For a while she stood in the doorway, looking out upon the river over which the mantle of night had settled. Mammy was crooning to the Indian baby before the fire. It was an old darky lullaby, and the faithful servant had sung it to her when she was a child. It brought back memories of her youthful days, which now seemed so long ago and like a dream.
“Doan stan’ dere, chile,” Mammy at length reminded. “Yo’ll get yo’ deff a col’.”
Jean turned, picked up a shawl and threw it over her head.
“I am going to run over to see Mrs. Watson for a while,” she said. “Danny was not well to-day, so I am anxious to know how he is getting along. With her husband away, Mrs. Watson must be very lonely tonight.”
Mrs. Watson was greatly pleased to see the girl, and offered her a seat near the fire.
“How is Danny?” Jean asked.
“He is much better, I think, and is sleeping soundly,” the mother replied, as she stole on tip-toe to the side of the rough cradle, and looked down fondly upon the little white face. “John was so sorry to go away with the baby sick,” she continued, coming back to the fire. “I do hope there will be no fighting. Suppose some of our men should be killed!”
“I have great confidence in the rangers, and Mr. Davidson told me that not likely there would be any fighting,” Jean comforted. “I believe he has some plan to entrap the rebels.”
“Let us hope that he is right,” and Mrs. Watson sighed as she rose and placed a big stick upon the fire. “How cold the nights are getting. I wonder how we shall manage through the winter.”
“We have plenty of wood, anyway, Mrs. Watson, and so should keep warm. And we have enough meat to last us for months. When the Polly brings our supplies, we shall have an abundance of everything.”
“I wonder what can be keeping that boat, Jean. We expected her before this. I hope Captain Leavitt has not forgotten us.”
“He will come in time, never fear. We should have news, too, from our old home. How strange it is to be shut off for months with no communication with the great world beyond.”
“It is like being buried live, dear. And just think of the long winter ahead, with snow and ice everywhere.”
“But we shall make our little world right here, Mrs. Watson. I am looking forward to the winter. We are going to have a cosy, happy time, and lots of fun at Christmas. The children are talking about it already, and I know that wonderful presents are being made. I have been working at mine for some time, and I suppose you will have something for Danny.”
Mrs. Watson smiled as she rose and took down a little basket from a rude shelf on the wall. From this she brought forth several little home-made articles, and laid them in Jean’s lap.
“John is handy with his knife,” she explained, “and made this boat, horse, and cart. He is going to make something else when he gets time. I made that doll out of some odds and ends, and John carved the head. We shall also make some molasses candy of funny shapes. Danny will be delighted. Poor little fellow, he talks so much about Santa Claus, and the things he is going to get.”