It was a wonderful region through which they moved. Up hill and down, across wild meadows and frozen swamps. Most of the time they travelled through great forest tracts, unharmed as yet by fire or axe. The trees, thick-set and tall, reminded Jean of great masts. A brooding silence reigned in these sombre depths, broken only by an occasional chatter of a surprised squirrel, the whirr of a partridge, or the cheepings of the little chickadees as they hopped from branch to branch. Once during the afternoon they stopped and ate a little of the cooked food Kitty had brought along. Jean was glad of this rest, for notwithstanding the training she had received, she was quite weary. She was most thankful when that evening Sam halted by the side of a little brook, unslung his pack and laid it upon the snow.
“Yut-ku-lo-wut,” he said.
“What does that mean?” Jean asked.
Then he turned to his wife.
“Mu-tu-o-to,” he said, which the girl knew as the order to build a fire. She was pleased that she understood this command, and it encouraged her to continue the study of the native language.
While Kitty, with Jean’s assistance, gathered some dry wood, and lighted the fire, Sam erected a lean-to. Thus by the time darkness enshrouded the land they were ready for the night. It was good to lie down and rest after the march of the day, and Jean soon feel asleep.
Thus for several days they continued their journey, travelling by easy stages. Jean was more accustomed now to the trail, and the stiffness of the first two days had worn away. It was welcome news to her, however, when Sam one night told her that by sundown on the morrow they should be at the big river, the Wu-las-tukw.
“Oh, I am so glad,” she fervently replied. Once on the noble St. John it would seem almost home.
The next day they passed through a wonderful forest of great white pines. Never had Jean seen anything like them. They were as straight as arrows, and their tops seemed to her to reach the clouds drifting overhead. Ere long she noticed that many of them bore the axe blaze, and examining more closely, she saw the form of a broad arrow cut deep into the bark. “What is that?” she asked.
“King George arrow,” Sam explained. “All King George tree,” and he waved his hand in an eloquent gesture. “White man cut’m bimeby.”
“Oh, I know,” Jean exclaimed as she recalled what Dane had told her. “These are for masts for the King’s navy, are they not?”
“Are there mast-cutters near here?”
“Off dere,” and Sam motioned westward.
“Will we see them?”
“No see’m now. Bimeby, mebbe.”
“Where are they?”
Sam stopped, stooped and with his forefinger made two parallel lines in the snow several inches apart.
“A-jem-sek,” he said, touching the nearer line. “Wu-las-tukw,” and he touched the other. He next placed his finger between the two. “White man here,” he explained. “Plenty King George tree.”