Finally the men sat back from the table for a smoke and chat while the dishes were being cleared away by Mrs. Gray and Bessie.
“Now I were sure thinkin’ Bob were a ghost,” said Ed, as he lighted his pipe with a brand from the stove, “and ‘twere scarin’ me a bit. I never seen but one ghost in my life and that were——”
“We’re not wantin’ t’ hear that ghost yarn, Ed,” broke in Dick, and Ed forgot his story in the good-natured laughter that followed.
The home-coming was all that Bob had hoped and desired it to be and the arrival of his three friends from the trail made it complete. His heart was full that evening when he stepped out of doors to watch the setting sun. As he gazed at the spruce-clad hills that hid the great, wild north from which he had so lately come, the afterglow blazed up with all its wondrous colour, glorifying the world and lighting the heavens and the water and the hills beyond with the radiance and beauty of a northern sunset. The spirit of it was in Bob’s soul, and he said to himself,
“‘Tis wonderful fine t’ be livin’, an’ ‘tis a wonderful fine world t’ live in, though ‘twere seemin’ hard sometimes, in the winter. An’ th’ comin’ home has more than paid for th’ trouble I were havin’ gettin’ here.”
THE CRUISE TO ST. JOHNS
When Bob and the two Eskimos sailed the Maid of the North up the bay from Fort Pelican it was found advisable to run the schooner to an anchorage at Kenemish where she could lie with less exposure to the wind than at Wolf Bight. The moment she was made snug and safe Bob went ashore to Douglas Campbell’s cabin, where he learned that his old friend had gone to Wolf Bight early that morning to spend the day.
The lad’s impatience to reach home would brook no waiting, and so, leaving Netseksoak and Aluktook in charge of the vessel, he proceeded alone in a small boat, reaching there as we have seen early in the afternoon.
What to do with the schooner now that she had brought him safely to his destination was a problem that Bob had not been able to solve. The vessel was not his, and it was plainly his duty to find her owner and deliver the schooner to him, but how to go about it he did not know. That evening when the candles were lighted and all were gathered around the stove, he put the question to the others.
“I’m not knowin’ now who th’ schooner belongs to,” said he, “an’ I’m not knowin’ how t’ find th’ owner, I’m wonderin’ what t’ do with un.”
“Tis some trader owns un I’m thinkin’,” Mrs. Gray suggested.
“‘Tis sure some trader,” agreed Bob, “and the’s a rare lot o’ fur aboard she an’ the’s enough trader’s goods t’ stock a Post. Mr. Forbes were tellin’ me I should be gettin’ salvage for bringin’ she t’ port safe.”
“Aye,” confirmed Douglas, “you should be gettin’ salvage. ‘Tis th’ law o’ th’ sea an’ but right. We’ll ha’ t’ be lookin’ t’ th’ salvage for un lad.”