They all looked so happy that the last doubt left my mind. Frenchy was positively beaming with delight, and I had to show them just where I stood when I shot, and to explain everything. Then we trudged cheerfully towards camp, keeping for a while by the edge of the brook, which we had to cross again. We came to a tiny waterfall, and above it was the outlet of a little lake, deep and placid-looking. Some black ducks were swimming on it, not very far away, and I was shown a beaver’s house.
“That’s the real, wild outdoors that I love,” I declared, stopping for a moment. “How calm and still it all is. Look at the feathery smoke drifting away over there. I suppose it is the camp.”
For a moment there was a bit of bad going, over some wind-fallen trees, and the doctor held out his hand for me.
“Thank you,” I said. “It seems to me that I am all the time having to thank you, you are always so kind. I must say that you are a perfectly stunning guide.”
So we got to the camp, laughing, and Susie had to be told the story all over again, while I changed shoes and stockings in the little tent, where there was the thickest possible bed of fragrant balsam, covered with blankets.
It is getting late, Aunt Jennie, and I’ll have to tell you the rest of it another time. It was perfectly glorious.
Really I think it is a pity that Dr. Grant should bury himself in such a place. He ought to live in our atmosphere, for he is entirely fitted for it.
So good night, Aunt Jennie, with best love from your
From John Grant’s Diary
During the years that I spent abroad, in study, there were times when a tremendous longing would come over me, so great that I was sorely tempted to run away, even if for a few weeks only, and revel in the satisfaction of my desire. It would seize upon me during long evenings, when I was sometimes a little wearied with hard work. I hungered at such times for the smoke of a camp-fire, for its resinous smells, for the distant calls of night birds, for the crackling flames that cast strange lights upon friendly faces.
All this was ours on the evening we spent after our little caribou hunt. Miss Jelliffe, who had had some slight experience with small target rifles, made a good shot at a fine stag, and we were all very cheerful. The fire burned brightly before the tent she shared with Susie, and the dry dead pine with logs of long-burning birch crackled merrily. Over the little lake, behind the dark conifers and the distant hills, the sun had gone down in a glory of incandescent gold and crimson.
After we had finished our supper we all sat around the blaze and the tales began, of big caribou and mighty salmon. Yet after a time, as one always must in this country, we drifted off to stories of the never-ending fight against mighty powers.