listening in the midst of the whirling dancers, believed that Vanner had returned.

Maxica was back at the angle of the logs, moving his ear from one to the other. He raised a warning finger, and laid his ear a little closer to the storeroom side. Mr. De Brunier leaned over him and pressed his own to the tier above. Some one had entered the storeroom.

"Anything here?" asked a low voice.

"What's that behind the door?" whispered another in reply.

"A woman's ironing board."

"A woman's what?"


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