Over and over again they planned the great things they would do when he came back with a big lot of fur—as they were both quite sure he would—and how she would go away to the doctor’s to be made well and strong again as she used to be and the romps they were to have when that happy time came.
“An’ Bob,” said Emily, “every night before I goes to sleep when I says my ‘Now I lay me down to sleep’ prayer, I’ll say to God ‘an’ keep Bob out o’ danger an’ bring he home safe.’”
“Aye, Emily,” answered Bob, “an’ I’ll say to God, ‘Make Emily fine an’ strong again.’”
Before daybreak on Monday morning breakfast was eaten, and the boat loaded for a start at dawn. Emily was not yet awake when the time came to say farewell and Bob kissed her as she slept. Poor Mrs. Gray could not restrain the tears, and Bob felt a great choking in his throat—but he swallowed it bravely.
“Don’t be feelin’ bad, mother. I’m t’ be rare careful in th’ bush, and you’ll see me well and hearty wi’ a fine hunt, wi’ th’ open water,” said he, as he kissed her.
“I knows you’ll be careful, an’ I’ll try not t’ worry, but I has a forebodin’ o’ somethin’ t’ happen—somethin’ that’s t’ happen t’ you, Bob—oh, I feels that somethin’s t’ happen. Emily’ll be missin’ you dreadful, Bob. An’—’twill be sore lonesome for your father an’ me without our boy.”
“Ready, Bob!” shouted Dick from the boat.
“Don’t forget your prayers, lad, an’ remember that your mother’s prayin’ for you every mornin’ an’ every night.”
“Yes, mother, I’ll remember all you said.”
She watched him from the door as he walked down to the shore with his father, and the boat, heavily laden, pushed out into the Bay, and she watched still, until it disappeared around the point, above. Then she turned back into the room and had a good cry before she went about her work again.
If she had known what those distant hills held for her boy—if her intuition had been knowledge—she would never have let him go.
AN ADVENTURE WITH A BEAR
The boat turned out into the broad channel and into Goose Bay. There was little or no wind, and when the sun broke gloriously over the white-capped peaks of the Mealy Mountains it shone upon a sea as smooth as a mill pond, with scarcely a ripple to disturb it. The men worked laboriously and silently at their oars. A harbour seal pushed its head above the water, looked at the toiling men curiously for a moment, then disappeared below the surface, leaving an eddy where it had been. Gulls soared overhead, their white wings and bodies looking very pure and beautiful in the sunlight. High in the air a flock of ducks passed to the southward. From somewhere in the distance came the honk of a wild goose. The air was laden with the scent of the great forest of spruce and balsam fir, whose dark green barrier came down from the rock-bound, hazy hills in the distance to the very water’s edge, where tamarack groves, turned yellow by the early frosts, reflected the sunlight like settings of rich gold.