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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 216 pages of information about The Maid of the Whispering Hills.

Kept close to the factory by the bartering, McElroy and Ridgar and the two clerks hardly saw the blue spring sky, nor caught a breath of the scented air of the spring.  Within the forest the Saskatoon was blooming and the blueberry bushes were tossing soft heads of foam, while many a tree of the big woods gave forth a breath of spice.  It came in at the door and the young factor raised his head many times a day to drink its sweetness in a sort of wistfulness.  At dusk he stood on the sill, released from the trade, and looked over his settlement as was his habit, and ever his eyes strayed to that new cabin at the far end, of the northern row.

What was she thinking, that dark-browed girl with the deep eyes that changed as the waters of a lake with each breath of wind, of him and the blundering gift he had carried to her door?  What had she done with it, and would he ever see it clinging to those splendid shoulders, falling over the rounded breast?

A feeling of warmth grew at his heart each day with thought of her, and when he saw her swinging down toward the well he felt the blood leap in his veins.  The very shine of the sun was different when it struck the tight black braids wrapped round her head.

Verily the little kingdom had brought forth its Princess.

And with her coming there was one heart that burned hot with passion, that fashioned itself after the form of hatred, for little Francette had seen, first a glow in a man’s eyes and then a gift in his hand, and she fingered a small, flat blade that hung in her sash with one hand, the while the other strayed on the head of Loup.  Dark was the fire that played in her pretty eyes, heavy the anguish that rode her breast.

She hated the memory of that white garment spread out on Maren Le Moyne’s bed.

“Tessa,” she said one day, sidling up to that Tessa Bibye who had cast a taunt in her teeth, “know you the charm which that doctress of the Crees gave to Marci Varendree when she sickened for love of that half-breed, Tohi Stannard?”

“Oho!” cried Tessa gleefully, “a man again!  Who lacks one now, Francette?”

“Nay,” said Francette, “but I know of one who sickens inwardly and I would give her the charm.”

“Go into the flats of the Beaver House after Marci and her Indian, whither they went,” Tessa laughed.  “I know not the charm.  But it was good, for she got him, and went to the wilds with him.  Follow and learn, Francette.”

But Francette, with a gesture of disgust, turned away.

The warm spring days passed in a riot of song from the depths outside the post, the Assiniboine rippled and whispered along its shores and over the illimitable stretches of the wilderness there hung the very spirit of the mating-time.

Within the stockade, mothers sat in the doors crooning to the babes that clutched at the sunbeams, dogs slept in the cool shadows of the cabins, and here and there a youth sang a snatch of a love song.

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