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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 201 pages of information about Camp and Trail.

The last sentence was broken by a great yawn, followed presently by a snort and an attempt at a shout, which quavered away into a queer little whine.  Garst had passed into dreamland, where men revel in fragmentary memories and pell-mell visions.

CHAPTER VI.

After black ducks.

If Cyrus’s dreams were ruffled after the morning’s excitement, those of his comrades were a perfect chaos.

A slight wind hummed wordless songs through the tasselled tops of the pine-trees about the camp.  The music was tender and drowsy as a mother’s lullaby.  Contrary to their expectations, Neal and Dol were lulled to sleep by it like babies, with a feeling as if some guardian spirit were gliding among the tree-tops.

But when slumber held them, when the murmur increased to a surge of sound, sank to a ripple and again rolled forth, in their dreams they imagined it the scurrying of a deer’s hoofs along some lonely forest deer-path, the rustling of a buck through bushes, the splashing of a mighty moose among lily-pads and grasses at the margin of a dark pond, the startled cluck of a coon.  In fact, that rolling music of the pines was translated into every forest sound which they had heard, or expected to hear.

The excitement of wild scenes, new sensations, strange knowledge, still thrilled them even in sleep.  Their visions were accordingly wild, rushing, jumbled, yet all set in a light so bright as to be bewildering—­a sign that health and happiness as great as human boys can enjoy were the possession of the dreamers.

By and by their pulses grew steadier.  Out of this confused rush of imaginings grew in the mind of each one steady, absorbing dream.  Neal fancied that he was on the top of Old Squaw Mountain, and that beneath, above, around him, sounded the strangely prolonged weird call, which he had heard at a distance on the previous night while Cyrus was recovering the jack-light.  Owing to the ever-changing excitements of camp-life, he had not questioned his comrade again about it.

Dol’s visions resolved themselves into a mighty coon hunt.  He tossed on his pine boughs, kicked and jabbered in his sleep, with sundry odd little cries and untranslatable mutterings,—­

“Go it, Tiger!  Go it, old dog!  There he is—­up the tree!  Ah” (disgustedly), “you’re no good!”

A lull.  Then the dreamer rolled out a string of what may be called gibberish, seeing that it consisted of fragments of words and was unintelligible, followed by,—­

“The coon’s eating the pork—­no, he’s b-b-b-barking it!  Hu-loo-oo!”

“Oh, say, Chick, give us a chance!  We can’t sleep with you chirping into our ears.”

It was Cyrus who spoke, shaking with drowsy laughter, and Cyrus’s big hand gently shook the dreamer’s arm.

“What? what? wh-wh-at?” gasped Dol, awaking.  “I wasn’t talking out loud, was I?”

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