In a short time a bright fire was burning, and Jean comfortably ensconced upon the blankets and furs. Not a drop of rain touched her, for the roof of this abode was covered with long strips of birch bark. This, so Kitty explained, would be their home until the streams froze hard enough to carry them. How pleasant it was to Jean to lie there and rest. She felt that she could not endure another day of travel through the forest. She had been tired the night before, but it was little compared to now. Every bone in her body ached, and her feet were sore and blistered. It was good to lie there listening to the rain beating its tat-too upon the roof, and watching the smoke scurrying upwards. She could hear the wind howling among the trees, and vainly striving to force an entrance into their snug retreat.
Nearby Sam had his cache among the lower branches of four spruce trees, and high enough from the ground to be safe from prowling animals. From this he brought down some provisions, including a piece of moose meat, tea, and a little flour. With the latter Kitty baked several bannocks before the fire, which tasted especially good to Jean after her sole diet of meat. These were eaten with the honey of wild bees which the Indians had gathered during the summer.
“These are good,” Jean remarked, as she helped herself to a second bannock. “Where did you get this honey?”
Kitty laughed as she pointed to her husband, who was dragging in several large sticks.
“Sam get’m last summer. Bees bite Sam, see?” and she put her hands to her face and neck. “Sam head beeg. Hurt.” Again she laughed at the recollection of her husband’s swollen face.
When Sam had finished his task of bringing in the wood, he squatted before the fire and ate his supper. Then he brought forth a plug of tobacco, whittled off several slices with his hunting-knife, filled his blackened pipe, and lighted it with a small brand from the fire. His wife did the same, and soon the two were smoking in great contentment. Jean, watching, thought how little it took to satisfy such people. Their belongings were few, and their places of abode many. She longed to know more about these two Indians, why they were living apart from their tribe, and whether they had any children. They must have mingled with white people, for they readily understood everything she said, although they themselves spoke in broken English.
She thought of these things the next morning as she and Kitty were comfortably seated near the fire. The rain had ceased during the night, the clouds had rolled away, and the ice-laden trees, touched by the sun, shone and sparkled with surpassing loveliness. It seemed like fairy-land to Jean when she first looked forth that morning, and she exclaimed with delight. From the lake to the high peak off toward the west millions of icy diamonds had caught the bright beams, and were scintillating their glory far and wide.