“Tell me,” she said. “Was it Seth Lupin?”
“A-ha-ha. Seth. Bad. Ugh!”
“Where is he now?”
The woman merely shook her head, and spoke a few rapid words to her husband. She then turned to Jean and placed a light hand upon her shoulder.
“No mind white man now. Babby tired.”
Jean smiled as the woman pressed her gently back upon the soft furs, and then stooped to take off her shoes. The latter were torn, and her feet were sore. It felt good to lie there, and to have some one attend to her needs. When the shoes had been removed, and a pair of soft moccasins placed upon her feet, she felt more comfortable.
“Why are you so good to me?” she asked. “You are just like a mother.”
The woman only smiled in reply, and placed extra rugs about the girl. She then turned and cut a slice from a piece of moose meat. Through this she thrust a sharp-pointed stick and held it over the glowing coals. When it was browned to her satisfaction, she sprinkled it with a little salt, let it cool for a few minutes, and then handed it to her guest.
“Eat, eh?” she queried. “Good.”
Jean smiled as she took the meat in her fingers and tasted it. She was hungry, and the steak was tender. It seemed so strange to be lying there in the wilderness, eating in such a primitive manner. She thought of her old home in Connecticut, and how carefully her mother had trained her. She remembered how when a child she had been rebuked because she had taken a piece of meat in her fingers. But it was the custom here in the wild, and she rather enjoyed it. And as she ate, the two Indians watched her with much interest. Such a novelty did she seem to them, that she could not refrain from smiling.
“Am I eating right?” she asked.
“A-ha-ha,” the woman replied. “Babby all sam’ Injun bimeby.”
“Why do you call me baby? I am very big.”
But the woman shook her head.
“White woman no beeg, no strong, no hunt, no feesh, no pack; all sam’ babby.”
“Oh, I see,” and Jean’s eyes twinkled. “I know I cannot hunt, fish, or pack. But you will teach me, will you not?”
“A-ha-ha. Injun teach babby bimeby. Sleep now.”
Jean did feel drowsy, and the bed was so soft and comfortable. For a while she watched the friendly Indians as they sat near the fire, and talked low to each other. It all seemed like a wonderful dream—the leaping flames, the dancing sparks, and the gentle sighing of the wind in the tree-tops. Her thoughts drifted away to her father and Dane. How anxious they must be about her. But the Indians would take her home, and all would again be well. What a story she would have to tell of her capture and experience in the wilderness. How could she ever repay her rescuers for what they had done for her? She tried to think of what she might give them. But her thoughts became confused, and she drifted oft into a peaceful sleep with the problem unsettled.