Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Books, poems, drama…

Nan Sherwood at Pine Camp The Old Lumberman's Secret by Annie Roe Carr

Part 2 out of 4

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.4 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

string of home-cured deer skin. "And if you are short, Bob,
we'll go down into this poke and see what there is left.

"I came down to Chicago to see about a piece of timber that's
owned by some sharps on Jackson Street. I didn't know but I
might get to cut that timber. I've run it careless-like, and I
know pretty near what there is in it. So I said to Kate:

"'I'll see Bob and his wife, and the little nipper-----"

"Goodness!" ejaculated Nan, under her breath.

Uncle Henry's eyes twinkled and the many wrinkles about them
screwed up into hard knots. "Beg pardon!" he exclaimed, for his
ears were very sharp. "This young lady, I should have said.
Anyhow, I told Kate I'd see you all and find out what you were

"Depending on mills and such for employment isn't any very safe
way to live, I think. Out in the woods you are as free as air,
and there aren't so many bosses, and you don't have to think much
about 'the market' and 'supply and demand,' and all that."

"Just the same," said Mr. Robert Sherwood, his own eyes
twinkling, "you are in some trouble right now, I believe, Hen?"

"Sho! You've got me there," boomed his brother with a great
laugh. "But there aren't many reptiles like old Ged Raffer. And
we can thank a merciful Creator for that. I expect there are
just a few miserly old hunks like Ged as horrible examples to the
rest of us."

"What is the nature of your trouble with this old fellow?" asked
Mr. Robert Sherwood.

"We've got hold on adjoining options. I had my lines run by one
of the best surveyors in the Peninsula of Michigan. But he up
and died. Ged claims I ran over on his tract about a mile. He
got to court first, got an injunction, and tied me all up in a
hard legal knot until the state surveyors can go over both pieces
of timber. The land knows when that'll be! Those state
surveyors take a week of frog Sundays to do a job.

"I can't cut a stick on my whole piece 'cause Ged claims he'll
have a right to replevin an equal number of sticks cut, if the
surveyors back up his contention. Nasty mess. The original line
was run years and years ago, and they're not many alive today in
the Big woods that know the rights of it.

"I expect," added Uncle Henry, shaking his bushy head, "that old
Toby Vanderwiller knows the rights of that line business; but he
won't tell.

Gedney Raffer's got a strangle hold on Toby and his little swamp
farm, and Toby doesn't dare say his soul's his own.

"Well!" continued the lumberman, with another of his big laughs.
"This has nothing to do with your stew, Bob. I didn't want to
come to the house last night and surprise you; so I stayed at the
hotel. And all the time I was thinking of this little nip, Beg
pardon! This young lady, and how smart and plucky she was.

"And lo and behold," pursued Uncle Henry, "she turns out to be my
own niece. I'm going to take her back with me to Pine Camp.
Kate's got to see and know her. The boys will be tickled out of
their boots to have a girl like her around. That's our one lack
at Pine Camp. There never was a girl in the family.

"Seems that this was just foreordained. You and Jessie have got
to go 'way off, over the water; can't leave this plucky girl
alone. Her old uncle and aunt are the proper folks to take care
of her. What do you say yourself, young lady?"

Nan had liked the big man from the very beginning. She was a
sensible child, too. She saw that she must settle this matter
herself, for it was too hard a question for either Momsey or Papa
Sherwood to decide. She gained control of herself now; but
nobody will ever know how much courage it took for her to say,

"Of course I will go home with you, Uncle Henry. It will be fun,
I think, to go into the woods in the winter. And, and I can
come right back as soon as Momsey and Papa Sherwood return from

So it was settled, just like that. The rush in which both
parties got under way on Monday made Nan's head whirl. Momsey
was to buy a few necessary things in New York before she boarded
the steamer. Nan had a plentiful supply of warm winter clothing,
and she took a trunkful.

Mrs. Joyce was left to take a peep at the little, locked cottage
on Amity Street, now and then. Nan could say "Goodbye" only very
hastily to Bess Harley and her other school friends. Her school
had to be broken off at a bad time in the year, but there was the
prospect of a change in Nan's method of education the next fall.

Momsey and Papa Sherwood took the train east an hour before Nan
and Uncle Henry boarded that for Chicago. All went with a rush
and clatter, and Nan found herself at last rumbling out of
Tillbury, on her way to the northern wilderness, while a thin
drive of fine snowflakes tapped on the car windows.

Chapter X

It was fortunate for Nan Sherwood that on the day of parting with
her parents she had so much to do, and that there was so much to
see, and so many new things of which to think.

She had never traveled to Chicago before, nor far from Tillbury
at all. Even the chair car was new to the girl's experience and
she found it vastly entertaining to sit at a broad window with
her uncle in the opposite chair, gazing out upon the snowy
landscape as the train hurried over the prairie.

She had a certain feeling that her Uncle Henry was an anomaly in
the chair car. His huge bearskin coat and the rough clothing
under it; his felt boots, with rubber soles and feet; the fact
that he wore no linen and only a string tie under the collar of
his flannel shirt; his great bronzed hands and blunted fingers
with their broken nails, all these things set him apart from the
other men who rode in the car.

Papa Sherwood paid much attention to the niceties of dress,
despite the fact that his work at the Atwater Mills had called
for overalls and, frequently, oily hands. Uncle Henry evidently
knew little about stiff collars and laundered cuffs, or cravats,
smart boots, bosomed shirts, or other dainty wear for men. He
was quite innocent of giving any offence to the eye, however.
Lying back in the comfortable chair with his coat off and his
great lumberman's boots crossed, he laughed at anything Nan said
that chanced to be the least bit amusing, until the gas-globes
rang again.

It seemed to Nan as though there never was such a huge man
before. She doubted if Goliath could have looked so big to young
David, when the shepherd boy went out with his sling to meet the
giant. Uncle Henry was six feet, four inches in height and broad
in proportion. The chair creaked under his weight when he moved.
Other people in the car gazed on the quite unconscious giant as
wonderingly as did Nan herself.

"Uncle Henry," she asked him once, "are all the men in the Big
Woods as tall as you are?"

"Goodness me! No, child," he chuckled. "But the woods don't
breed many runts, that's a fact. There's some bigger than I.
Long Sam Dorgan is near seven feet he isn't quite sure, for
he's so ticklish that you can't ever measure him," and Uncle
Henry's chuckle burst into a full-fledged laugh. "He's just as
graceful as a length of shingle lathing, too. And freckles and
liver spots on his hands and face, well, he certain sure is a
handsome creature.

"He went to town once and stayed over night. Wasn't any bed long
enough at the hotel, and Sam had got considerably under the
weather, anyhow, from fooling with hard cider. So he wasn't
particular about where he bedded down, and they put him to sleep
in the horse trough."

"The horse trough!" gasped Nan.

"Yes. It was pretty dry when Sam went to bed; but right early in
the morning a sleepy hostler stumbled out to the trough and began
to pump water into it for the cattle. Maybe Long Sam needed a
bath, but not just that way. He rose up with a yell like a
Choctaw Indian. Said he was just dreaming of going through the
Sault Ste. Marie in a barrel, and he reckoned the barrel burst

Nan was much amused by this story, as she was by others that the
old lumberman related. He was full of dry sayings and his speech
had many queer twists to it. His bluff, honest way delighted the
girl, although he was so different from Papa Sherwood. As Momsey
had said, Uncle Henry's body had to be big to contain his heart.
One can excuse much that is rough in a character so lovable as
that of Uncle Henry's.

The snow increased as the train sped on and the darkness
gradually thickened. Uncle Henry took his niece into the dining
car where they had supper, with a black man with shiny eyes and
very white teeth, who seemed always on the broad grin, to wait
upon them. Nan made a mental note to write Bess Harley all about
the meal and the service, for Bess was always interested in
anything that seemed "aristocratic," and to the unsophisticated
girl from Tillbury the style of the dining car seemed really

When the train rolled into the Chicago station it was not yet
late; but it seemed to Nan as though they had ridden miles and
miles, through lighted streets hedged on either side with brick
houses. The snow was still falling, but it looked sooty and gray
here in the city. Nan began to feel some depression, and to
remember more keenly that Momsey and Papa Sherwood were flying
easterly just as fast as an express train could take them.

It was cold, too. A keen, penetrating wind seemed to search
through the streets. Uncle Henry said it came from the lake. He
beckoned to a taxicab driver, and Nan's trunk was found and
strapped upon the roof. Then off they went to the hotel where
Uncle Henry always stopped when he came to Chicago, and where his
own bag was checked.

Looking through the cab windows, the girl began to take an
immediate interest in life again. So many people, despite the
storm! So many vehicles tangled up at the corners and waiting for
the big policemen to let them by in front of the clanging cars!
Bustle, hurry, noise, confusion!

"Some different from your Tillbury," drawled Uncle Henry. "And
just as different from Pine Camp as chalk is from cheese."

"But so interesting!" breathed Nan, with a sigh. "Doesn't it
ever get to be bedtime for children in the city?"

"Not for those kids," grumbled Uncle Henry. "Poor creatures.
They sell papers, or flowers, or matches, or what-not, all
evening long. And stores keep open, and hotel bars, and drug
shops, besides theatres and the like. There's a big motion
picture place! I went there once. It beats any show that ever
came to Hobart Forks, now I tell you."

"Oh, we have motion picture shows at Tillbury. We have had them
in the school hall, too," said Nan complacently. "But, of
course, I'd like to see all the people and the lights, and so
forth. It looks very interesting in the city. But the snow is
dirty, Uncle Henry."

"Yes. And most everything else is dirty when you get into these
brick and mortar tunnels. That's what I call the streets. The
air even isn't clean," went on the lumberman. "Give me the
woods, with a fresh wind blowing, and the world looks good to
me," then his voice and face fell, as he added, "excepting that
snake-in-the-grass, Ged Raffer."

"That man must make you a lot of trouble, Uncle Henry," said Nan

"He does," growled the lumberman. "He's a miserable, fox-faced
scoundrel, and I've no more use for him than I have for an egg-
sucking dog. That's the way I feel about it."

They reached the hotel just then, and Uncle Henry's flare of
passion was quenched. The hostelry he patronized was not a new
hotel; but it was a very good one, and Nan's heart beat high as
she followed the porter inside, with Uncle Henry directing the
taxicab driver and a second porter how to dispose of the trunk
for the night.

Nan had her bag in which were her night clothes, toilet articles,
and other necessities. The porter carried this for her and
seated her on a comfortable lounge at one side while Uncle Henry
arranged about the rooms.

To do honor to his pretty niece the lumberman engaged much better
quarters than he would have chosen for himself. When they went
up to the rooms Nan found a pretty little bath opening out of
hers, and the maid came and asked her if she could be of any
help. The girl began to feel quite "grown up." It was all very
wonderful, and she loved Uncle Henry for making things so
pleasant for her.

She had to run to his door and tell him this before she
undressed. He had pulled off his boots and was tramping up and
down the carpeted floor in his thick woolen socks, humming to

"Taking a constitutional, Nan," he declared. "Haven't had any
exercise for this big body of mine all day. Sitting in that car
has made me as cramped as a bear just crawling out of his den in
the spring."

He did not tell her that had he been alone he would have gone out
and tramped the snowy streets for half the night. But he would
not leave her alone in the hotel. "No, sir," said Uncle Henry.
"Robert would never forgive me if anything happened to his honey-
bird. And fire, or something, might break out here while I was

He said nothing like this to Nan, however, but kissed her good
night and told her she should always bid him good night in just
that way as long as she was at Pine Camp.

"For Kate and I have never had a little girl," said the big
lumberman, "and boys get over the kissing stage mighty early, I
find. Kate and I always did hanker for a girl."

"If you owned a really, truly daughter of your own, Uncle Henry,
I believe you'd spoil her to death!" cried Nan, the next morning,
when she came out of the fur shop to which he had taken her.

He had insisted that she was not dressed warmly enough for the
woods. We see forty and forty-five below up there, sometimes,"
he said. "You think this raw wind is cold; it is nothing to a
black frost in the Big Woods. Trees burst as if there were
dynamite in 'em. You've never seen the like.

"Of course the back of winter's about broken now. But we may
have some cold snaps yet. Anyhow, you look warmer than you did."

And that was true, for Nan was dressed like a little Esquimau.
Her coat had a pointed hood to it; she wore high fur boots, the
fur outside. Her mittens of seal were buttoned to the sleeves of
her coat, and she could thrust her hands, with ordinary gloves on
them, right into these warm receptacles.

Nan thought they were wonderfully served at the hotel where they
stopped, and she liked the maid on her corridor very much, and
the boy who brought the icewater, too. There really was so much
to tell Bess that she began to keep a diary in a little blank-
book she bought for that purpose.

Then the most wonderful thing of all was the message from Papa
Sherwood which arrived just before she and Uncle Henry left the
hotel for the train. It was a "night letter" sent from Buffalo
and told her that Momsey was all right and that they both sent
love and would telegraph once more before their steamship left
the dock at New York.

Nan and Uncle Henry drove through the snowy streets to another
station and took the evening train north. They traveled at first
by the Milwaukee Division of the Chicago and Northwestern
Railroad; and now another new experience came Nan's way. Uncle
Henry had secured a section in the sleeping car and each had a

It was just like being put to sleep on a shelf, Nan declared,
when the porter made up the beds at nine o'clock. She climbed
into the upper berth a little later, sure that she would not
sleep, and intending to look out of the narrow window to watch
the snowy landscape fly by all night.

And much to her surprise (only the surprise came in the morning)
she fell fast asleep almost immediately, lulled by the rocking of
the huge car on its springs, and did not arouse until seven
o'clock and the car stood on the siding in the big Wisconsin

They hurried to get a northern bound train and were soon off on
what Uncle Henry called the "longest lap" of their journey. The
train swept them up the line of Lake Michigan, sometimes within
sight of the shore, often along the edge of estuaries,
particularly following the contour of Green By, and then into the
Wilderness of upper Wisconsin and the Michigan Peninsula.

On the Peninsula Division of the C. & N. W. they did not travel
as fast as they had been running, and before Hobart Forks was
announced on the last local train they traveled in, Nan Sherwood
certainly was tired of riding by rail. The station was in
Marquette County, near the Schoolcraft line. Pine Camp was
twenty miles deeper in the Wilderness. It seemed to Nan that she
had been traveling through forests, or the barren stumpage where
forests had been, for weeks.

"Here's where we get off, little girl," Uncle Henry said, as he
seized his big bag and her little one and made for the door of
the car. Nan ran after him in her fur clothing. She had found
before this that he was right about the cold. It was an entirely
different atmosphere up here in the Big Woods from Tillbury, or
even Chicago.

The train creaked to a stop. They leaped down upon the snowy
platform. Only a plain station, big freight house, and a company
of roughly dressed men to meet them. Behind the station a number
of sleighs and sledges stood, their impatient horses shaking the
innumerable bells they wore.

Nan, stumbling off the car step behind her uncle, came near to
colliding with a small man in patched coat and cowhide boots, and
with a rope tied about his waist as some teamsters affect. He
mumbled something in anger and Nan turned to look at him.

He wore sparse, sandy whiskers, now fast turning gray. The
outthrust of the lower part of his face was as sharp as that of a
fox, and he really looked like a fox. She was sure of his
identity before uncle Henry wheeled and, seeing the man, said:

"What's that you are saying, Ged Raffer? This is my niece, and
if you lay your tongue to her name, I'll give you something to go
to law about in a hurry. Come, Nan. Don't let that man touch so
much as your coat sleeve. He's like pitch. You can't be near
him without some of his meanness sticking to you."

Chapter XI

It was the first shade upon Uncle Henry's character that
displeased Nan. He was evidently a passionate man, prone to give
way to elemental feelings, literally, "a man of wrath."

Gedney Raffer, weazened, snakelike, sly, and treacherous, had
doubtless wronged Uncle Henry deeply., But this fact could not
excuse the huge lumberman's language on the platform of the
Hobart Forks station.

Nan wanted to stop her ears with her fingers and run from the
spot. The tough fellows standing around enjoyed the war of words
hugely. Mr. Sherwood was too big to strike Gedney Raffer, and of
course the latter dared not use his puny fists on the giant.

The blunt club of the lumberman's speech was scarcely a match for
the sharp rapier of Raffer's tongue. As the crowd laughed it was
evident that the fox-faced man was getting the verbal best of the

Nan's ears burned and tears stood in her eyes. Uncle Henry
descended to personal threats and the smaller man called out:

"You jest put your hand on me, you big, overgrown sawney! That's
all I'm a-waitin' for. You 'tack me and I'll have you in the
caboose, sure's my name's Gedney Raffer. Try it!"

The quarrel was most distressing. Nan pulled at her uncle's coat
sleeve. The rough men eyed her curiously. She had never felt so
ashamed in her life.

"Do come, Uncle Henry," she whispered. "I'm cold."

That statement started the fuming giant at once. Nan's
sensitiveness to a rude quarrel did not impress the man; but her
sensitiveness to the weather shocked him immediately.

"My goodness, girl! We'll go right up to the hotel," he said,
kindly. "Any of you fellows seen Rafe or Tom in town this
morning with the sled and roans?"

"Hey, Hen!" cried the station master, waving a yellow paper.
"Here's a telegraph despatch for you."

It was really for Nan, and from Papa Sherwood filed just before
the Afton Castle sailed from New York:

"Momsey and papa send love and kisses. Be cheerful and good.
Write often. We think of you always. Kind wishes for Henry,
Kate and boys. We look forward to fair voyage and safe landing.
Will cable from other side. Expect happy meeting in spring. R.
and J. Sherwood."

"They got a good start," commented Uncle Henry, putting all
thought of his quarrel with Ged Raffer behind him at once.
"We'll hope they have a safe voyage. Now! Where are those boys
of mine?"

The town of Hobart Forks was by no means a lumber town. Millions
of feet of timber was boomed on the river within the limits of
the town every season, and there were great mills along the banks
of the stream, too. But there were other industries, as well as
churches, amusement places and many pleasant dwellings. It was
no settlement of "slab shanties" with a few saloons and a general
store. Nan had yet to see this latter kind of settlement.

But what she saw about the central market place of Hobart Forks
opened her eyes considerably to an appreciation of the rough
country she had come to, and the rough people to be met therein.

The storekeepers she saw through the frosted windows were dressed
like storekeepers in Tillbury; and there were well dressed women
on the streets, a few, at least.

But most of the men striding through the snow were as roughly
dressed as her uncle, and not many were as good looking as Mr.
Sherwood. Some who came out of the swinging doors of saloons
staggered, and were very noisy in their speech and rude in their
actions. Of course nobody spoke to Nan, or troubled her; Henry
Sherwood was undoubtedly a man of standing in the settlement and
highly respected.

Not far from the market place they came upon a sprawling old
tavern, with a fenced yard at one side. As they approached, a
sled drawn by a wild looking pair of rough, red-roan ponies,
dashed out of the yard and stopped at the broad front portico of
the hotel.

"Hey, Tom! What's the matter with you?" called Uncle Henry.
"Here we are!"

The driver turned a broad, good-humored face to look over his
burly shoulder. Nan saw that Tom Sherwood strongly resembled his

"That you, Dad?" he drawled. "I'd about given you up. I didn't
want to drive down to the depot with these crazy creatures. And
if I'd left 'em standing they'd have kicked Phil's shed to
pieces, I do believe. The train's been in half an hour and

"I know," said his father. "I had a mess of words with Ged
Raffer. That delayed me."

"You ought to give him the back of your hand, and say no more
about it," declared Tom, in a tone that showed he warmed in his
bosom the family grudge against the fox-faced man.

"Here's your Cousin Nan, Tom," said his father, without making
rejoinder to the young man's observation. "She must go into
Phil's and get warm and have a cup of hot coffee. I'll take some
in a new-fangled bottle I bought down in Chicago, so we can all
have a hot drink on the way home."

"'Twon't keep warm twenty miles," said Tom.

"Yes 'twill. It'll keep HOT for twenty miles and more. They
call it a thermos bottle. It'll keep coffee hot, or cold, for a
day, just as you please."

"Jehosaphat, Dad! What kind of a swindle's that? How does the
bottle know whether you want your drink hot or cold? Huh! Those
city folks couldn't make me believe any such thing," objected the

Nan had to giggle at that, and Uncle Henry demanded: "Did you
ever see such a gump? Go on down to the station and tell Abe to
fling that trunk and the bags into the back of the sled. We'll
have our coffee, and get the thermos bottle filled, too, by the
time you come back."

Nan liked tom Sherwood. He was about nineteen and almost as big
as his father. He was gentle with her, and showed himself to be
an expert driver of the roan colts. Otherwise Nan might have
been much afraid during the first mile of the journey to Pine
Camp, for certainly she had never seen horses behave so before.

"Haven't been out of the stable for a week," explained Tom cooly
as the roans plunged and danced, and "cut up didos" generally, as
Uncle Henry remarked.

"We had a big fall of snow," Tom went on to say. "Bunged us all
up in the woods; so Rafe and I came in. Marm's all right. So's
everybody else around the Camp, except Old Man Llewellen. He's
down with rheumatism, or tic-douloureux, or something. He's
always complaining."

"I know," said Uncle Henry, and then went on to relate for his
son's benefit the wonderful thing that had happened to his
brother and his brother's wife, and why Nan had come up into
Michigan without her parents.

"We'll be mighty proud to have her," said Tom simply. He was
only a great boy, after all, and he blushed every time he caught
Nan looking at him. The girl began to feel very much grown up.

They were glad of the hot coffee, and Tom was shown how and why
the mysterious bottle kept the drink hot. They only made that
single halt (and only for a few minutes for the horses to drink)
before reaching Pine Camp. They traveled through the snow-
covered woods most of the way. There were few farms and no
settlements at all until they reached Pine Camp.

The road was not well beaten and they could not have got through
some of the drifts with less spirited ponies than the roans.
When they crossed the long bridge over the river and swept into
the village street, Nan was amazed.

Likewise, her heart sank a little. There was not a building in
the place more than a story and a half in height. Most of them
were slab cottages. Few yards were fenced. There were two
stores, facing each other on the single street of the town, with
false-fronts running up as tall as the second story would have
been had there been a second story.

The roans dashed through the better beaten path of the street,
with everybody along the way hailing Henry Sherwood vociferously.
The giant waved his hand and shouted in reply. Nan cowered
between him and Tom, on the seat, shielding her face from the
flying snow from the ponies' hoofs, though the tears in her eyes
were not brought there only by the sting of the pelting she

Chapter XII

The roan ponies dashed through the slab settlement, past the
blacksmith and wheelwright shop and the ugly red building Tom
told Nan was the school, and reached a large, sprawling,
unpainted dwelling on the outskirts of the village.

There were barns back of the Sherwood house; there was no fence
between the yard and the road, the windows of the house stared
out upon the passerby, blindless, and many of them without
shades. There was such a painful newness about the building that
it seemed to Nan the carpenters must have just packed their tools
and gone, while the painters had not yet arrived.

"Well! Here we are," announced Mr. Henry Sherwood, as Tom held
in the still eager ponies. He stepped out and offered Nan his
hand. "Home again, little girl. I reckon Kate will be mighty
glad to see you, that she will."

Nan leaped out and began to stamp her feet on the hard snow,
while Uncle Henry lifted out the trunk and bags. Just as the
ponies sprang away again, a door in the ugly house opened and a
tall, angular woman looked forth.

"Bring her in, Hen!" she cried, in a high-pitched voice. "I want
to see her."

Nan went rather timidly up the path. Her aunt was almost as tall
as her husband. She was very bony and was flat-chested and
unlovely in every way. That is, so it seemed, when the homesick
girl raised her eyes to Aunt Kate's face.

That face was as brown as sole-leather, and the texture of the
skin seemed leathery as well. There was a hawklike nose
dominating the unfeminine face. The shallows below the
cheekbones were deep, as though she had suffered the loss of her
back molars. The eyebrows were straggly; the eyes themselves of
a pale, watery blue; the mouth a thin line when her colorless
lips were closed; and her chin was as square and determined as
Uncle Henry's own.

As Nan approached she saw something else about this unlovely
woman. On her neck was a great, livid scar, of a hand's breadth,
and which looked like a scald, or burn. No attempt was made to
conceal this unsightly blemish.

Indeed, there was nothing about Aunt Kate Sherwood suggesting a
softening of her hard lines. Her plain, ugly print dress was cut
low at the throat, and had no collar or ruff to hide the scar.
Nan's gaze was fastened on that blemish before she was half way
to the door, and she could see nothing else at first.

The girl fought down a physical shudder when Aunt Kate's clawlike
hands seized her by both shoulders, and she stooped to kiss the

"Welcome, dear Nannie," her sharp voice said, and Nan thought
that, with ease, one might have heard her in the middle of the

But when Aunt Kate's lips touched the girl's forehead they were
Warm, and soft as velvet. Her breath was sweet. There was a
wholesome cleanliness about her person that pleased Nan. The
ugly dress was spotless and beautifully laundered. She had a
glimpse of the unplastered kitchen and saw a row of copper pots
on the shelf over the dresser that were scoured to dazzling
brightness. The boards of the floor were white as milk,. The
big, patent range glistened with polish, and its nickel-work was
rubbed till it reflected like a mirror.

"Welcome, my dear!" said Aunt Kate again. "I hope you will be
happy while you stay with us."

Happy! With Momsey and Papa Sherwood on the ocean, and the
"little dwelling in amity" closed and deserted? Nan feared she
would break down and cry.

Her Aunt Kate left her to herself a minute just then that she
might overcome this weakness. Uncle Henry came up the path with
the bags, smiling broadly.

"Well, old woman!" he said heartily.

"Well, old man!" she returned.

And then suddenly, Nan Sherwood had a new vision. She was used
to seeing her pretty mother and her handsome father display their
mutual affection; it had not seemed possible that rough, burly
Uncle Henry and ugly Aunt Kate could feel the same degree of
affection for each other.

Uncle Henry dropped the bags. Aunt Kate seemed to be drawn
toward him when he put out his hands. Nan saw their lips meet,
and then the giant gently, almost reverently, kissed the horrid
scar on Aunt Kate's neck.

"Here's Nan!" cried the big lumberman jovially. "The pluckiest
and smartest little girl in seven states! Take her in out of the
cold, Kate. She's not used to our kind of weather, and I have
been watching for the frost flowers to bloom on her pretty face
all the way from the forks."

The woman drew Nan into the warm kitchen. Uncle Henry followed
in a minute with the trunk.

"Where'll I put this box, Kate?" he asked. "I reckon you've
fixed up some cozy place for her?"

"The east room, Hen," Aunt Kate replied. "The sun lies in there
mornings. I took the new spring rocker out of the parlor, and
with the white enameled bedstead you bought in Chicago, and the
maple bureau we got of that furniture pedlar, and the best
drugget to lay over the carpet I reckon Nannie has a pretty

Meanwhile Nan stared openly around the strange kitchen. The
joists and rafters were uncovered by laths or plaster. Muslin,
that had once been white, was tacked to the beams overhead for a
ceiling. The smoke from the cookstove had stained it to a deep
brown color above the stove and to a lighter, meerschaum shade in
the corners.

The furniture was of the rudest plainest kind much of it
evidently home-made. Uncle Henry was not unhandy with tools.
She learned, later, that he and the boys had practically built
the house by themselves. They were finishing it inside, as they
had time. In some of the rooms the inside window and door frames
were not yet in place.

There was an appetizing smell from the pots upon the stove, and
the long table was set for dinner. They would not let Nan change
from her traveling dress before sitting down to the table. Tom
and Rafe came in and all three men washed at the long, wooden

Rafe was of slighter build than his brother, and a year or more
younger. He was not so shy as Tom, either; and his eyes sparkled
with mischief. Nan found that she could not act "grown up" with
her Cousin Rafe.

The principal dish for dinner was venison stew, served with
vegetables and salt-rising bread. There was cake, too, very
heavy and indigestible, and speckled with huckleberries that had
been dried the fall previous. Aunt Kate was no fancy cook; but
appetite is the best sauce, after all, and Nan had her share of
that condiment.

During the meal there was not much conversation save about the
wonderful fortune that had fallen to Nan's mother and the voyage
she and her husband were taking to Scotland to secure it. Nan
learned, too, that Uncle Henry had telegraphed from Tillbury of
Nan's coming to Pine Camp, and consequently Aunt Kate was able to
prepare for her.

And that the good woman had done her best to make a nest for her
little niece in the ugly house, Nan was assured. After dinner
she insisted upon the girl's going to the east room to change her
dress and lie down. The comparison between this great chamber
and Nan's pretty room at home was appalling.

The room had been plastered, but the plaster was of a gray color
and unfinished. The woodwork was painted a dusty, brick red with
mineral paint. The odd and ugly pieces of furniture horrified
Nan. The drugget on the floor only served to hide a part of the
still more atrociously patterned carpet. The rocking chair
complained if one touched it. The top of the huge maple dresser
was as bald as one's palm.

Nan sat down on the unopened trunk when her aunt had left her.
She dabbed her eyes with her handkerchief. Home certainly was
never like this! She did not see how she was ever going to be
able to stand it.

Chapter XIII

"If Momsey or Papa Sherwood knew about this they'd be awfully
sorry for me," thought Nan, still sitting on the trunk. "Such a
looking place! Nothing to see but snow and trees," for the
village of Pine Camp was quite surrounded by the forest and all
the visitor could see from the windows of her first-floor bedroom
were stumps and trees, with deep snow everywhere.

There was a glowing wood stove in the room and a big, chintz-
covered box beside it, full of "chunks." It was warm in the
room, the atmosphere being permeated with the sweet tang of wood

Nan dried her eyes. There really was not any use in crying.
Momsey and Papa Sherwood could not know how bad she felt, and
she really was not selfish enough to wish them to know.

"Now, Nanny Sherwood!" she scolded herself, "there's not a
particle of use of your sniveling. It won't 'get you anywhere,'
as Mrs. Joyce says. You'll only make your eyes red, and the
folks will see that you're not happy here, and they will be hurt.

"Mustn't make other folks feel bad just because I feel bad
myself," Nan decided. "Come on! Pluck up your courage!

"I know what I'll do," she added, literally shaking herself as
she jumped off the trunk. "I'll unpack. I'll cover up
everything ugly that I can with something pretty from Tillbury."

Hurried as she had been her departure from the cottage on Amity
Street, Nan had packed in her trunk many of those little
possessions, dear to her childish heart, that had graced her
bedroom. These appeared from the trunk even before she hung away
her clothes in the unplastered closet where the cold wind
searched through the cracks from out-of-doors. Into that closet,
away back in the corner, went a long pasteboard box, tied
carefully with strong cord. Nan patted it gently with her hand
before she left the box, whispering:

"You dear! I wouldn't have left you behind for anything! I
won't let them know you are here; but sometimes, when I'm sure
nobody will interrupt, you shall come out."

She spread a fringed towel over the barren top of the dresser.
It would not cover it all, of course; but it made an island in a
sea of emptiness.

And on the island she quickly set forth the plain little toilet-
set her mother had given her on her last birthday, the manicure
set that was a present from Papa Sherwood, and the several other
knickknacks that would help to make the big dresser look as
though "there was somebody at home," as she whispered to herself.

She draped a scarf here, hung up a pretty silk bag there, placed
Momsey's and Papa Sherwood's portraits in their little silver
filigree easels on the mantelpiece, flanking the clock that would
not run and which was held by the ugly china shepherdess with
only one foot and a broken crook, the latter ornament evidently
having been at one time prized by the babies of her aunt's
family, for the ring at the top was dented by little teeth.

Nothing, however, could take the curse of ugliness off the
staring gray walls of the room, or from the horrible turkey-red
and white canton-flannel quilt that bedecked the bed. Nan longed
to spill the contents of her ink bottle over that hideous
coverlet, but did not dare.

The effort to make the big east room look less like a barn made
Nan feel better in her mind. It was still dreary, it must be
confessed. There were a dozen things she wished she could do to
improve it. There were nothing but paper shades at the windows.
Even a simple scrim curtain-----

And, in thinking of this, Nan raised her eyes to one window to
see a face pressed close against the glass, and two rolling,
crablike eyes glaring in at her.

"Mercy!" ejaculated Nan Sherwood. "What is the matter with that
child's eyes? They'll drop out of her head!"

She ran to the window, evidently startling the peeper quite as
much as she had been startled herself. The girl, who was about
Nan's own age, fell back from the pane, stumbled in the big,
men's boots she wore, and ungracefully sprawled in the snow upon
her back. She could not get away before Nan had the window open.

The sash was held up by a notched stick. Nan put her head and
shoulders out into the frosty air and stared down at the
prostrate girl, who stared up at her in return.

"What do you want?" Nan asked.

"Nothin'," replied the stranger.

"What were you peeping in for?"

"To see you," was the more frank reply.

"What for?" asked Nan.

"Ain't you the new gal?"

"I've newly come here, yes," admitted Nan.


"But I'm not such a sight, am I?" laughed the girl from Tillbury.
"But you are, lying there in the snow. You'll get your death of
cold. Get up"

The other did so. Beside the men's boots, which were patched and
old, she wore a woollen skirt, a blouse, and a shawl over her
head and shoulders. She shook the snow from her garments much as
a dog frees himself from water after coming out of a pond.

"It's too cold to talk with this window open. You're a neighbor,
aren't you?"

The girl nodded.

"Then come in," urged Nan. "I'm sure my aunt will let you."

The girl shook her head in a decided negative to this proposal.
"Don't want Marm Sherwood to see me," she said.

"Why not?"

"She told me not to come over after you come 'ithout I put on my
new dress and washed my hands and face."

"Well!" exclaimed Nan, looking at her more closely. "You seem to
have a clean face, at least."

"Yes. But that dress she 'gin me, my brother Bob took and put on
Old Beagle for to dress him up funny. And Beagle heard a noise
he thought was a fox barking and he started for the tamarack
swamp, lickety-split. I expect there ain't enough of that
gingham left to tie around a sore thumb."

Nan listened to this in both amusement and surprise. The girl
was a new specimen to her.

"Come in, anyway," she urged. "I can't keep the window open."

"I'll climb in, then," declared the other suddenly, and, suiting
the action to the word, she swarmed over the sill; but she left
one huge boot in the snow, and Nan, laughing delightedly, ran for
the poker to fish for it, and drew it in and shut down the

The strange girl was warming her hands at the fire. Nan pushed a
chair toward her and took one herself, but not the complaining
spring rocking chair.

"Now tell me all about yourself," the girl demanded.

"I'm Nan Sherwood, and I've come here to Pine Camp to stay while
my father and mother have gone to Scotland."

"I've heard about Scotland," declared the girl with the very
prominent eyes.

"Have you?"

"Yes. Gran'ther Llewellen sings that song. You know:

"'Scotland's burning! Scotland's burning!
Where, where? Where, where?
Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire!
Pour on water! Pour on water!
Fire's out! Fire's out!'"

Nan laughed. "I've heard that, too," she said. "But it was
another Scotland." Then: "So your name is Llewellen?"

"Marg'ret Llewellen."

"I've heard your grandfather is sick," said Nan, remembering
Tom's report of the health of the community when he had met her
and her uncle at Hobart Forks.

"Yes. He's got the tic-del-rew," declared Margaret, rather
unfeelingly. "Aunt Matildy says he's allus creakin' round like a
rusty gate-hinge."

"Why! That doesn't sound very nice," objected Nan. Don't you
love your grandfather?"

"Not much," said this perfectly frank young savage. "He's so
awfully wizzled."

"'Wizzled'?" repeated Nan, puzzled.

"Yes. His face is all wizzled up like a dried apple."

"But you love your aunt Matilda?" gasped Nan.

"Well, she's wizzled some," confessed Margaret. Then she said:
"I don't like faces like hern and Marm Sherwood's. I like your
face. It's smooth."

Nan had noticed that this half-wild girl was of beautifully fair
complexion herself, and aside from her pop eyes was quite petty.
But she was a queer little thing.

"You've been to Chicago, ain't you?" asked Margaret suddenly.

"We came through Chicago on our way up here from my home. We
stayed one night there," Nan replied.

"It's bigger'n Pine Camp, ain't it?"

"My goodness, yes!"

"Bigger'n the Forks?" queried Margaret doubtfully.

"Why, it is much, much bigger," said Nan, hopeless of making one
so densely ignorant understand anything of the proportions of the
metropolis of the lakes.

That's what I told Bob," Margaret said. "He don't believe it.
Bob's my brother, but there never was such a dunce since Adam."

Nan had to laugh. The strange girl amused her. But Margaret
said something, too, that deeply interested the visitor at Pine
Camp before she ended her call, making her exit as she had her
entrance, by the window.

"I reckon you never seen this house of your uncle's before, did
you?" queried Margaret at one point in the conversation.

"Oh, no. I never visited them before."

"Didn't you uster visit 'em when they lived at Pale Lick?"

"No. I don't remember that they ever lived anywhere else beside

"Yes, they did. I heard Gran'ther tell about it. But mebbe
'twas before you an' me was born. It was Pale Lick., I'm sure.
That's where they lost their two other boys."

"What two other boys?" asked Nan, amazed.

"Didn't you ever hear tell you had two other cousins?"

"No," said Nan.

"Well, you did," said Margaret importantly. "And when Pale Lick
burned up, them boys was burned up, too."

"Oh!" gasped Nan, horrified.

"Lots of folks was burned. Injun Pete come near being burned up.
He ain't been right, I reckon, since. And I reckon that's where
Marm Sherwood got that scar on the side of her neck."

Nan wondered.

Chapter XIV

Nan said nothing just then about her queer little visitor. Aunt
Kate asked her when she came out of the east room and crossed the
chill desert of the parlor to the general sitting room:

"Did you have a nice sleep, Nannie?"

"Goodness, Auntie!" laughed Nan. "I got over taking a nap in the
daytime a good while ago, I guess. But you come and see what I
have done. I haven't been idle."

Aunt Kate went and peeped into the east chamber. "Good mercy,
child! It doesn't look like the same room, with all the pretty
didos," she said. "And that's your pretty mamma in the picture
on the mantel? My! Your papa looks peaked, doesn't he? Maybe
that sea voyage they are taking will do 'em both good."

Nan had to admit that beside her uncle and cousins her father did
look "peaked." Robust health and brawn seemed to be the two
essentials in the opinion of the people of Pine Camp. Nan was
plump and rosy herself and so escaped criticism.

Her uncle and aunt, and the two big boys as well, were as kind to
her as they knew how to be. Nan could not escape some of the
depression of homesickness during the first day or two of her
visit to the woods settlement; but the family did everything
possible to help her occupy her mind.

The long evenings were rather amusing, although the family knew
little about any game save checkers, "fox and geese," and
"hickory, dickory, dock." Nan played draughts with her uncle and
fox and geese and the other kindergarten game with her big
cousins. To see Tom, with his eyes screwed up tight and the
pencil poised in his blunt, frost-cracked fingers over the slate,
while he recited in a base sing-song:

"Hick'ry, dick'ry, dock
The mouse ran up the clock,
The clock struck one,
An' down he come
Hick'ry, dick'ry, dock,"

was side-splitting. Nan laughed till she cried. Poor, simple
Tom did know just what amused his little cousin so.

Rafe was by no means so slow, or so simple. Nan caught him
cheating more than once at fox and geese. Rafe was a little sly,
and he was continually making fun of his slow brother, and
baiting him. Uncle Henry warned him:

"Now, Rafe, you're too big for your Marm or me to shingle your
pants; but Tom's likely to lick you some day for your cutting up
and I sha'n't blame him. Just because he's slow to wrath,
don't you get it in your head that he's afraid, or that he can't
settle your hash in five minutes."

Nan was greatly disturbed to hear so many references to fistic
encounters and fighting of all sorts. These men of the woods
seemed to be possessed of wild and unruly passions. What she
heard the boys say caused her to believe that most of the spare
time of the men in the lumber camps was spent in personal

"No, no, deary. They aren't so bad as they sound," Aunt Kate
told her, comfortably. "Lots of nice men work in the camps all
their lives and never fight. Look at your Uncle Henry."

But Nan remembered the "mess of words" (as he called it) that
Uncle Henry had had with Gedney Raffer on the railroad station
platform at the Forks, and she was afraid that even her aunt did
not look with the same horror on a quarrel that Nan herself did.

The girl from Tillbury had a chance to see just what a lumber
camp was like, and what the crew were like, on the fourth day
after her arrival at her Uncle Henry's house. The weather was
then pronounced settled, and word came for the two young men, Tom
and Rafe, to report at Blackton's camp the next morning, prepared
to go to work. Tom drove a team which was then at the lumber
camp, being cared for by the cook and foreman; Rafe was a
chopper, for he had that sleight with an ax which, more than mere
muscle, makes the mighty woodsman.

"Their dad'll drive 'em over to Blackton's early, and you can go,
too," said Aunt Kate. "That is, if you don't mind getting up
right promptly in the morning?"

"Oh, I don't mind that," Nan declared. "I'm used to getting up

But she thought differently when Uncle Henry's heavy hand rapped
on the door of the east chamber so early the next morning that it
seemed to Nan Sherwood that she had only been in bed long enough
to close her eyes.

"Goodness, Uncle!" she muttered, when she found out what it
meant. "What time is it?"

"Three o'clock. Time enough for you to dress and eat a snack
before we start," replied her uncle.

"Well!" said Nan to herself. "I thought the house was afire."

Uncle Henry heard her through the door and whispered, shrilly:
"Sh! Don't let your aunt hear you say anything like that,

"Like what?" queried Nan, in wonder.

"About fire. Remember!" added Uncle Henry, rather sternly, Nan
thought, as he went back to the kitchen.

Then Nan remembered what the strange little girl, Margaret
Llewellen, had said about the fire at Pale Lick that had burned
her uncle's former home. Nan had not felt like asking her uncle
or aunt, or the boys, either, about it. The latter had probably
been too young to remember much about the tragedy.

Although Nan had seen Margaret on several fleeting occasions
since her first interview with the woods girl, there had been no
opportunity of talking privately with her. And Margaret would
only come to the window. She was afraid to tell "Marm Sherwood"
how she had lost the new dress that had been given to her.

It was now as black outside Nan's window as it could be. She lit
her oil lamp and dressed swiftly, running at last through the
cold parlor and sitting room into the kitchen, where the fire in
the range was burning briskly and the coffee pot was on. Tom and
Rafe were there comfortably getting into thick woolen socks and
big lumbermen's boots.

There was a heaping pan of Aunt Kate's doughnuts on the table,
flanked with the thick china coffee cups and deep saucers. Her
uncle and the boys always poured their coffee into the saucers
and blew on it to take the first heat off, then gulped it in
great draughts.

Nan followed suit this morning, as far as cooling the coffee in
the saucer went. There was haste. Uncle Henry had been up some
time, and now he came stamping into the house, saying that the
ponies were hitched in and were standing in readiness upon the
barn floor, attached to the pung.

"We've twenty-five miles to ride, you see, Nannie," he said.
"The boys have to be at Blackton's so's to get to work at seven."

They filled the thermos bottle that had so puzzled Tom, and then
sallied forth. The ponies were just as eager as they had been
the day Nan had come over from the Forks. She was really half
afraid of them.

It was so dark that she could scarcely see the half-cleared road
before them as the ponies dashed away from Pine Camp. The sky
was completely overcast, but Uncle Henry declared it would break
at sunrise.

Where the track had been well packed by former sleighs, the
ponies' hoofs rang as though on iron. The bits of snow that were
flung off by their hoofs were like pieces of ice. The bells on
the harness jingled a very pretty tune, Nan thought. She did not
mind the biting cold, indeed, only her face was exposed. Uncle
Henry had suggested a veil; but she wanted to see what she could.

For the first few miles it remained very dark, however. Had it
not been for the snow they could not have seen objects beside the
road at all. There was a lantern in the back of the pung and
that flung a stream of yellow light behind them; but Uncle Henry
would not have the radiance of it shot forward.

"A light just blinds you," he said. "I'd rather trust to the
roans' sense."

The ponies galloped for a long way, it seemed to Nan; then they
came to a hill so steep that they were glad to drop to a walk.
Their bodies steamed in a great cloud as they tugged the sleigh
up the slope. Dark woods shut the road in on either hand. Nan's
eyes had got used to the faint light so that she could see this
at least.

Suddenly she heard a mournful, long-drawn howl, seemingly at a
great distance.

"Must be a farm somewhere near," she said to Rafe, who sat beside
her on the back seat.

"Nope. No farms around here, Nan," he returned.

"But I hear a dog howl," she told him.

Rafe listened, too. Then he turned to her with a grin on his
sharp face that she did not see. "Oh, no, you don't," he
chuckled. "That's no dog."

Again the howl was repeated, and it sounded much nearer. Nan
realized, too, that it was a more savage sound than she had ever
heard emitted by a dog.

"What is it?" she asked, speaking in a low voice to Rafe.

"Wolves!" responded her cousin maliciously. "But you mustn't
mind a little thing like that. You don't have wolves down round
where you live, I s'pose?"

Nan knew that he was attempting to plague her, so she said: "Not
for pets, at least, Rafe. These sound awfully savage."

"They are," returned her cousin calmly.

The wolf cry came nearer and nearer. The ponies had started on a
trot again at the top of the hill, and her uncle and Tom did not
seem to notice the ugly cry. Nan looked back, and was sure that
some great animal scrambled out of the woods and gave chase to

"Isn't there some danger?" she asked Rafe again.

"Not for us," he said. "Of course, if the whole pack gathers and
catches us, then we have to do something."

"What do you do?" demanded Nan quickly.

"Why, the last time we were chased by wolves, we happened to have
a ham and a side of bacon along. So we chucked out first the
one, and then the other, and so pacified the brutes till we got
near town."

"Oh!" cried Nan, half believing, half in doubt.

She looked back again. There, into the flickering light of the
lantern, a gaunt, huge creature leaped. Nan could see his head
and shoulders now and then as he plunged on after the sleigh,
and a wickeder looking beast, she hoped never to see.

"Oh!" she gasped again, and grabbed at Rafe's arm.

"Don't you be afraid," drawled that young rascal. "I reckon he
hasn't many of his jolly companions with him. If he had, of
course, we'd have to throw you out to pacify him. That's the
youngest and prettiest goes first-----"

"Like the ham, I s'pose?" sniffed Nan, in some anger, and just
then Tom reached over the back of the front seat and seized his
brother by the shoulder with a grip that made Rafe shriek with

Nan was almost as startled as was Rafe. In the half-darkness
Tom's dull face blazed with anger, and he held his writhing
brother as though he were a child.

"You ornery scamp!" he said, almost under his breath. "You try
to scare that little girl, and I'll break you in two!"

Nan was horrified. She begged Tom to let his brother alone. "I
was only fooling her," snarled Rafe, rubbing his injured
shoulder, for Tom had the grip of a pipe wrench.

Uncle Henry never turned around at all; but he said: "If I had a
gun I'd be tempted to shoot that old wolf hound of Toby
Vanderwiller's. He's always running after sleds and yelling his
head off."

Nan was glad the creature following them was not really a wolf;
but she knew she should be just as much afraid of him if she met
him alone, as though he really were a wolf. However, mostly, she
was troubled by the passionate nature of her two cousins. She
had never seen Tom show any anger before; but it was evident that
he had plenty of spirit if it were called up. And she was,
secretly, proud that the slow-witted young giant should have
displayed his interest in her welfare so plainly. Rafe sat and
nursed his shoulder in silence for several miles.

The cold was intense. As the sky lightened along the eastern
horizon it seemed to Nan as though the frost increased each
moment. The bricks at their feet were getting cool; and they had
already had recourse to the thermos bottle, which was now empty
of the gratefully hot drink it had contained.

As the light gradually increased Nan saw Rafe watching her with
sudden attention. After his recent trick she was a little afraid
of Rafe. Still it did not seem possible that the reckless fellow
would attempt any second piece of fooling so soon after his
brother's threat.

But suddenly Rafe yelled to his father to pull down the roans,
and as the ponies stopped, he reached from the sled into a drift
and secured a big handful of snow. Seizing Nan quickly around
the shoulders he began to rub her cheek vigorously with the snow.
Nan gasped and almost lost her breath; but she realized
immediately what Rafe was about.

The frost had nipped her cheek, and her cousin had seen the white
spot appear. "The rubbing stung awfully, and the girl could not
keep back the tears; but she managed to repress the sobs.

"There!" exclaimed Rafe. "You are a plucky girl. I'm sorry I
got some of that snow down your neck, Nan. Couldn't help it.
But it's the only thing to do when the thermometer is thirty-two
degrees below zero. Why! A fellow went outside with his ears
uncovered at Droomacher's camp one day last winter and after
awhile he began to rub his ears and one of 'em dropped off just
like a cake of ice."

"Stop your lying, boy!" commanded his father. "It isn't as bad
as that, Nan. But you want to watch out for frost bite here in
the woods, just the same as we had to watch out for the
automobiles in crossing those main streets in Chicago."

With a red sun rising over the low ridge of wooded ground to the
east, the camp in the hollow was revealed, the smoke rising in a
pillar of blue from the sheet-iron chimney of the cookhouse;
smoke rising, too, from a dozen big horses being curried before
the stables.

Most of the men had arrived the night before. They were tumbling
out of the long, low bunkhouse now and making good use of the
bright tin washbasins on the long bench on the covered porch.
Ice had been broken to get the water that was poured into the
basins, but the men laved their faces and their hairy arms and
chests in it as though it were summer weather.

They quickly ran in for their outer shirts and coats, however,
and then trooped in to the end of the cook shed where the meals
were served. Tom turned away to look over his horses and see
that they were all ready for the day's work. Rafe put up the
roan ponies in a couple of empty stalls and gave them a feed of

Uncle Henry took Nan by the hand, and, really she felt as though
she needed some support, she was so stiff from the cold, and led
her into the warm room where the men were gathering for the
hearty meal the cook and his helper had prepared.

The men were boisterous in their greeting of Uncle Henry, until
they saw Nan. Than, some bashfully, some because of natural
refinement, lowered their voices and were more careful how they
spoke before the girl.

But she heard something that troubled her greatly. An old,
grizzled man in a corner of the fireplace where the brisk flames
leaped high among the logs, and who seemed to have already eaten
his breakfast and was busily stoning an axe blade, looked up as
Nan and her uncle approached, saying:

"Seen Ged Raffer lately, Hen?"

"I saw him at the Forks the other day, Toby," Mr. Sherwood

"Yaas. I heard about that," said the old man drawlingly. "But
since then?"


"Wal, he was tellin' me that he'd got you on the hip this time,
Hen. If you as much as put your hoof over on that track he's
fighting you about, he'll plop you in jail, that's what he'll
do! He's got a warrant all made out by Jedge Perkins. I seen

Uncle Henry walked closer to the old man and looked down at him
from his great height. "Tobe," he said, "you know the rights of
that business well enough. You know whether I'm right in the
contention, or whether Ged's right. You know where the old line
runs. Why don't you tell?"

"Oh, mercy me!" croaked the old man, and in much haste. "I ain't
goin' to git into no land squabble, no, sir! You kin count me
out right now!" And he picked up his axe, restored the whetstone
to its sheath on the wall, and at once went out of the shack.

Chapter XV

That was a breakfast long to be remembered by Nan Sherwood, not
particularly because of its quality, but for the quantity served.
She had never seen men like these lumbermen eat before, save for
the few days she had been at Uncle Henry's house.

Great platters of baked beans were placed on the table, flanked
by the lumps of pork that had seasoned them. Fried pork, too,
was a "main-stay" on the bill-of-fare. The deal table was graced
by no cloth or napery of any kind. There were heaps of potatoes
and onions fried together, and golden cornbread with bowls of
white gravy to ladle over it.

After riding twenty-five miles through such a frosty air, Nan
would have had to possess a delicate appetite indeed not to enjoy
these viands. She felt bashful because of the presence of so
many rough men; but they left her alone for the most part, and
she could listen and watch.

"Old Toby Vanderwiller tell you what Ged's been blowin' about,
Henry?" asked one of the men at the table, busy ladling beans
into his mouth with a knife, a feat that Nan thought must be
rather precarious, to say the least.

"Says he's going to jail me if I go on to the Perkins Tract,"
growled Uncle Henry, with whom the matter was doubtless a sore

"Yaas. But he says more'n that," said this tale bearer.

"Oh, Ged says a whole lot besides his prayers," responded Uncle
Henry, good-naturedly. Perhaps he saw they were trying to bait

"Wal, 'tain't nothin' prayerful he's sayin'," drawled the first
speaker, after a gulp of coffee from his thick china cup. "Some
of the boys at Beckett's, you know, they're a tough crowd, was
riggin' him about what you said to him down to the Forks, and Ged
spit out that he'd give a lump of money to see you on your back."

"Huh!" grunted Uncle Henry.

"And some of 'em took him up, got the old man right down to

"That so?" asked Mr. Sherwood curiously. "What's Ged going to
do? Challenge me to a game of cat's cradle? Or does he want to
settle the business at draughts, three best out o' five?"

"Now you know dern well, Hen," said the other, as some of the
listeners laughed loudly at Mr. Sherwood's sally, "that old Ged
Raffer will never lock horns with you 'ceptin' it's in court,
where he'll have the full pertection of the law, and a grain the
best of it into the bargain."

"Well, I s'pose that's so," admitted Nan's uncle, rather
gloomily, she thought.

"So, if Beckett's crowd are int'rested in bumping you a whole
lot, you may be sure Ged's promised 'em real money for it."

"Pshaw!" exclaimed Uncle Henry. "You're fooling now. He hasn't
hired any half-baked chip-eaters and Canucks to try and beat me

"I ain't foolin'."


"You kin 'pshaw' till the cows come home," cried the other
heatedly. "I got it straight."

"Who from?"

"Sim Barkis, him what's cookin' for Beckett's crew."

"Good man, Sim. Never caught him in a lie yet. You are
beginning to sound reasonable, Josh," and Mr. Sherwood put down
his knife and fork and looked shrewdly at his informant. "Now
tell me," he said, "how much is Sim going to get for helping to
pay Ged Raffer's debts?"

"Har!" ejaculated the other man. "You know Sim ain't that kind."

"All right, then. How much does he say the gang's going to split
between 'em after they've done me up brown according to
contract?" scoffed Uncle Henry, and Nan realized that her giant
relative had not the least fear of not being able to meet any
number of enemies in the open.

"Sim come away before they got that far. Of course Ged didn't
say right out in open meetin' that he'd give so many dollars for
your scalp. But he got 'em all int'rested, and it wouldn't
surprise him, so Sim said, if on the quiet some of those plug-
uglies had agreed to do the job."

Nan shuddered, and had long since stopped eating. But nobody
paid any attention to her at the moment.

Uncle Henry drawled: "They're going to do the hardest day's job
for the smallest pay that they ever did on this Michigan
Peninsula. I'm much obliged to you, Josh, for telling me. I
never go after trouble, as you fellows all know; but I sha'n't
try to dodge it, either."

He picked up his knife and fork and went quietly on with his
breakfast. But Nan could not eat any more at all.

It seemed to the gently nurtured girl from Tillbury as though she
had fallen in with people from another globe. Even the mill-
hands, whom Bess Harley so scorned, were not like these great,
rough fellows whose minds seemed continually to be fixed upon
battle. At least, she had never seen or heard such talk as had
just now come to her ears.

The men began, one by one, to push back the benches and go out.
There was a great bustle of getting under way as the teams
started for the woods, and the choppers, too, went away. Tom
hurried to start his big pair of dapple grays, and Nan was glad
to bundle up again and run out to watch the exodus.

They were a mighty crew. As Uncle Henry had said, the Big Woods
did not breed runts.

Remembering the stunted, quick-moving, chattering French
Canadians, and the scattering of American-born employees among
them, who worked in the Tillbury mills, Nan was the more amazed
by the average size of these workmen. The woodsmen were a race
of giants beside the narrow-shouldered, flat-chested pygmies who
toiled in the mills.

Tom strode by with his timber sled. Rafe leaped on to ride and
Tom playfully snapped his whiplash at him. Nan was glad to see
that the two brothers smiled again at each other. Their recent
tiff seemed to be forgotten.

Some of the choppers had already gone on ahead to the part of the
tract where the marked trees were being felled. Now the pluck,
pluck, pluck of the axe blows laid against the forest monarchs,
reached the girl's ears. She thought the flat stuttering sound
of the axes said "pluck" very plainly, and that that was just the
word they should say.

"For it does take lots of pluck to do work of this kind," Nan
confided to her uncle, who walked up and down on the porch
smoking an after-breakfast pipe.

"Yes. No softies allowed on the job," said he, cheerfully.
"Some of the boys may be rough and hard nuts to crack; but it is
necessary to have just such boys or we couldn't get out the

"But they want to fight so much!" gasped Nan.

"Sho!" said her uncle, slowly. "It's mostly talk. They feel the
itch for hard work and hard play, that's all. You take lively,
full-muscled animals, and they are always bucking and quarreling
trying to see which one is the best. Take two young, fat
steers they'll lock horns at the drop of a hat. It's animal
spirits, Nan. They feel that they've got to let off steam.
Where muscle and pluck count for what they do in the lumber
camps, there's bound to be more or less ructions."

Perhaps this might be; but Nan was dreadfully sorry,
nevertheless, that Uncle Henry had this trouble with Mr. Gedney
Raffer. The girl feared that there had been something besides
"letting off steam" in the challenge her uncle had thrown down to
his enemy, or to the men that enemy could hire to attack him.

The timber sledges soon began to drift back, for some of the logs
had been cut before the big storm, and had only to be broken out
of the drifts and rolled upon the sleds with the aid of the men's
canthooks. It was a mystery at first to Nan how they could get
three huge logs, some of them three feet in diameter at the butt,
on to the sled; two at the bottom and one rolled upon them, all
being fastened securely with the timber-chain and hook.

How the horses strained in their collars to start the mighty
load! But once started, the runners slipped along easily enough,
even through the deep snow, packing the compressible stuff in one
passage as hard as ice. Nan followed in this narrow track to the
very bank of the river where the logs were heaped in long
windrows, ready to be launched into the stream when the waters
should rise at the time of the spring freshet.

Tom managed his team alone, and unloaded alone, too. It was
marvelous (so Nan thought) that her cousin could start the top
log with the great canthook, and guide it as it rolled off the
sled so that it should lie true with timbers that had been piled
before. The strain of his work made him perspire as though it
were midsummer. He thrust the calks on his bootsoles into the
log and the shreds of bark and small chips flew as he stamped to
get a secure footing for his work. Then he heaved like a giant,
his shoulders humping under the blue jersey he wore, and finally
the log turned. Once started, it was soon rolled into place.

Nan ran into the cook shed often to get warm. Her uncle was busy
with the boss of the camp, so she had nobody but the cook and his
helper to speak to for a time. Therefore it was loneliness that
made her start over the half-beaten trail for the spot where the
men were at work, without saying a word to anybody.

None of the teams had come by for some time; but she could hear
faintly the sound of the axes and the calling of the workmen to
each other and their sharp commands to the horses.

She went away from the camp a few hundred yards and then found
that the trail forked. One path went down a little hill, and as
that seemed easy to descend, Nan followed it into a little
hollow. It seemed only one sled had come this way and none of
the men were here. The voices and axes sounded from higher up
the ridge.

Suddenly she heard something entirely different from the noise of
the woodsmen. It was the snarling voice of a huge cat and
almost instantly Nan sighted the creature which stood upon a
snow-covered rock beside the path. It had tasseled ears, a wide,
wicked "smile," bristling whiskers, and fangs that really made
Nan tremble, although she was some yards from the bobcat.

As she believed, from what her cousins had told her, bobcats are
not usually dangerous. They never seek trouble with man, save
under certain conditions; and that is when a mother cat has
kittens to defend.

This was a big female cat, and, although the season was early,
she had littered and her kittens, three of them, were bedded in a
heap of leaves blown by the wind into a hollow tree trunk.

The timberman driving through the hollow had not seen the bobcat
and her three blind babies; but he had roused the mother cat and
she was now all ready to spring at intruders.

That Nan was not the person guilty of disturbing her repose made
no difference to the big cat. She saw the girl standing,
affrighted and trembling, in the path and with a ferocious yowl
and leap she crossed the intervening space and landed in the snow
within almost arm's reach of the fear-paralyzed girl.

Chapter XVI

Nan Sherwood could not cry out, though she tried. She opened her
lips only to find her throat so constricted by fear that she
could not utter a sound. Perhaps her sudden and utter paralysis
was of benefit at the moment, after all; for she could not
possibly have escaped the infuriated lynx by running.

The creature's own movements were hampered by the deep drift in
which she had landed. The soft snow impeded the cat and,
snarling still, she whirled around and around like a pinwheel to
beat a firmer foundation from which to make her final spring at
her victim.

Nan, crouching, put her mittened hands before her face. She saw
no chance for escape and could not bear to see the vicious beast
leap at her again. "Momsey! Papa Sherwood!" she thought, rather
than breathed aloud.

Then, down the hill toward her, plunged a swift body. She rather
felt the new presence than saw it. The cat yowled again, and
spit. There was the impact of a clubbed gun upon the creature's

"Sacre bleu! Take zat! And zat!" cried a sharp voice, between
the blows that fell so swiftly. The animal's cries changed
instantly from rage to pain. Nan opened her eyes in time to see
the maddened cat flee swiftly. She bounded to the big tree and
scrambled up the trunk and out upon the first limb. There she
crouched, over the place where her kittens were hidden, yowling
and licking her wounds. There was blood upon her head and she
licked again and again a broken forefoot between her yowls of
rage and pain.

But Nan was more interested just then in the person who had flown
to her rescue so opportunely. He was not one of the men from the
camp, or anybody whom she had ever seen before.

He was not a big man, but was evidently very strong and active.
His dress was of the most nondescript character, consisting
mainly of a tattered fur cap, with a woolen muffler tied over his
ears; a patched and parti-colored coat belted at the waist with a
frayed rope. His legs disappeared into the wide tops of a pair
of boots evidently too big for him, with the feet bundled in
bagging so that he could walk on top of the snow, this in lieu
of regular snowshoes.

His back was toward Nan and he did not turn to face her as he

"Be not afeared, leetle Man'zelle. Le bad chat is gone. We
shall now do famous-lee, eh? No be afeared more."

"No, no, sir," gasped Nan, trying to be brave. "Won't, won't
it come back?"

"Nev-air!" cried the man, with a flourish of the gun which was
a rusty-barreled old weapon, perhaps more dangerous at the butt
end than at its muzzle. "Ze chat only fear for her babies. She
have zem in dat tree. We will go past leeving zem streectly
alone, eh?"

"No!" cried Nan hastily. "I'm going back to the camp. I didn't
know there were such dangerous things as that in these woods."

"Ah! You are de strange leetle Mam'zelle den?" responded the
man. "You do not know ze Beeg Woods?"

"I guess I don't know anything about this wilderness," confessed
Nan. "My uncle brought me to the camp up yonder this morning,
and I hope he'll go right home again. It's awful!"

"Eet seem terrifying to ze leetle Mam'zelle because she is unused
eh? Me! I be terrified at ze beeg city where she come from,
p'r'aps. Zey tell Pete 'bout waggings run wizout horses, like
stea'mill. Ugh! No wanter see dem. Debbil in 'em," and he
laughed, not unpleasantly, making a small joke of the suggestion.

Indeed his voice, now that the sharpness of excitement had gone
out of it, was a very pleasant voice. The broken words he used
assured Nan that his mother tongue must be French. He was
probably one of the "Canucks" she had heard her cousins speak of.
French Canadians were not at all strange to Nan Sherwood, for in
Tillbury many of the mill hands were of that race.

But she thought it odd that this man kept his face studiously
turned from her. Was he watching the bobcat all the time? Was
the danger much more serious than he would own?

"Why don't you look at me?" cried the girl, at length. "I'm
awfully much obliged to you for coming to help me as you did.
And my uncle will want to thank you I am sure. Won't you tell me
your name?"

The man was silent for a moment. Then, when he spoke, his voice
was lower and there was an indescribably sad note in it.

"Call me 'Injun Pete', zat me. Everybody in de beeg Woods know
Injun Pete. No odder name now. Once ze good Brodders at Aramac
goin' make scholar of Pete, make heem priest, too, p'r'aps. He
go teach among he's mudder's people. Mudder Micmac, fadder wild
Frinchman come to dees lakeshore. But nev-air can Pete be
Teacher, be priest. Non, non! Jes' Injun Pete."

Nan suddenly remembered what little Margaret Llewellen had said
about the fire at Pale Lick, and "Injun Pete." The fact that
this man kept his face turned from her all this time aroused her
suspicion. She was deeply, deeply grateful to him for what he
had just done for her, and, naturally, she enlarged in her mind
the peril in which she had been placed.

Margaret had suggested this unfortunate half-breed was "not right
in his head" because of the fire which had disfigured him. But
he spoke very sensibly now, it seemed to Nan; very pitifully,
too, about his blasted hopes of a clerical career. She said,

"I expect you know my uncle and his family, Pete. He is Mr.
Sherwood of Pine Camp."

"Ah! Mis-tair Hen Sherwood! I know heem well," admitted the
man. "He nice-a man ver' kind to Injun Pete."

"I'd like to have you look at me, please," said Nan, still
softly. "You see, I want to know you again if we meet. I am
very grateful."

Pete waved her thanks aside with a royal gesture. "Me! I be
glad to be of use, oh, oui! Leetle Man'zelle mus' not make
mooch of nottin', eh?"

He laughed again, but he did not turn to look at her. Nan
reached out a tentative hand and touched his sleeve. "Please,
Mr. Pete," she said. "I, I want to see you. I, I have heard
something about your having been hurt in a fire. I am sure you
must think yourself a more hateful sight than you really are."

A sob seemed to rise in the man's throat, and his shoulders
shook. He turned slowly and looked at her for a moment over his
shoulder. Then he went swiftly away across the snow (for the
bobcat had disappeared into her lair) and Nan stumbled back up
the trail toward the camp, the tears blinding her own eyes.

The disfigured face of the half-breed HAD been a shock to her.
She could never speak of it afterward. Indeed, she could not
tell Uncle Henry about her meeting with the lynx, and her rescue
she shrank so from recalling Injun Pete's disfigured face.

Chapter XVII

That visit to the lumber camp was memorable for Nan Sherwood in
more ways than one. Her adventure with the lynx she kept secret
from her relatives, because of the reason given in the previous
chapter. But there was another incident that marked the occasion
to the girl's mind, and that was the threat of Gedney Raffer,
reported to her Uncle Henry.

Nan thought that such a bad man as Raffer appeared to be would
undoubtedly carry out his threat. He had offered money to have
Mr. Sherwood beaten up, and the ruffians he had bribed would
doubtless be only too eager to earn the reward.

To tell the truth, for weeks thereafter, Nan never saw a rough-
looking man approach the house on the outskirts of Pine Camp,
without fearing that here was coming a ruffian bent on her
uncle's injury.

That Uncle Henry seemed quite to have forgotten the threat only
made Nan more keenly alive to his danger. She dared not discuss
the matter with Aunt Kate, for Nan feared to worry that good
woman unnecessarily. Besides, having been used to hiding from
her own mother all unpleasant things, the girl naturally
displayed the same thoughtfulness for Aunt Kate.

For, despite Mrs. Henry Sherwood's bruskness and masculine
appearance, Nan learned that there were certain matters over
which her aunt showed extreme nervousness.

For instance, she was very careful of the lamps used in the house
she insisted upon cleaning and caring for them herself; she
would not allow a candle to be used, because it might be
overturned; and she saw to it herself that every fire, even the
one in Nan's bedroom, was properly banked before the family
retired at night.

Nan had always in mind what Uncle Henry said about mentioning
fire to Aunt Kate; so the curious young girl kept her lips closed
upon the subject. But she certainly was desirous of knowing
about that fire, so long ago, at Pale Lick, how it came about;
if Aunt Kate had really got her great scar there; and if it was
really true that two members of her uncle's family had met their
death in the conflagration.

She tried not to think at all of Injun Pete. That was too

With all her heart, Nan wished she might do something that would
really help Uncle Henry solve his problem regarding the timber
rights on the Perkins Tract. The very judge who had granted the
injunction forbidding Mr. Sherwood to cut timber on the tract was
related to the present owners of the piece of timberland; and the
tract had been the basis of a feud in the Perkins family for two

Many people were more or less interested in the case and they
came to the Sherwood home and talked excitedly about it in the
big kitchen. Some advised an utter disregard of the law. Others
were evidently minded to increase the trouble between Raffer and
Uncle Henry by malicious tale-bearing.

Often Nan thought of what Uncle Henry had said to old Toby
Vanderwiller. She learned that Toby was one of the oldest
settlers in this part of the Michigan Peninsula, and in his youth
had been a timber runner, that is, a man who by following the
surveyors' lines on a piece of timber, and weaving back and forth
across it, can judge its market value so nearly right that his
employer, the prospective timber merchant, is able to bid
intelligently for the so-called "stumpage" on the tract.

Toby was still a vigorous man save when that bane of the
woodsman, rheumatism, laid him by the heels. He had a bit of a
farm in the tamarack swamp. Once, being laid up by his arch
enemy, with his joints stiffened and muscles throbbing with pain,
Toby had seen the gaunt wolf of starvation, more terrible than
any timber wolf, waiting at his doorstone. His old wife and a
crippled grandson were dependent on Toby, too.

Thus in desperate straits Toby Vanderwiller had accepted help
from Gedney Raffer. It was a pitifully small sum Raffer would
advance upon the little farm; but it was sufficient to put Toby
in the usurer's power. This was the story Nan learned regarding
Toby. And Uncle Henry believed that Toby, with his old-time
knowledge of land-boundaries, could tell, if he would, which was
right in the present contention between Mr. Sherwood and Gedney

These, and many other subjects of thought, kept the mind of Nan
Sherwood occupied during the first few weeks of her sojourn at
Pine Camp. She had, too, to keep up her diary that she had begun
for Bess Harley's particular benefit. Every week she sent off to
Tillbury a bulky section of this report of her life in the Big
woods. It was quite wonderful how much there proved to be to
write about. Bess wrote back, enviously, that never did anything
interesting, by any possibility, happen, now that Nan was away
from Tillbury. The town was "as dull as ditch water." She,
Bess, lived only in hopes of meeting her chum at Lakeview Hall
the next September.

This hope Nan shared. But it all lay with the result of Momsey's
and Papa Sherwood's visit to Scotland and Emberon Castle. And,
Nan thought, it seemed as though her parents never would even
reach that far distant goal.

They had taken a slow ship for Momsey's benefit and the expected
re-telegraphed cablegram was looked for at the Forks for a week
before it possibly could come.

It was a gala day marked on Nan's calendar when Uncle Henry,
coming home from the railroad station behind the roan ponies,
called to her to come out and get the message. Momsey and Papa
Sherwood had sent it from Glasgow, and were on their way to
Edinburgh before Nan received the word. Momsey had been very ill
a part of the way across the ocean, but went ashore in improved

Nan was indeed happy at this juncture. Her parents were safely
over their voyage on the wintry ocean, so a part of her worry of
mind was lifted.

Meanwhile spring was stealing upon Pine Camp without Nan's being
really aware of the fact. Uncle Henry had said, back in Chicago,
that "the back of winter was broken"; but the extreme cold
weather and the deep snow she had found in the Big Woods made Nan
forget that March was passing and timid April was treading on his

A rain lasting two days and a night washed the roads of snow and
turned the fast disappearing drifts to a dirty yellow hue. In
sheltered fence corners and nooks in the wood, the grass lifted
new, green blades, and queer little Margaret Llewellen showed Nan
where the first anemones and violets hid under last year's
drifted leaves.

The river ice went out with a rush after it had rained a few
hours; after that the "drives" of logs were soon started. Nan
went down to the long, high bridge which spanned the river and
watched the flood carry the logs through.

At first they came scatteringly, riding the foaming waves end-on,
and sometimes colliding with the stone piers of the bridge with
sufficient force to split the unhewn timbers from end to end,
some being laid open as neatly as though done with axe and wedge.

When the main body of the drive arrived, however, the logs were
like herded cattle, milling in the eddies, stampeded by a cross-
current, bunching under the bridge arches like frightened steers
in a chute. And the drivers herded the logs with all the skill
of cowboys on the range.

Each drive was attended by its own crew, who guarded the logs on
either bank, launching those that shoaled on the numerous
sandbars or in the shallows, keeping them from piling up in coves
and in the mouths of estuaries, or creeks, some going ahead at
the bends to fend off and break up any formation of the drifting
timbers that promised to become a jam.

Behind the drive floated the square bowed and square sterned
chuck-boat, which carried cook and provisions for the men. A
"boom", logs chained together, end to end, was thrown out from
one shore of the wide stream at night, and anchored at its outer
end. Behind this the logs were gathered in an orderly, compact
mass and the men could generally get their sleep, save for the
watchman; unless there came a sudden rise of water in the night.

It was a sight long to be remembered, Nan thought, when the boom
was broken in the morning. Sometimes an increasing current piled
the logs up a good bit. It was a fear-compelling view the girl
had of the river on one day when she went with Uncle Henry to see
the first drive from Blackton's camp. Tom was coming home with
his team and was not engaged in the drive. But reckless Rafe was
considered, for his age, a very smart hand on a log drive.

The river had risen two feet at the Pine Camp bridge overnight.
It was a boiling brown flood, covered with drifting foam and
debris. The roar of the freshet awoke Nan in her bed before
daybreak. So she was not surprised to see the river in such a
turmoil when, afer a hasty breakfast, she and Uncle Henry walked
beside the flood.

"They started their drive last night," Uncle Henry said, "and
boomed her just below the campsite. We'll go up to Dead Man's
Bend and watch her come down. There is no other drive betwixt us
and Blackton's."

"Why is it called by such a horrid name, Uncle?" asked Nan.

"What, honey?" he responded.

"That bend in the river."

"Why, I don't know rightly, honey-bird. She's just called that.
Many a man's lost his life there since I came into this part of
the country, that's a fact. It's a dangerous place," and Nan
knew by the look on her uncle's face that he was worried.

Chapter XVIII

Nan and her uncle came out on the bluff that overlooked the sharp
bend which hid the upper reaches of the river from Pine Camp.
Across the stream, almost from bank to bank, a string of gravel
flats made a barrier that all the rivermen feared.

Blackton was no careless manager, and he had a good foreman in
Tim Turner. The big boss had ridden down to the bend in a mud-
splashed buggy, and was even prepared to take a personal hand in
the work, if need be. The foreman was coming down the river bank
on the Pine Camp side of the stream, watching the leading logs of
the drive, and directing the foreguard. Among the latter Nan
spied Rafe.

"There he is, Uncle!" she cried. "Oh! He's jumped out on that
log, see?"

"He's all right, girl, he's all right," said Uncle Henry
comfortingly. "Rafe's got good calks on his boots."

The boy sprang from log to log, the calks making the chips fly,
and with a canthook pushed off a log that had caught and swung
upon a small bank. He did it very cleverly, and was back again,
across the bucking logs, in half a minute.

Below, the foreman himself was making for a grounded log, one of
the first of the drive. It had caught upon some snag, and was
swinging broadside out, into the stream. Let two or three more
timbers catch with it and there would be the nucleus of a jam
that might result in much trouble for everybody.

Tim Turner leaped spaces of eight and ten feet between the logs,
landing secure and safe upon the stranded log at last. With the
heavy canthook he tried to start it.

Book of the day: