The day was drawing to a close when the women and children were transferred to their new abodes. Fires were burning brightly, and fresh fir boughs made soft beds. The children were delighted with this change, and the expression in the women’s eyes showed their pleasure. As Jean watched the mothers making up the beds for the night she noticed how few and thin were the blankets. She well knew that they must have more clothing if they were to be kept from perishing during the long winter ahead. And other food they must have than meat, especially the children. Her mind turned naturally to the King’s mast-cutters. She must go to them, for no doubt they had a supply of provisions on hand, as well as extra blankets. She was sure that they would be willing to help these needy people.
At first she thought of getting Sam and Kitty to go. But thinking the matter over, she decided that it would be better to go herself. The Indians might not be able to explain fully the serious condition of the Loyalists, or else the mast-cutters might not pay much attention to what they said. She mentioned this to no one, however, preferring to wait until Sam returned that she might talk it over with him.
There was little rest that night for the older ones. The hungry children had cried themselves to sleep, while the helpless parents watched and listened with heavy hearts. They were beyond tears now, having shed so many in the past. The men were weary to the point of exhaustion after their day’s work without any food. As they huddled there they often cast anxious glances out into the night, hoping to see the Indian coming from the forest. They themselves had done the best they could to provide game, but they were unused to hunting, and when they became weakened through lack of food, they were able to do but little. All they could do now was to trust to the Indian and await his return.
Jean decided to watch with Kitty, as she felt sure that Sam would come back before morning. But as the hours wore on, her eyes became heavy. The bed of fir boughs and blankets was comfortable, so at length she passed into a sound sleep, leaving Kitty awake and watchful.
When she opened her eyes it was daylight, and the delicious odor of frying meat pervaded the air. Kitty was stooping before the fire, while Sam was squatting but a short distance away. They both turned and smiled as the girl awoke and spoke to them.
“When did you get back, Sam?” she asked.
“Short tam’ go. Plenty meat now.”
“Oh, I am so glad! What did you get?”
“Feesh, Injun turkey, hut-tok.”
“What, a deer!” Jean exclaimed, for she knew the meaning of the Indian word.
“A-ha-ha, hut-tok. Beeg.”
“Good for you, Sam! You are a great hunter. Where is the deer?”
“White man eat’m,” he replied with a smile.
“And did you haul it into camp?”