Walter prepared the morning meal; Stephen did full justice to it, and then made ready to take his departure.
“I will come again within a week or ten days. What shall I bring?”
“Powder, if you can buy it for me on credit.”
“I fancy Master McCleary will provide you with plenty.”
“Say to my mother that I suffer for nothing save the opportunity to see her. She knows full well what other words I would speak if she were here.”
With a hearty clasp of the hands the two friends I separated, Stephen to make his way through the forest ten miles or more, and Walter to resume the labour which might prove useless.
The would-be miller found it very difficult to continue at his task during that day. More than once he almost decided to remain idle until word should come that he was at liberty to return home; but then he remembered the goal he had set for himself, and laboured more industriously than before.
It was no longer possible, now he was alone, to move the larger logs, and all he could do was to hew them into shape, without an attempt to remove the timbers to the site of the mill.
The days passed slowly and wearily. The Sabbath seemed to have in it three times the usual number of hours. He indulged in hunting only when it became absolutely necessary he should have food, for the supply of powder bid fair to be exhausted before the time set for Stephen’s return.
A week elapsed, and the young exile grew more cheerful. His friend must soon come. As for Sewatis, Walter did not believe he would ever see him again.
At the close of the eighth day, when the solitary supper had been cooked and eaten, more as one performs an important duty than something to be enjoyed, Walter was lying on the bed of boughs, dreaming of the time he could return home without fear of an unjust arrest, when a shadow came between his eyes and the fire.
Springing up in alarm, he seized the musket, which stood where it could be reached handily, and made ready to defend himself, for it seemed certain Sam Haines or one of his emissaries had come to carry him to jail.
Sewatis stood before him.
One would have said that the Indian had been absent but a few moments, and was wholly at a Joss to understand the look of surprise on the boy’s face.
“I thought you were never coming back!” Walter cried, in a tone of most intense relief.
“Come to see mill,” the Indian replied, as he seated himself and began to eat a deer-steak which had been left near the fire.
“I am beginning to fear you will never see one of mine,” the boy said, despondently. “I have been foolish enough to think I could borrow as much as would be needed, while money is so scarce in this province.”
“Build mill next day,” Sewatis said, more indistinctly than usual, because his mouth was full of meat.
Walter understood the Indian to mean that he would continue the work on the morrow, and was not particularly interested in the proposed labour, for during the time he had been alone the possibility of ever getting a sufficient capital seemed an obstacle which could not be surmounted.