The Boy was turning back the covers, and balancing a moment on the side of the bunk.
"Sett’n on a swee’ p’tater vine, swee’ p’ta—“
“Great Caesar’s ghost!” He jumped up, and stood staring down at the sleeping Kaviak.
“Ah—a—didn’t you know? He’s been left behind for a few days.”
“Yes, I can see he’s left behind. No, Colonel, I reckon we’re in the Arctic regions all right when it comes to catchin’ Esquimers in your bed!”
He pulled the furs over Kaviak and himself, and curled down to sleep.
“For my part, I have ever believed and do now know, that there are witches.”—Religio Medici.
The Boy had hoped to go to Pymeut the next day, but his feet refused to carry him. Mac took a diagram and special directions, and went after the rest of elephas, conveying the few clumsy relics home, bit by bit, with a devotion worthy of a pious pilgrim.
For three days the Boy growled and played games with Kaviak, going about at first chiefly on hands and knees.
On the fifth day after the Blow-Out, “You comin’ long to Pymeut this mornin’?” he asked the Colonel.
“What’s the rush?”
“Rush! Good Lord! it’s ’most a week since they were here. And it’s stopped snowin’, and hasn’t thought of sleetin’ yet or anything else rambunksious. Come on, Colonel.”
But Father Wills had shown the Colonel the piece of dirty paper the Indian had brought on the night of the Blow-Out.
“Trouble threatened. Pymeuts think old chief dying not of consumption, but of a devil. They’ve sent a dogteam to bring the Shaman down over the ice. Come quickly.—PAUL.”
“Reckon we’d better hold our horses till we hear from Holy Cross.”
The Colonel didn’t answer, but the Boy didn’t wait to listen. He swallowed his coffee scalding hot, rolled up some food and stuff for trading, in a light reindeer skin blanket, lashed it packwise on his back, shouldered his gun, and made off before the Trio came in to breakfast.
The first sign that he was nearing a settlement, was the appearance of what looked like sections of rude wicker fencing, set up here and there in the river and frozen fast in the ice. High on the bank lay one of the long cornucopia-shaped basket fish-traps, and presently he caught sight of something in the bleak Arctic landscape that made his heart jump, something that to Florida eyes looked familiar.
“Why, if it doesn’t make me think of John Fox’s cabin on Cypress Creek!” he said to himself, formulating an impression that had vaguely haunted him on the Lower River in September; wondering if the Yukon flooded like the Caloosahatchee, and if the water could reach as far up as all that.
He stopped to have a good look at this first one of the Pymeut caches, for this modest edifice, like a Noah’s Ark on four legs, was not a habitation, but a storehouse, and was perched so high, not for fear of floods, but for fear of dogs and mice. This was manifest from the fact that there were fish-racks and even ighloos much nearer the river.