“cerprize fur the lads bekos they likes Goos.”
Another surprise awaited them. When they lifted the lid of the large cooking kettle they found it nearly full of boiled goose.
“That’s the way o’ Indian Jake!” Andy exclaimed. “He’s always plannin’ fine surprises for folks.”
“It’s surely a fine surprise,” said Doctor Joe. “Breakfast all ready but the tea, and a goose for to-night.”
Every one hurried, but the sun was well up when they put out the fire and hoisted sail. There was little wind, however, and the light breeze soon dropped to a dead calm. Doctor Joe unshipped the rudder and began sculling, while the boys laboured at the long oars. At length the tide began running in, and progress was so slow that it was decided to go ashore and await a turn of the tide or a breeze.
“Lem Horn lives just back o’ that island,” said David, indicating a small wooded island. “We might stop and bide there till a breeze comes, and see un.”
In accordance with the suggestion Doctor Joe turned the boat inside the island, and there, on the mainland in the edge of a little clearing and not a hundred yards distant, stood Lem Horn’s cabin. It was a secluded and peculiarly lonely spot, hidden by the island from the few boats that plied the Bay. Here lived Lem Horn and his wife and two sons, Eli, a young man of twenty-one years, and Mark, nineteen years of age.
“There’s no smoke,” observed Jamie.
“Maybe they’re all down to Fort Pelican getting their winter outfit,” suggested David.
“There seems to be no one about but the dogs,” said Doctor Joe, as he stepped ashore with the painter and made it fast, while Lem’s big sledge dogs, lolling in the sun, watched them curiously.
Visitors do not knock in Labrador. The cabins are always open to travellers whether or not the host is at home. Andy was in advance, and opening the door he stopped on the threshold with an exclamation of horror.
Stretched upon the floor lay Lem Horn, his face and hair smeared with blood, and on the floor near him was a small pool of blood. A chair was overturned, and Lem’s legs were tangled in a fish-net.
Doctor Joe leaned over the prostrate figure.
“Shot,” said he, “and from behind!”
“Does you mean somebody shot he?” asked David, quite horrified.
“Yes, and it must have happened yesterday,” said Doctor Joe.
[Illustration: STRETCHED UPON THE FLOOR LAY LEM HORN]
LEM HORN’S SILVER FOX
“He’s alive, and this doesn’t look like a bad wound,” said Doctor Joe after a brief examination. “David, put a fire in the stove and heat some water! Andy, find some clean cloths! Jamie, bring up my medicine kit from the boat!”
The boys hurried to carry out the directions, while Doctor Joe made a more careful examination and discovered a second wound in Lem’s back, just below the right shoulder.