“I further propose,” he went on, “that we hire a roomy wagon and a pair of strong horses from a settler who has a clearing about two miles from here. There is an old logging-road which runs through the woods towards the point for which we’re heading. We could follow that for the first half of our journey. It isn’t a turnpike, you know. In fact, it’s only a broad track where the underbrush has been cleared away, and the trees cut down, with strips of corduroy road sandwiched in. But the lumbermen still haul supplies over it to their camps, and I propose that we follow their example. We can pile our tent, camp duffle [stores], and all our packs into the wagon, together with the hero of the deer-road,”—winking at Dol,—“and the rest of us can take turns in riding. It will be a big lark for these youngsters to travel over a corduroy road. A very bracing ride they’ll have in more senses than one; but they can spin plenty of yarns about it when they get home.”
The “youngsters,” one and all, signified their approval of the suggestion. Cyrus, who, as a college man, was above this category, was pleased to acquiesce too.
“When can we get the wagon, Doctor?” asked Neal, burning to press onward.
“Oh! the day after to-morrow, I guess. And now, lads!” Dr. Phil’s voice was serious, but exultant, “we’re a thoroughly happy set of fellows, in accord with each other and our surroundings. We feel our brains clear, our gladness springing up, and our lungs swelling to double their size with the whiffs which reach us from those sky-piercing pines yonder. So we will remember that ‘the wide earth is our Father’s temple.’ Over there in the woods we will worship him, while millions of forest creatures about us, flying, bounding, or building, in obedience to his laws, simply worship too.”
A music soft, deep, sighing, like the murmur of an organ under the fingers of a master musician, rolled through the pine-tops as the band of campers, guides included, followed Doc into the forest. They passed the clumps of slender trees near the camp, and reached a dimly-lit green aisle.
Towering pines, so tall and erect that they seemed shooting upward to kiss the clouds, were the pillars of their cathedral. Its roof of tasselled boughs was stabbed by flashing needles of sunlight, which let in a flickering, mellow radiance, and traced a pattern on the woodland carpet. Every whiff of forest air was natural incense.
Dr. Phil stood as if in the audience-chamber of the King, and removed his wide-brimmed hat.
“Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory, for ever and ever. Amen!” he said.
Then Cyrus’s voice led the worship.
“Praise God, from whom all blessings flow!”
he sang, in a strong, glad outburst.
Boys and guides, in a great chorus, swelled the familiar words. Each sweetly chirping woodland bird, after its own manner, echoed them. The music among the pine-tops mingled with them. The forest fairly rang with a magnificent, adoring Doxology.