“I’m mighty glad to see ye lookin’ so well,” the latter accosted. “That sleep has brought back the colour into yer purty cheeks. Now, when ye’ve had something to eat, ye’ll be as chipper as a bird.”
Breakfast at last over, Jean and Dane sat and talked for a while before the bright fire.
“How soon can we leave this place?” the girl asked.
“When the mast-cutters, who are going with us, are ready,” Dane replied. “I have spoken to the leader about those Loyalists on the A-jem-sek, and he is going to send a supply of food to them.”
“Oh, I am so glad,” and Jean’s eyes showed her pleasure. “Those poor people have been so much in my mind. I hope that Sam and Kitty were able to help them. But now that the mast-cutters are to take supplies there is no need to worry any more. I am anxious about your father. We should go to him as soon as possible.”
“Do you think that he wants to see me, Jean?”
“I am sure he does. I told you what he said about you, and I really believe he is longing for you.”
“He must have changed, then, since the last time I saw him.”
“He certainly has. I never saw such a change in any one in such a short time. I was afraid of him when I first met him, but when I got to know him better, and found out about him, he seemed to me almost like a father.”
“It was you who worked the miracle, Jean. I owe it all to you. No one could withstand your charms, not even my father.”
The girl blushed, and dropped her eyes. She was happy, and the future looked bright. With Dane once again with her, she had no more fear.
For some time they sat there, and were only aroused by a confused noise outside. Rising, and going to the door, they beheld a strange sight. The slashers were all lined up in front of the house, surrounded by armed mast-cutters. Ben Bolster, the boss, was giving orders to the rebels. He was telling them that they must go to work, and make up for some of the trouble they had caused. Those who objected were to step forward. At this the three ringleaders advanced, and flatly refused to lift a hand.
“Very well, then, me hearties,” Bolster said, “it’s either work or the tree-tops. Which do you choose?”
As no response came from the sullen men, Bolster motioned to several of his men, who at once sprang toward a young birch tree standing nearby. Up this they climbed like cats, and soon their combined weight bent the tree to the ground. A rope was then produced, one end of which was fastened to the top of the tree, and the other about the body of one of the ringleaders, just below the arms. He struggled, fought and cursed, but all in vain. When his hands had been tied behind his back, the tree was released and he was hoisted on high, kicking and yelling in the most violent manner. The same was about to be done to his two sullen companions. But they had witnessed enough, so they begged to be allowed to go to work.