The afternoon passed, and soon the sun began to settle behind the western peaks. It was just six o’clock when the party came to the Little Fountain and chose their camping spot on a little green knoll of high ground, right by the water’s edge. Some one suggested a dip, and so, in the quiet coolness of a perfect summer twilight, with a cheerful fire burning on the bank, clothes were stripped and a bath taken. Then came the evening meal, the usual round of stories, the message from the letter of the Great Spirit, then to sleep.
As Willis and Mr. Allen lay watching the firelight and listening to the thousand sounds of the night, the night breeze began to rise and to sing to them through the balsam boughs overhead.
“Do you know what I think of when I lie out in the woods on such a night and listen to the gentle sighing of the night wind?” asked Mr. Allen.
“No,” replied Willis. “What do you think of?”
“It is kind of fanciful, I suppose, but I like to believe that it is God blowing His breath down on us just to let us know that He is very near and cares for us.” Willis did not answer; he was thinking.
The Third Day Out
The first gray streaks of dawn were just creeping over the ridge of old Cheyenne as Mr. Allen awoke. Up through the green leaves the bluest of blue skies showed in tiny spots. It was an autumn morning, for a light frost had settled during the night, and here and there lay the ghost of an aspen leaf that had flitted down. Everywhere the birds were chirping and hustling about their morning duties. Here and there industrious spiders were at work removing the drops of silver dew from their shining cables of silk, and the bees were already gathering the last of the summer’s sweets. The squirrels scolded and chattered to each other from the big trees. All the wild life of the woodland seemed at high tide. The butterflies were already at play in the cool, dewy nooks, and all nature was rosy in the freshness of a new day.
Mr. Allen dressed quietly but quickly, unbuckled his fishing rod from his pack, glanced through his fly book, selected one here and there, then prepared to slip out of camp without waking any one. The little stream had been whispering strange tales of big fish to him all the night, and it was trout for breakfast that he was after. A saucy squirrel, observing him from a limb overhead, asked many foolish questions. Mr. Allen sat on an old moss-covered stump joining his rod and arranging his long, white leader, to which he had attached a royal coachman and a gray hackle. He paused to listen, for it seemed to him that every wild thing in that vast, rocky gorge had suddenly raised its voice to welcome the coming day.
Willis awoke and saw Mr. Allen as he sat there in the sunlight. In a soft undertone he called, “I’m going, too, just to watch. May I?” Mr. Allen nodded, and in a few moments the two were quietly sneaking off through the bushes, headed up stream.