Only a dozen miles of tolerably easy travelling now separated Garst and his English comrades from the camp on Millinokett Lake, where they were to meet the redoubtable Herb Heal. The settler, knowing this tract of country as thoroughly as he knew his own few fields, offered to lead our trio for the first half of their onward march; and as they could follow a plain trail for the remainder of the way, they had no further need of their guide’s services. They promised to visit Eb at his bark hut on their return journey, to bid him a final farewell, and hear one more stave of:—
“Ketch him, Tiger, ketch him!”
“Good-by, you lucky fellows!” said Royal Sinclair huskily, as he gripped Neal’s hand, then Dol’s, in a brotherly squeeze when the hour of parting came. “I wish I was going on with you. We’ve had a stunning good time together, haven’t we? And we’ll run across each other in these woods some time or other again, I know! You’ll never feel satisfied to stay in England, where there’s nothing to hunt but hares and foxes, after chasing bears and moose.”
“Oh! we’ll come out here again, depend upon it,” answered Neal. “Drop me a line occasionally, won’t you, Roy? Here’s our Manchester address.”
“I will, if you’ll do the same.”
“Agreed. Good-by again, old fellow!”
“I’ve got the slip of birch-bark and the horn safe in my knapsack, Doc,” Dol was saying meanwhile, feeling his eyes getting leaky as he bade farewell to the doctor. “I—I’ll keep them as long as I live.”
Doctor Phil had been as good as his word. He had made Joe rip the slip of white bark, with the rude writing on it, off the pine-tree near the swamp, and had presented it to Dol ere the boy quitted his camp.
“Well, confusion to partings anyhow!” broke in Joe. “Don’t like ’em a bit. Hope you’ll get that bear-skin safe to England, Neal. When you show it to your folks at home, tell ’em Joe Flint said he knew one Britisher who would make a woodsman if he got a chance. Don’t you forgit it.”
“Good-by,” said the doctor, as he clasped in turn the hands of the departing three. “Good luck to you, boys! Keep your souls as straight as your bodies, and you’ll be a trio worth knowing. We’ll meet again some day; I’m sure of it.”
Martin and Will were chirping farewells, and lamenting that they would have no more chances of studying water-snakes in sedgy pools with Dol. Amid cheers and waving of hats the campers separated.
“Forward, Company Three!” cried Cyrus encouragingly, stepping briskly ahead, his comrades following. “Now for a sight of the ‘Jabberwock’ of the forest, the mighty moose. Hurrah for the wild woods and all woodsmen!”
A LUCKY HUNTER.
Amid cracking of jokes, and noise which would have disgraced a squad of Indians, “Company Three,” as Cyrus dubbed his reduced band, reached the crowning-point of their journey, the log camp on the shore of Millinokett Lake.