“A-ha-ha. Sam strong, beeg.”
This supply of meat was a God-send to all, and there was great rejoicing among the Loyalists. They praised the Indian for what he had done, and he was looked upon as a hero, especially by the children.
When breakfast was over, and Sam was enjoying his pipe near the fire, Jean spoke to him about going to the mast-cutters for assistance. The Indian listened intently, and when the girl had finished speaking, he remained for awhile in deep silence.
“Can we do it?” Jean at length asked. “How far is it?”
“Sam go wan sleep, babby two sleep,” was the reply.
Jean smiled as she drew herself to her full height.
“Don’t you think I can do it in one sleep as well as you?” she bantered. “Why, I am strong now, almost like an Indian.”
“Babby no all sam’ Injun yet,” Sam reminded. “Bimeby, mebbe.”
“But will you go, Sam?”
“A-ha-ha. Wan sleep, Sam go.”
“In the morning?”
“Mebbe. Sam see.”
With this Jean had to be content. She was pleased that the Indian was willing to go with her, although she was well aware that he would start only when he was ready. She talked it over with the women, and a new hope rose in their hearts when they learned about the King’s mast-cutters.
“What should we have done without you?” one woman remarked with a sob in her voice. “The Lord surely must have sent you and those Indians just when our needs were so great. We can never repay you for what you have done for us.”
SIX CANDLES AND ONE
The short winter day was drawing to a close as Jean and her two Indian companions moved down the western side of a long hill. They were making for the valley below through which ran a small brook, where they hoped to camp for the night. They had been abroad since morning, and Jean was now very tired. Her strength was not so great as she had imagined, and she recalled with amusement her proud boast the day before. Sam had been right, and she was glad that he did not try to reach the mast-cutters in “one sleep.” She could not possibly do it, although it would have been easy for the Indians. They had this day regulated their speed to her feeble steps. But without her how they would have sped through the forest. They were both wonderful snow-shoers, and on several occasions she had watched them as they bounded over the snow with great swinging, tireless strides. Her admiration of these faithful, self-reliant people was unbounded.
They had almost reached the valley when the report of a gun rang through the forest, followed in a few seconds by a cry of distress. Sam stopped dead in his tracks, gripped hard his musket, and peered keenly among the trees. The next instant he was bounding forward, leaving Jean and Kitty staring after him.