Jean dropped upon the ground, weary almost to the point of exhaustion. Her body ached, and her head throbbed with a dull pain. But after she had rested a while, and eaten the supper which Kitty speedily prepared, she felt better. Sam erected a cosy lean-to, and when the rugs and blankets had been spread out upon the fresh, fragrant spruce boughs, he insisted that Jean should occupy the choice place near the fire. So lying there, she watched her kind-hearted companions as they moved about making ready for the night.
It was a beautiful spot where their camp was built. The little lake, covered with a thin coating of ice, mirrored the great trees in its glassy surface. It was one of Nature’s gems tucked away in the heart of the mighty forest, known only to the wandering Indians, and their feathered and furry kindred of the wild.
As day faded, and night cast its mantle over forest and lake, the stars appeared and twinkled down their welcome. As Jean watched them, she thought of the night she had been stolen from home, and how cold and cheerless those same stars had seemed. She also recalled the prayer she had uttered in her distress, and the sense of peace which had come upon her. In what a remarkable manner her prayer had been answered. A feeling of intense gratitude welled up in her heart, and almost unconsciously she began to sing an old familiar hymn.
The Lord’s my Shepherd, I’ll
He makes me down to lie
In pastures green; He leadeth me
The quiet waters by.
Her voice was not strong, but exceptionally sweet. Her singing attracted the Indians, who left their work, and squatting near her side, listened with rapt attention. Jean, seeing their interest, paused at the end of the second verse, and smiled.
“Do you like singing?” she asked.
“A-ha-ha,” Kitty replied. “More, eh?”
Yea, though I walk through death’s
Yet will I fear no ill;
For Thou art with me; and Thy rod
And staff me comfort still.
When Jean had ended singing this verse there was a mistiness in her eyes. How wonderfully true were those words in her own case. The Shepherd had been with her through death’s dark vale, He had comforted her, and led her to this quiet woodland lake.
“Babby seek?” Sam asked, noticing her emotion.
“No, not sick, but very thankful,” was the quiet reply. “My Great Father in heaven has sent you to save me and to take me home. Do you know Him?”
“A-ha-ha, me know’m. White man tell Injun long tam ago.”
“Missionary?” Jean asked.
“A-ha-ha. Long black robe. Cross, all sam’ dis,” and Sam made the form of the symbol of salvation with his forefinger.
Jean knew that he referred to some French missionary who had visited the country.
“And he taught you about the Great Father?”
“A-ha-ha. Long black robe come up Wu-las-tukw in canoe. Sam no forget. Sing more, eh?”