It was the perfection of an October morning, sunshiny and pleasant, with a mellow freshness in the air which matched the mellow tints of the forest, when the travellers joined forces at the farm-settlement.
Engaged in the thrilling work of felling a pine-tree to extend his father’s clearing, they found the settler’s son, a brawny fellow about Cyrus’s age, in buckskin leggings and coon-skin cap, who wielded his axe with arms which were tough and knotted as pine limbs. He bawled to them in the forceful language of the backwoods, which to unaccustomed ears sounded a trifle barbaric, to keep out of the way until his tree had fallen.
When the pine at last tumbled earthward with a thud which reverberated for miles through the forest, he gave a mighty yell, waved his skin cap, and came towards the visitors.
“Hulloa, Lin!” boomed the doctor, greeting this native as an old acquaintance.
“Hello, Doc!” answered Lin. “By the great horn spoon! I didn’t expect to see you here. Who are these fellers?”
The doctor introduced his comrades. Lin greeted them with bluff simplicity, and called them one and all by their Christian names as soon as these could be found out. Doc alone came in for his short title—if such it could be called. Luckily the campers of both nationalities, from Cyrus downward, were without any element of snobbery in their dispositions. It seemed to them only a jolly part of the untrammelled forest life that man should go back to his primitive relations with his brother man; that in the woods, as Doc said, “manhood should be the only passport,” and that titles and distinctions should never be thought of by guides or anybody else. They were well-pleased to be taken simply for what they were,—jolly, companionable fellows,—and to be valued according to the amount of grit and good-temper they showed.
And they learned this morning to appreciate the pioneer courage and resolute spirit of the rugged settlers who had cleared a home for themselves amid the surrounding wilderness of forest and stream. Their roughness of speech was as nothing in comparison with their brave endurance of hardships, their deeds of heroism, and their free-handed hospitality.
Lin led his visitors straight to a log cabin, before which his father, a veteran woodsman, who bore the scars of bears’ teeth upon his body, was digging and planting. This old farmer, too, greeted Doc as a friend, and when the wagon was talked about, was quite willing to do anything to serve him.
“But ye must have a square meal afore ye travel,” he said. “Jerusha! I couldn’t let ye go without eatin’. Mother!” shouting to his wife, who was inside the cabin. “Say, Mother! Ha’n’t ye got somethin’ fer these fellers to munch?”