But Herb Heal, who had from the beginning regarded “the kid of the camp” with favor, suddenly became his champion.
“Don’t let ’em down you, Dol,” he said. “I hate to hear a youngster, or a man, ‘talk fire,’ as the Injuns say, which means brag, if he’s a coward or a chump; but I guess you ain’t either. Here we are at camp, boys! I tell you the home-camp is a pleasant sort of place, after you’ve been out moose-calling!”
Thereupon ensued loud cheers for the home-camp, the boys feeling that they were letting off steam, and atoning for that long spell of silence, which had been a positive hardship. In the midst of an echoing hubbub the boat was hauled up and moored, and the party reached their log shelter.
The following day was spent by our trio in exploring the woods near Millinokett Lake, in listening to more moose-talk, and in attempting the trick of calling. Herb gave them many persistent lessons, making the sounds which he had made on the preceding night, with and without the horn, and patiently explaining the varied language of grunts, groans, sighs, and roars in which the cow-moose indulges.
Perhaps the woodsman expended extra pains on the teaching of his youngest pupil, whom he had championed. And certainly Dol’s own talent for mimicry came to his aid. No matter to what cause the success was due, each one allowed that Dol made a brilliant attempt to get hold of “the moose-hunter’s secret,” and give a natural call.
The boy had been a genius at imitating the voices of English birds and animals; many a trick had he played on his schoolfellows with his carols and howls. And his proficiency in this line was a good foundation on which to work.
“You’ll get there, boy,” said Herb, surveying him with approval, as he stood outside the camp-door with the moose-horn to his lips. “Make believe that there’s a moose on the opposite shore of the lake now, and give the whole call, from start to finish.”
Whereupon Dol slowly carried his head to left and right, as he had seen the guide do on the previous night, raising and lowering the horn until it had described an enormous figure of eight in the air, while he groaned, sighed, rasped, and bellowed with a plaintive intensity of expression, which caused his brother and his friend to shriek with laughter.
“You’ll get there, Kid,” repeated the woodsman, with a great triumphant guffaw. “You’ll be able to give a fetching call sooner than either of the others. But be careful how you use the trick, or you’ll be having the breath kicked out of you some day by a moose’s forefeet.”