“So do I,” said Neal with spirit.
“You’re awfully lucky to be able to camp out during October,” rattled on Roy. “That’s the month for moose-hunting, jacking, and all the most exciting sort of fun. We have to go home in a day or two, for our school has reopened, unless”—
“When Royal Sinclair gets a streak of talking, you might as well try to bottle up the Mississippi as to stop him,” said Dr. Phil, laughing. “I can’t hear what he’s saying, but I know that his tongue is clicking like a telegraph instrument. But I hope it has given its last message for to-night. You really must turn in, boys. I let you have an extra social hour, because to-morrow will be Sunday, a day of rest after the travels and excitements of the week. Think of it, lads! A Sunday in the woods—God’s first cathedral! May it do us all good!”
The guide, Joe, built up the fire. Fresh birch logs blistered and sputtered as creeping curls of bluish flame enwrapped them. Kindling rapidly, they threw out fantastic lights, which danced like a regiment of red elves around the old log walls of the cabin.
“If a fellow could only drop off to sleep every night in the year seeing and smelling such a fire as that!” breathed Neal, as, accepting a share of Royal’s blankets, he stretched his tired limbs on the evergreen mattress.
“Then life would be too jolly for anything,” answered Roy.
A Sunday among the pines.
“Men and boys learn a good many wholesome lessons in the forest, one of which is that it pays better to take a day of rest in seven if they want to make the most of themselves and their opportunities. Therefore, lads, we’ll do no tramping to-day. And we’ll have a bit of a service by and by over there under the pines.”
So spoke Doctor Phil on the following morning, when the two sets of campers, now one joyous, brotherly crowd, were sitting or lounging about the pine-wood table, leisurely emptying tin mugs of tea or coffee, and eating porridge and rolls of Joe’s baking.
“You haven’t told us yet, Cyrus,” he went on, “what point you’re bound for. I know you’re level-headed, and plan every forest trip beforehand, to economize time.”
“Yes, a fellow likes to do that; it adds to the pleasures of anticipation,” Garst answered. “But it’s precious little use, after all, when you’re visiting a region which is as full of surprises as an egg is full of meat. However, I have arranged to meet Herb Heal, the guide whom I generally employ, at a hunting-camp near Millinokett Lake.”
“A good moose country,” put in Doc.
“I know it. At all events, it is a good place for a home-camp; one can make excursions into the dense forests at the foot of Katahdin, which are unrivalled for big game—so Herb says, and he’s an authority. These English fellows may expect to have an attack of buck-fever, or moose-fever rather, which will set their blood on fire. Not that we’re out chiefly for killing; we’re willing to let his mooseship keep a whole skin, and go in peace to replenish the forests, unless he grows cantankerous and charges us.”