He laughed outright. It was a joyous, thrilling thing, this black night with the storm over their heads and the roll of the great river under them—they two—alone—in this cockleshell cabin that was not high enough to stand in and scarcely big enough in any direction to turn round in. The snug cheer of it, the warmth of the fire beginning to reach their chilled bodies, and the inspiring crackle of the birch in the little stove filled Kent, for a space, with other thoughts than those of the world they were leaving. And Marette, whose eyes and lips were smiling at him softly in the candle-glow, seemed also to have forgotten. It was the little window that brought them back to the tragedy of their flight. Kent visioned it as it must look from the shore—a telltale blotch of light traveling through the darkness. There were occasional cabins for several miles below the Landing, and eyes turned riverward in the storm might see it. He made his way to the window and fastened his slicker over it.
“We’re off, Gray Goose,” he said then, rubbing his hands. “Would it seem more homelike if I smoked?”
She nodded, her eyes on the slicker at the window.
“It’s pretty safe,” said Kent, fishing out his pipe, and beginning to fill it. “Everybody asleep, probably. But we won’t take any chances.” The scow was swinging sideways in the current. Kent felt the change in its movement, and added: “No danger of being wrecked, either. There isn’t a rock or rapids for thirty miles. River clear as a floor. If we bump ashore, don’t get frightened.”
“I’m not afraid—of the river,” she said. Then, with rather startling unexpectedness, she asked him, “Where will they look for us tomorrow?”
Kent lighted his pipe, eyeing her a bit speculatively as she seated herself on the stool, leaning toward him as she waited for an answer to her question.
“The woods, the river, everywhere,” he said. “They’ll look for a missing boat, of course. We’ve simply got to watch behind us and take advantage of a good start.”
“Will the rain wipe out our footprints, Jeems?”
“Yes. Everything in the open.”
“But—perhaps—in a sheltered place—?”
“We were in no sheltered place,” he assured her. “Can you remember that we were, Gray Goose?”
She shook her head slowly. “No. But there was Mooie, under the window.”
“His footprints will be wiped out.”
“I am glad. I would not have him, or M’sieu Fingers, or any of our friends brought into this trouble.”
She made no effort to hide the relief his words brought her. He was a little amazed that she should worry over Fingers and the old Indian in this hour of their own peril. That danger he had decided to keep as far from her mind as possible. But she could not help realizing the impending menace of it. She must know that within a few hours Kedsty would be found, and the long arm of the wilderness police would begin its work. And if it caught them—