Part 2 out of 2
to be daunted. Lifting his axe on high, he shouted at them in his
choicest French, and charged upon the pack as though they had been simply
a flock of marauding sheep. Wolves are arrant cowards, and without
pausing to take into consideration the disparity of numbers, for they
stood twelve to one, they fled ignominiously before the plucky Frenchman,
not halting until they had put fifty yards between themselves and him.
Whereupon Baptiste seized upon the opportunity to pick up the still
senseless Frank, throw him over his broad shoulder, and hasten back to
the shanty before the wolves should regain their self-possession.
They were all asleep in the shanty when the cook returned with his
unconscious burden; but he soon roused the others with his vigorous
shouts, and by the time they were fully awake, Frank was awake too, the
warm air of the room quickly reviving him from his faint. Looking round
about with a bewildered expression, he asked anxiously,--
"Where is Mr. Johnston? Hasn't he come back too?"
Then he recollected himself, and a picture of his good friend lying
prostrate and helpless in the snow, perhaps surrounded by the same wolves
that brave Baptiste had rescued him from, flashed into his mind, and
springing to his feet he cried,--
"Hurry--hurry! Mr. Johnston is in Deep Gully, and he can't move. The
bridge broke under us, and he was almost killed. Oh, hurry, won't you, or
the wolves will be after him!"
The men looked at one another in astonishment and horror.
"Deep Gully!" they exclaimed. "That's five miles off. We must go at
And immediately all was bustle and excitement as they prepared to go out
into the night. As lumbermen always sleep in their clothes, they did not
take long to dress, and in a wonderfully short space of time the
teamsters had a sleigh with a pair of horses at the door, upon which
eight of the men, armed with guns and axes, sprang, and off they went
along the road as fast as the horses could gallop. Frank wanted to
accompany them, but Baptiste would not allow him.
"No, no, _mon cher._ You must stay wid me. You tired out. They get him
all right, and bring him safe home."
And he was fair to lie back, so tortured with anxiety for the foreman
that he could hardly appreciate the blessing of rest, although his own
exertions had been tremendous.
Not sparing the horses, the rescuers sped over the road, ever now and
then discharging a gun, in order to let Johnston know of their approach
and keep his courage up. In less than half-an-hour they reached the
gully, and peering over the brink, beheld the dark heap in the snow below
that was the object of their search. One glance was sufficient to show
how timely was their coming, for almost encircling the hapless man were
smaller shapes that even at that distance could be readily recognized.
"We're too late!" cried one of the men; "they're wolves." And with a wild
shout he flung himself recklessly down the snowy slope, and others
followed close behind.
Before their tumultuous onset the wolves fled like leaves before the
autumn wind, and poor Johnston, almost dead with pain, cold, and
exhaustion, raising himself a little from the snow, called out in a faint
but joyful tone,--
"Thank God; you've come in time! I thought it was all over with me."
OUT OF CLOUDS, SUNSHINE.
Great was the joy of the men at finding Johnston alive and still able to
speak, and at once their united strength was applied to extricating him
from his painful position. The poor horse, utterly unable to help
himself, had long ago given up the vain struggle, and in a state of
pitiful exhaustion and fright was lying where he first fell, the snow all
about him being torn up in a way that showed how furious had been his
struggles. Johnston had by dint of heroic exertion managed to withdraw
his leg a little from underneath the heavy jumper; but he could not free
himself altogether, so that had the wolves found out how completely both
horse and man were in their power, they would have made short work of
both. Fortunately, by vigorous shouting and wild waving of his arms, the
foreman had been able to keep the cowardly creatures at bay long enough
to allow the rescuing party to reach him. But he could not have kept up
many minutes more, and if strength and voice had entirely forsaken him
the dreadful end would soon have followed.
Handling the injured man with a tenderness and care one would hardly have
looked for in such rough fellows, the lumbermen after no small exertion
got him up out of the gully and laid him upon the sleigh in the road.
Then the horse was released from the jumper, and, being coaxed to his
feet, led down the gully to where the sides were not so steep and he
could scramble up, while the jumper itself was left behind to be
recovered when they had more time to spare.
Before they started off for the shanty one of the men had the curiosity
to cross the gully and examine the bridge where it broke, in order to
find out the cause of the accident. When he returned there was a strange
expression on his face, which added to the curiosity of the others who
were awaiting his report.
"Both stringers are sawed near through!" he exclaimed. "And it's not been
done long, either. Must have been done to-day, for the sawdust's lying
The men looked at one another in amazement and horror. The stringers
sawed through! What scoundrel could have done such a thing? Who was the
murderous traitor in their camp? Then to the quickest-witted of them came
the thought of Damase's dire threat and consuming jealousy.
"I know who did it," he cried. "There's only one man in the camp villain
enough to do it. It was that hound Damase, as sure as I stand here!"
Instantly the others saw the matter in the same light. Damase had done it
beyond a doubt, hoping thereby to have the revenge for which his savage
heart thirsted. Ill would it have gone with him could the men have laid
hands on him at that moment. They were just in the mood to have inflicted
such punishment as would probably have put the wretch in a worse plight
than his intended victim, and many and fervent were their vows of
vengeance, expressed in language rather the reverse of polite. Strict
almost to severity as Johnston was in his management of the camp, the
majority of the men, including all the best elements, regarded him with
deep respect, if not affection; and that Damase Deschenaux should make so
dastardly an attempt upon his life aroused in them a storm of indignant
wrath which would not soon be allayed.
They succeeded in making the sufferer quite comfortable upon the sleigh;
but they had to go very slowly on the return journey to the shanty, both
to make it easy for Johnston, and because the men had to walk now that
the sleigh was occupied. So soon as they came in sight, Frank ran to meet
them, calling out eagerly,--
"Is he all right? Have you got him?"
"We've got him, Frank, safe enough," replied the driver of the sleigh.
"But we wasn't a minute too soon, I can tell you. I guess you must have
sent your wolves off to him when you'd done with them."
"Were the wolves at you, sir?" exclaimed Frank, bending over the foreman,
and looking anxiously into his face.
Johnston had fallen into a sort of doze or stupor but the stopping of the
sleigh and Frank's anxious voice aroused him, and he opened his eyes with
a smile that told plainly how dear to him the boy had become.
"They weren't quite at me, Frank, but they soon would have been if the
men hadn't come along," he replied.
With exceeding tenderness the big helpless man was lifted from the sleigh
and placed in his own bunk in the corner. The whole shanty was awake to
receive him, a glorious fire roared and crackled upon the hearth, and the
pleasant fragrance of fresh-brewed tea filled the room. So soon as the
foreman's outer garments had been removed, Frank brought him a pannikin
of the lumberman's pet beverage, and he drank it eagerly, saying that it
was all the medicine he needed. Beyond making him as comfortable as
possible, nothing further could be done for him, and in a little while
the shantymen were all asleep again as soundly as though there had been
no disturbance of their slumbers. Frank wanted to sit up with Johnston;
but the foreman would not hear of it, and, anyway, thoroughly sincere as
was his offer, he never could have carried it out, for he was very weary
himself and ready to drop asleep at the first chance.
Of Damase there was no sign. Some of the men had noticed him quitting
work earlier than usual in the afternoon, and when he did not appear at
supper-time had thought he was gone off hunting, which he loved to do
whenever he got the opportunity. Whether or not he would have the
assurance to return to the shanty would depend upon whether he had waited
in ambush to see the result of his villany; for if he had done so, and
had witnessed the at least partial failure of his plot, there was little
chance of his being seen again.
The next morning a careful examination of Johnston showed that, while no
bones were broken, his right leg had been very badly twisted and strained
almost to dislocation, and he had been internally injured to an extent
that could be determined only by a doctor. It was decided to send a
message for the nearest doctor, and meanwhile to do everything possible
for the sufferer in the way of bandages and liniments that the simple
shanty outfit afforded. By general understanding Frank assumed the duties
of nurse; and it was not long before life at the camp settled down into
its accustomed routine, Johnston having appointed the most experienced
and reliable of the gang its foreman during his confinement. In due time
the doctor came, examined his patient, made everybody glad by announcing
that none of the injuries were serious, and that they required only time
and attention for their cure, wrote out full directions for Frank to
follow, and then, congratulating Johnston upon his good fortune in having
so devoted and intelligent a nurse, set off again on the long drive to
his distant home with the pleasant consciousness of having done his duty
and earned a good fee.
The weeks that followed were the happiest Frank spent that winter. His
duties as nurse were not onerous, and he enjoyed very much the importance
with which they invested him. So long as his patient was well looked
after, he was free to come and go according to his inclinations, and the
thoughtful foreman saw to it that he spent at least half the day in the
open air, often sending him with messages to the men working far off in
the woods. Frank always carried his rifle with him on these tramps, and
frequently brought back with him a brace of hares or partridges, which,
having had the benefit of Baptiste's skill, were greatly relished by
Johnston, who found his appetite for the plain fare of the shanty much
dulled by his confinement.
As the days slipped by the foreman began to open his heart to his young
companion and to tell him much about his boyhood, which deeply interested
Frank. Living a frontier life, he had his full share of adventure in
hunting, lumbering, and prospecting for limits, and many an hour was
spent reviewing the past. One evening while they were thus talking
together Johnston became silent and fell into a sort of reverie, from
which he presently roused himself, and looking very earnestly into
Frank's face, asked him,--
"Have you always been a Christian, Frank?"
The question came so unexpectedly and was so direct that Frank was quite
taken aback, and being slow to answer, the foreman, as if fearing he had
been too abrupt, went on to say,--
"The reason I asked was because you seem to enjoy so much reading your
Bible and saying your prayers that I thought you must have had those good
habits a long time."
Frank had now fully recovered himself, and with a blush that greatly
became him, answered modestly,--
"I have always loved God. Mother taught me how good and kind he is as
soon as I was old enough to understand; and the older I get the more I
want to love him and to try to do what is right."
A look of ineffable tenderness came into Johnston's dark eyes while the
boy was speaking. Then his face darkened, and giving vent to a heavy
sigh, he passed his hand over his eyes as though to put away some painful
recollection. After a moment's silence, he said,--
"My mother loved her Bible, and wanted me to love it too. But I was a
wild, headstrong chap, and didn't take kindly to the notion of being
religious, and I'm afraid I cost her many a tear. God bless her! I wonder
does she ever up there think of her son down here, and wonder if he's any
better than he was when she had to leave him to look after himself."
Not knowing just what to say, Frank made no reply, but his face glowed
with sympathetic interest; and after another pause the foreman went on,--
"I've been thinking a great deal lately, Frank, and it's been all your
doing. Seeing you so particular about your religion, and not letting
anything stop you from saying your prayers and reading your Bible just
as you would at home, has made me feel dreadfully ashamed of myself, and
I've been wanting to have a talk with you about it. Would you mind
reading your Bible to me? I haven't been inside a church for many a year,
and I guess I'd be none the worse of a little Bible-reading."
Frank could not restrain an exclamation of delight. Would he mind? Had
not this very thing been on his conscience for weeks past? Had he not
been hoping and praying for a good opportunity to propose it himself, and
only kept back because of his fear lest the foreman should think this
"I shall be very glad indeed to read my Bible to you, sir," he answered
eagerly. "I've been wanting to ask if I mightn't do it, but was afraid
that perhaps you would not like it."
"Well, Frank, to be honest with you, I'd a good deal rather have you read
to me than read it for myself," said Johnston; "because you must know it
'most by heart, and I've forgotten what little I did know once."
The reading began that night, and thenceforward was never missed while
the two were at Camp Kippewa. Young as Frank was, he had learned from
his parents and at the Sunday school a great deal about the Book of
books, and especially about the life of Christ, so that to Johnston he
seemed almost a marvel of knowledge. It was beautiful to see the big
man's simplicity as he sat at the feet, so to speak, of a mere boy, and
learned anew from him the sublime and precious gospel truths that the
indifference and neglect of more than forty years had buried in dim
obscurity; and Frank found an ever-increasing pleasure in repeating the
comments and explanations that he had heard from the dear lips at home.
Even to his young eyes it was clear that the foreman was thoroughly in
earnest, and would not stop short of a full surrender of himself to the
Master he had so long refused to acknowledge. Above all things, he was a
thorough man, and therefore this would take time, for he would insist
upon knowing every step of the way; but once well started; no power on
earth or beneath would be permitted to bar his progress to the very end.
And this great end was achieved before he left his bunk to resume his
work. He lay down there bruised and crippled and godless; but lie arose
healed and strengthened and a new man in Christ Jesus! If Frank was proud
of his big convert, who can blame him? But for his coming to the camp,
Johnston might have remained as he was, caring for none of those things
which touched his eternal interests; but now through the influence of his
example, aided by favouring circumstances, he had been led to the
But Damase--what of Damase? There is not much to tell. Whether or not he
was watching when the bridge fell, and how he spent that night, no one
ever knew. The next morning he was seen at the depot, where he explained
his presence by saying that the foreman had "bounced" him, and that he
was going back to his native town. Beyond this, nothing further was ever
heard of him.
The hold of winter had begun to relax ere Johnston was able fully to
resume his work, and a good deal of time having been lost through his
accident, every effort had to be exerted to make it up ere the warm
sunshine should put an end to the winter's work. Frank was looking
forward eagerly to the day when they should break camp, for, to tell the
truth, he felt that he had had quite enough of it for one season, and he
was longing to be back in Calumet and enjoying the comforts of home once
more. He was not exactly homesick. You would have very much offended him
by hinting at that. He was simply tired of the monotony of camp fare and
camp life, and anxious to return to civilization. So he counted the days
that must pass before the order to break camp would come, and felt very
light of heart when the sun shone warm, and correspondingly downcast when
the thermometer sank below zero, as it was still liable to do.
"Striving" was the order of the day at the lumber camp--that is, the
different gangs of choppers and sawyers and teamsters vied with each
other as to which could chop, saw, and haul the most logs in a day. The
amount of work they could accomplish when thus striving might astonish
Mr. Gladstone himself, from eighty to one hundred logs felled and trimmed
being the day's work of two men. Frank was deeply interested in this
competition, and enjoying the fullest confidence of the men, he was
unanimously appointed scorer, keeping each gang's "tally" in a book, and
reporting the results to the foreman, who heartily encouraged the rivalry
among his men; for the harder they worked the better would be the showing
for the season, and he was anxious not to lose the reputation he had won
of turning out more logs at his shanty than did any other foreman on the
As the weeks passed and March gave way to April, and April drew toward
its close, the lumbermen's work grew more and more arduous; but they kept
at it bravely until at last, near the end of April, the snow became so
soft in the woods and the roads so bad that no more hauling could be
done, and the whole attention of the camp was then given to getting the
logs that had been gathering at the river-side all through the winter out
upon the ice, so that they might be sure to be carried off by the spring
floods. This work did not require all hands, and Johnston now saw the way
clear to giving Frank a treat that he had long had in mind for him, but
had said nothing about. They were having their usual chat together before
going to bed, when the foreman said,--
"Is there anything you would like to do before we break up camp?"
Frank did not at first see the drift of the question, and looking at
Johnston with a puzzled sort of expression, replied, questioningly,--
"I don't know. I've had a very good time here."
"Well, but can you think of anything you would like to do before you go
back to Calumet?" persisted the foreman. "I'm asking you because there'll
not be enough work to go round next week, and you can have a bit of
holiday. Now, isn't there something you would like to have a taste of
while you have the chance?" And as he spoke his eyes were directed toward
the wall at the head of his bed, where hung his rifle, powder-flask, and
hunting knife. Frank caught his meaning at once.
"Oh, I see what you are driving at now!" he exclaimed. "You want to know
if I wouldn't like to go out hunting."
"Right you are," said Johnston. "Would you?"
"Would I?" cried Frank. "Would a duck swim? Just try me, that's all."
"Well, I do intend to try you," returned Johnston. "The firm have some
limits over there near the foot of the mountain that they want me to
prospect before I go back, and pick out the best place for a camp. I've
been trying to make out to go over there all winter, but getting hurt
upset my plans, and I've not had a chance until now. So I'm thinking of
making a start to-morrow. There's nothing much else to do except to
finish getting the logs on the ice, and I can trust the men to see to
that; and, no odds what kind of weather we have, the ice can't start for
a week at least. So if you'd like to come along with me and take your
rifle, you may get a chance to have a shot at something before we get
back. Does that suit you?"
This proposition suited Frank admirably. A week in the woods in
Johnston's company could not fail to be a week of delight, and he thanked
the foreman in his warmest words for offering to take him on his
The following morning they set off, the party consisting of four--namely,
the foreman, Frank, Laberge, who accompanied them as cook, and another
man named Booth as a sort of assistant. The snow still lay deep enough to
render snow-shoes necessary, and while Johnston and Frank carried their
rifles, Laberge and Booth drew behind them a toboggan, upon which was
packed a small tent and an abundant supply of provisions. Their route led
straight into the heart of the vast and so far little-explored forest,
and away from the river beside whose bank they had been living all
winter. It was Johnston's purpose to penetrate to the foot of the
mountain range that rose into sight nearly thirty miles away, and then
work backward by a different route, noting carefully the lie of the land,
the course of the streams, and the best bunches of timber, so as to make
sure of selecting a site for the future camp in the very best locality.
He was evidently in excellent spirits himself at the prospect of a week's
holiday, for such it would really be, and all trace of his injury having
entirely disappeared, there was no drawback to the energy with which he
led his little expedition into the forest where they would be buried for
the rest of the week.
The weather was as fine as heart could wish. All day the sun shone
brightly, and even at night the temperature never got anywhere near zero,
so that with a buffalo-robe under you and a couple of good blankets over
you it was possible to sleep quite comfortably in a canvas tent.
"I can't promise you much in the way of game, Frank," said Johnston, as
the two tramped along side by side. "It is too late in the season. But
the bears must be out of their dens by this time, and if we see one we'll
do our best to get his skin for you to take home."
The idea of bringing a big bear-skin home as a trophy of his first real
hunting expedition pleased Frank mightily, and his eyes flashed as he
grasped his rifle in a way that would in itself have been sufficient
warning to bruin, could he only have seen it, to keep well out of the way
of so doughty an assailant.
"I'd like immensely to have a shot at a bear, sir," he replied. "So I do
hope we shall see one."
"You must be precious careful, though, Frank," said Johnston, "for
they're generally in mighty bad humour at this time of year, and you need
to get your work in quick, or they may make short work of you."
Various kinds of game were seen during the next day or two, and Frank had
many a shot. But Johnston seldom fired, preferring to let Frank have all
the fun, as he said. One afternoon, just before they went into camp, the
keen eyes of Laberge detected something among the branches of a pine a
little distance to the right of their path which caused his face to glow
with excitement as he pointed eagerly to it, and exclaimed,--
"_Voila_! A lucifee--shoot him, quick!"
They all turned in the direction he pointed out, and there, sure enough,
was a dark mass in the fork of the tree that, as they hastened toward it,
resolved itself into a fierce-looking creature, full four times the size
of an ordinary cat, which, instead of showing any fear at their approach,
bristled up its back and uttered a deep, angry snarl that spoke volumes
for its courage.
"Now, then, Frank," said Johnston, "take first shot, and see if you can
fetch the brute down."
Trembling with excitement, Frank threw up his rifle, did his best to
steady himself, took aim at the bewhiskered muzzle of the lynx, and
pulled the trigger. The sharp crack of the rifle was followed by an
ear-piercing shriek of mingled pain and rage, and the next instant the
wounded creature launched forth into the air toward the hunters. Frank's
nervousness, natural enough under the circumstances, had caused him to
miss his mark a little, and the bullet, instead of piercing the
"lucifee's" brain, had only stung him sorely in the shoulder.
But quick as was its movements, Johnston was still quicker, and the
moment its feet touched the snow, ere it could gather itself for another
spring, his rifle cracked and a bullet put an end to its career.
"Just as well you weren't by yourself, Frank; hey?" said he, with a smile
of satisfaction at the accuracy of his shot. "This chap would have been
an ugly customer at close quarters, and," turning the body over to find
where the first bullet had hit, "you see you hardly winged him."
Frank blushed furiously and looked very much ashamed of himself for not
being a better marksman; but the foreman cheered him up by assuring him
that he had really done very well in hitting the animal at all at that
"You only want a little practice, my boy," said he. "You have plenty of
pluck; there's no mistake about that."
The lynx had a fine skin, which Laberge deftly removed, and it was given
to Frank because he had fired the first shot at it, so that he would not
go back to Calumet without at least one hunting trophy on the strength of
which he might do a little boasting.
Further and further into the forest the little party pierced their way,
not following any direct line, but making detours to right and left, in
order that the country might be thoroughly inspected. As they neared the
mountains the trees diminished in size and the streams shrank until, at
the end of their journey, the first were too small to pay for cutting,
and the second too shallow to be any good for floating. With no little
difficulty they ascended a shoulder of the mountain range, in order to
get a look over all the adjoining country, and then, Johnston having made
up his mind as to the location of the best bunches of timber and the most
convenient site for the projected lumber camp, the object of the
expedition was accomplished, and they were at liberty to return to the
shanty. But before they could do this they were destined to have an
adventure that came perilously near taking away from them the youngest of
It was the afternoon before they struck camp on the return journey. The
foreman was sitting by the tent mending one of his snow-shoes, which had
been damaged tramping through the bush, Booth was busy cutting firewood,
and Laberge making preparations for the evening meal. Having nothing else
to do, Frank picked up his rifle and sauntered off toward the mountain
side, with no very clear idea as to anything more than to kill a little
time. Whistling cheerfully one of the many sacred melodies he knew and
loved, he made his way over the snow, being soon lost to sight from the
camp, Johnston calling after him just before he disappeared,--
"Take care of yourself, my boy, and don't go too far."
To which Frank responded with a smiling, "All right, sir."
At the distance of about a quarter of a mile from the camp he noticed a
sort of rift in the mountain, where the rocks were bare and exposed, and
at the end of this rift a dark aperture was visible, which at once
attracted his attention.
The boy that could come across a cave without being filled with a burning
curiosity to take a peep in and, if possible, explore its interior, would
have to be a very dull fellow, and Frank certainly was not of that kind.
This dark aperture was no doubt the mouth of a cave of some sort, and he
determined to inspect it. When he got within about fifteen yards, he
noticed what he had not seen before, that there was a well-defined track
leading from the cave to the underbrush to the right, which had evidently
been made by some large animal; and with somewhat of a start Frank
immediately thought of a bear.
Now, of course, under the circumstances, there was but one thing for him
to do if he wished to illustrate his common sense, and that was to hurry
back to the tent as fast as possible for reinforcements. Ordinarily, he
would have done so at once, but this time he was still smarting a bit at
his poor marksmanship in the case of the "lucifee," and the sight of the
track in the snow suggested the idea of winning a reputation for himself
by killing a bear without any assistance from the others. It was a rash
and foolish notion; but then boys will be boys.
Moving forward cautiously, he approached within ten yards of the cave and
then halted again, bringing his rifle forward so as to be ready to fire
at a moment's notice. Bending down until his eyes were on a level with
the opening, he tried hard to peer into its depths; but the darkness was
too deep to pierce, and he could not make out anything. Then he bethought
him of another expedient. Picking up a lump of snow, he pressed it into a
ball and threw it into the cave, at the same time shouting out, "Hallo
there! Anybody inside?" A proceeding that capped the climax of his
rashness and produced quite as sensational a result as he could possibly
have desired, for the next moment a deep angry roar issued from the rocky
retreat and a fiery pair of eyes gleamed out from its shadows. The
critical moment had come, and taking aim a little below the shining orbs,
so as to make sure of hitting, Frank pulled the trigger. The report of
the rifle and the roar of the bear followed close upon one another,
awaking the echoes of the adjoining heights. Then came a moment's
silence, broken the next instant by a cry of alarm from Frank; for the
bear, instead of writhing in the agonies of death, was charging down upon
him with open mouth! Once more he had missed his mark and only wounded
when he should have killed.
There was but one thing for him to do--to flee for his life; and uttering
a shout of "Help! help!" with all the strength of his lungs, he threw
down his rifle and started for the tent at the top of his speed.
It was well for him that the snow still lay deep upon the ground, and
that he was so expert in the use of his snow-shoes; for while the bear
wallowed heavily in the drifts, he flew lightly over them, so that for a
time the furious creature lost ground rather than gained upon him. For a
hundred yards the boy and bear raced through the forest, Frank continuing
his cries for help while he ran. Looking back for an instant, he saw that
the bear bad not yet drawn any nearer, and, terrified as he was, the
thought flashed into his mind that if the brute followed him all the way
to the camp he would soon be despatched by the men, and then he, Frank,
would be entitled to some credit for thus bringing him to execution.
On sped the two in their race for life, the boy skimming swiftly over the
soft snow, the bear ploughing his way madly through it, until more than
half the distance to the camp had been accomplished. If Johnston had
heard the report of the rifle and Frank's wild cries for help, he should
be coming into sight now, and with intense anxiety Frank looked ahead in
hopes of seeing him emerge from the trees which clustered thickly in that
direction. But there was no sign of him yet; and shouting again as loudly
as he could, the boy pressed strenuously forward. There was greater need
for exertion than ever, for he had reached a spot where the snow was not
very deep and had been firmly packed by the wind, so that the bear's
broad feet sank but little in it, and his rate of speed ominously
increased. So close was the fierce creature coming that Frank could hear
his paws pattering on the snow and his deep panting breath.
Oh why did not Johnston appear? Surely he must have heard Frank's cries.
Ah, there he was, just bursting through the trees into the opening, with
Laberge and Booth close at his heels. Frank's heart bounded with joy, and
he was tempted to take a glance back to see how close the bear had got.
It was not a wise thing to do, and he came near paying dearly for doing
it; for at the same instant his snowshoes caught in each other, and
before he could recover himself he fell headlong in the snow with the
bear right upon him.
THE GREAT SPRING DRIVE.
At the sight of Frank's fall the three men gave a simultaneous shout of
alarm that caused the bear to halt for a moment in his fierce pursuit,
and lifting his head to look angrily in the direction from which the
sound had come. This action saved the helpless boy--striving to regain
his feet only a yard from death. The instant the creature's broad breast
was exposed, Johnston threw his rifle to his shoulder, and without
waiting to take aim, but ejaculating a fervent "Help me, O God!" pulled
the trigger. The report of the rifle rang out sharp and clear, the heavy
bullet sped through the air straight to its mark, and with it embedded in
his heart the mighty animal, leaving untouched the boy at his feet, made
a mad bound across his body to reach the assailant who had given him his
But it was a vain though gallant attempt. Ere he was half-way to the
foreman, he staggered and rolled over upon the snow, and before he could
lift himself again the men were upon him, and Laberge, swinging his keen
axe high in the air, brought it down with a mighty blow upon the brute's
slanting forehead, letting daylight into his brain. Not even a bear could
survive such a stroke, and without a struggle the creature yielded up its
Instantly the foreman sprang to Frank's side and lifted him upon his
"My dear boy!" he cried, his face aflame with anxious love, as he clasped
Frank passionately in his arms, "are you hurt at all? Did he touch you?"
What between his previous exertions and the big man's mighty embrace,
poor Frank had hardly enough breath left in him to reply, but he managed
to gasp out,--
"Not a bit. He never touched me."
"Are you quite sure now?" persisted Johnston, whose anxiety could not be
at once relieved. "O my lad! my heart stood still when you fell down
right in front of the brute."
"I'm quite sure, Mr. Johnston," said Frank. "See!" And to prove his words
he gave a jump into the air, threw up his arms, and shouted, "Hip! hip!
hurrah!" with the full force of his lungs.
"God be praised!" exclaimed the foreman. "What a wonderful escape! Let
us kneel down right here, and give Him thanks," he added, suiting his
action to his words. Frank at once followed his example; so too did
Laberge and Booth; and there in the midst of the forest-wilds this
strange praise-meeting was held over the body of the fierce creature from
whose murderous rage Frank had been so happily delivered.
Johnston sent Laberge back to the tent for the toboggan, and before
darkness set in the bear was dragged thither, where the two men skilfully
skinned him by the light of the camp fire, and stretched the pelt out to
The quartette had a long talk over the whole affair after supper had been
disposed of. Frank was plied with questions which he took much pleasure
in answering, for naturally enough he felt himself to be in some measure
the hero of the occasion. While he could not help admiring and cordially
praising Frank's audacity, the foreman felt bound to reprove him for it,
and to impress upon him the necessity of showing more caution in future,
or he might get himself into a situation of danger from which there might
be no one at hand to deliver him. Frank, by this time thoroughly sobered
down, listened dutifully, and readily promised to be more careful if he
ever came across bear tracks again.
"Anyway, my boy," said Johnston, "you won't go home empty-handed; and
when your mother sees those two skins, which are both pretty good ones,
she'll think more of you than she ever did before."
"Yes, but you know," said Frank, "both skins oughtn't to be mine, for I
didn't kill either of the animals."
"Neither you did, Frank," replied Johnston, "but you came mighty near
killing the one, and the other came mighty near killing you; so I think
it's only fair you should have both.--Don't you think so, mates?" turning
to the men.
"Ah, _oui_," exclaimed Laberge, with a vigorous nod of his head.
"Of course," added Booth, no less emphatically; and so the matter was
settled very much to Frank's satisfaction.
The next day the tent was packed and the little party set out for the
shanty, which was reached in good time without anything eventful
occurring on the way. They found the work of getting the logs down upon
the ice well nigh completed, and the foreman's return giving an impetus
to the men's exertions, it was finished in a few days more, and then
there was nothing to do but to await the breaking up of the ice.
They were not kept long in expectancy. The sun was now in full vigour;
before his burning rays the snow and ice fled in utter rout; and the
frost king, confessing defeat, withdrew his grasp from the Kippewa,
which, as if rejoicing in its release, went rippling and bounding merrily
on toward the great river beyond, bearing upon its bosom the many
thousand logs which represented the hard labour of Camp Kippewa during
the long cold winter months that were now past and gone. The most arduous
and exciting phase of the lumberman's life had begun, the great spring
drive, as they call it, and for weeks to come he would be engaged playing
the part of shepherd after a strange fashion, with huge, clumsy, unruly
logs for his flock, and the rushing river for the highway along which
they should be driven.
The shantymen were divided into two parties, one section taking the teams
and camp-belongings back to the depot, the other and much larger section
following the logs in their journey to the mills. Johnston put himself at
the head of the latter, and Frank, of course, accompanied him, for the
foreman was no less anxious to have him than the boy was to go. The bonds
of affection that bound the two were growing stronger every day they were
together. Frank regarded Johnston as the preserver of his life, and
Johnston, on his part, looked upon Frank as having been in God's hands
the means of bringing light and joy to his soul. It might be said,
without exaggeration, that either of them would risk his life in the
other's behalf with the utmost willingness.
The journey down the river had to be done in light marching order. Not
much baggage could be carried, so as not to burden too heavily the three
or four "_bonnes_," as they call the long, light, flat-bottomed boats
peculiar to lumbermen, which had been all winter awaiting the time when
their services would be required. The shore work being beyond his
strength, Frank was given a place in one of the _bonnes_ along with
Baptiste, Laberge, and part of the commissariat, and it was their duty to
precede the main body of the men, and have their dinner and supper ready
for them when they came up. In this way Frank would get a perfect view of
the whole business of river driving, and he was in high feather as they
made a start on a beautiful morning in early May, with the sun shining
brightly, the air soft and balmy, and the river reflecting the blue of
the unclouded heavens.
"Now take good care of Baptiste and the grub," said Johnston, with a
smile, as he pushed the boat in which Frank was sitting off into the
stream. "If you let anything happen to them, Frank, I don't know what
we'll do to you."
"I'll do my best, sir," replied Frank, smiling back. "The boat won't
upset if I can help it, and as Baptiste can't swim, he'll do his best to
be careful too; won't you, Baptiste?"
"_Vraiment, mon cher_," cried Baptiste. "If we upset--poor Baptiste! zat
will be the last of him." And he shrugged his fat shoulders and made a
serio-comic grimace that set everybody laughing.
If the Kippewa, through all its course, had been as deep and free from
obstructions as it was opposite the lumber camp, the river drivers
would have had an easy time of it getting their wooden flock to market.
But none of the rivers in this part of the country go quietly on their
way from source to outlet. Falls and rapids are of frequent occurrence,
and it is these which add difficulty and danger to the lumberman's
work. Carrying pike-poles and cant-hooks, the former being simply long
tough ash poles with a sharp spike on the business end, and the latter
shorter stouter poles, something like the handle of a shovel, with a
curious curved iron attachment that took a firm grip of a log and enabled
the worker to roll its lazy bulk over and over in the direction he
desired--with these weapons taking the place of the axe and saw, the men
set off on their journey down the river side, two of the boats going
ahead, and two bringing up the rear.
Frank felt in great spirits. He was thoroughly expert in the management
of a _bonne_, and the voyage down the river in this lovely spring weather
could be only continued enjoyment, especially as beyond steering the boat
he had nothing to do, and it would be practically one long holiday. There
were nearly twenty thousand logs to be guided, coaxed, rolled, and shoved
for one hundred miles or more through sullen pools, sleeping reaches,
turbulent rapids, and roaring falls, where, as if they were living
things, they would seem to exhaust every possible means of delay. The way
in which they would stick at some critical point and pile one upon
another, until the whole river was blocked, defies description; and one
seeing the spectacle for the first time might well be pardoned if he were
to be positive that there could be no way of bringing order out of so
hopeless a confusion, and releasing the tangled obstructed mass.
For the first few days matters went very smoothly, the river being
deep and swift, and the logs giving little trouble. Of course, numbers of
them were continually stranding on the banks, but the watchful drivers
soon spied them out, and with a push of the pike-pole, or drag of the
cant-hook, sent them floating off again on their journey. At mid-day all
the men would gather about Baptiste's kettles and dispose of a hearty
dinner, and then again at night they would leave the logs to look after
themselves while they ate their supper and talked, and then lay down to
rest their weary bodies. But this condition of things was too good to
last. In due time the difficulties began to show themselves, and then
Frank saw the most exciting and dangerous phase of a lumberman's life--a
part of it with which when he grew older he must himself become familiar
if he would be master of the whole business, as it was his ambition to
The great army of logs, forging onward slowly or swiftly, according to
the force of the current, would come to a point where the stream narrowed
and jagged rocks thrust their unwelcome heads above the surface. The
vanguard of the army, perhaps, passing either to right or left of the
rocks, would go on its way unchecked. But when the main body came up, and
the whole stream was full of drifting logs, some clumsy tree trunk going
down broadside first would bring up short against the rock. As quickly as
a crowd will gather in a city street, the other logs would cluster about
the one that obstructed their passage. There would be no stopping the
on-rush. In less time than it takes to describe it, a hundred logs would
be jostling one another in the current; and every minute the confusion
would increase, until ere long the disordered mass would stretch from
shore to shore, the whole stream would be blocked up, and the event most
dreaded by the river driver would have taken place, to wit, a log jam.
The worst place that Johnston had to encounter in getting his drive of
logs to the river was at the Black Rapids, and never will Frank forget
the thrilling excitement of that experience. These rapids were the terror
of the Kippewa lumbermen. They were situated in the swiftest part of the
river, and if Nature had in cold blood tried her utmost to give the
despoilers of her forest a hard nut to crack she could scarcely have
succeeded better. The boiling current was divided into two portions by a
jagged spur of rock that thrust itself above the surging waters, and so
sure as a log came broadside against this projection it was caught and
held in a firm embrace.
Johnston thoroughly understood this, and had taken every care to
prevent a jam occurring; and if it had been possible for him to do what
was in his mind--namely, to land upon the troublesome rock, and with his
pike-pole push back again into the current every log that threatened to
stick--the whole drive would have slipped safely by. He did make a
gallant attempt to carry this out, putting four of the best oarsmen into
Frank's boat, and trying again and again to force his way through the
fierce current to the rock, while Frank watched him with breathless
interest from the bank. But, strain and tug as the oarsmen might, the
eddying, whirling stream was too strong for them, and swept them past the
rock again and again, until at length the foreman had to give up
his design as impracticable.
It was exciting work, and Frank longed very much to be in the boat; but
Johnston, indulgent as he was toward his favourite, refused him this
"No, no, Frank; I couldn't think of it," he said decidedly. "It's too
risky a business. The _bonne_ might be smashed any time, and if it did
we'd run a poor chance of getting out of these rapids. More than one good
man has gone to his death here."
"Have there been men killed in these rapids?" Frank asked, with a look of
profound concern at his big friend, who was taking such risks. "The poor
fellows! What a dreadful death! They must have been dashed against the
rocks. Surely you won't try it again, will you?" For it was dinner-time,
and all hands were taking a welcome rest before resuming the toils of the
Johnston thoroughly understood and appreciated the boy's anxiety in his
behalf, and there was a look of wonderful tenderness in his eyes as he
"I must try it once more, Frank; for if I can only get out to that rock
there'll be no jam this day. But don't you worry. I've taken bigger risks
and come out all right."
So he made one more attempt, while Frank watched every movement of the
boat, praying earnestly for its preservation. Again he failed, and the
_bonne_ returned to the bank unharmed. But hardly had the weary men
thrown themselves down for a brief spell of rest than what they all so
dreaded happened. One of the logs, getting into a cross eddy, rolled
broadside against the rock. It was caught and held fast. Another and
another charged against it and stayed there. The main body of the drive
was now passing down, and every moment the jam increased in size. Soon it
would fill the whole stream. Yet the lumbermen were powerless to prevent
its growth. They could do nothing until it had so checked the current
that it would be possible to make a way over to its centre.
So soon as this took place, Johnston, accompanied by three of his best
men, armed with axes and cant-hooks, leaping from log to log with the
sure agility only lumbermen could show, succeeded in reaching the heart
of the jam, and at once proceeded to attack it with tremendous energy.
One log after another was detached from the disordered mass and sent
whirling off down stream, until at the end of an hour's arduous exertion,
the key-piece--that is, the log that had caused all the trouble--was
"Now, my boys," said Johnston to his men, "get ashore as quick as you
can. I'll stay and cut out the key-piece."
The men demurred for a moment. They were reluctant to leave their chief
alone in a position of such extreme peril. But he commanded them to go.
"There's only one man wanted," he said; "and I'll do it myself. It's no
use you risking your lives too."
So the men obeyed, and returned to the bank to join the group watching
Johnston's movements with intense anxiety. They all knew as well as he
did the exceeding peril of his position, and not one of them would
breathe freely until he had accomplished his task, and found his way
safely back to the shore.
For so large a man the foreman showed an agility that was really
wonderful, as he leaped from log to log with the swiftness and sureness
of a chamois. He had been lumbering all his life, and there was nothing
that fell to the lumberman's experience with which he was not perfectly
familiar. Yet it is doubtful if he ever had a more difficult or dangerous
task than that before him now. The "key-piece" of the jam was fully
exposed, and once it was cut in two it would no longer hold the
accumulation of logs together. They would be released from their bondage,
and springing forward with the full force of the pent-up current, would
rush madly down stream, carrying everything before them.
But what would Johnston do in the midst of this tumult? A few more
moments would tell; for his axe was dealing tremendous strokes, before
which the key-piece, stout though it was, must soon yield. Ah, it is
almost severed. The foreman pauses for an instant and glances keenly
around, evidently in order to see what will be his best course of action
when the jam breaks. Frank, in an agony of apprehension and anxiety, has
sunk to his knees, his lips moving in earnest prayer, while his eyes are
fixed on his beloved friend. Johnston's quick glance falls upon him, and,
catching the significance of his attitude, his face is irradiated with a
heavenly light of love as lie calls out across the boiling current,--
"God bless you, Frank! Keep praying."
Then he returns to his work. The keen axe flashes through the air in
stroke after stroke. At length there comes a sound that cannot be
mistaken. The foreman throws aside his axe and prepares to jump for
life; and, like one man, the breathless onlookers shout together as the
key-piece rends in two, and the huge jam, suddenly released, bursts away
from the rock and charges tumultuously down the river.
If ever man needed the power of prompt decision, it was the foreman then.
To the men on shore there seemed no possible way of escape from the
avalanche of logs; and Frank shut his eyes lest he should have to witness
a dreadful tragedy. A cry from the men caused him to open them again
quickly, and when he looked at the rock it was untenanted--Johnston had
disappeared! Speechless with dread, he turned to the man nearest him, his
blanched countenance expressing the inquiry he could not utter.
"He's there," cried the man, pointing to the whirl of water behind the
body of logs. "He dived."
And so it was. Recognizing that to remain in the way of the jam was to
court certain death, the foreman chose the desperate alternative of
diving beneath the logs, and allowing them to pass over him before he
rose to the surface. Great was the relief of Frank and the others when,
amid the foaming water, Johnston's head appeared, and he struck out to
keep himself afloat. But it was evident that he had little strength left,
and was quite unable to contend with the mighty current. Good swimmer as
he was, the danger of drowning threatened him.
Frank's quick eyes noticed this, and like a flash the fearless boy, not
stopping to call any of the others to his aid, bounded down the bank to
where the _bonne_ lay upon the shore, shoved her off into deep water,
springing in over the bow as she slipped away, and in another moment was
whirling down the river, crying out at the top of his voice,--
"I'm coming! I'll save you! Keep up!"
His eager shouts reached Johnston's ears, and the sight of the boat,
pitching and tossing as the current swept it toward him, inspired him to
renewed exertion. He struggled to get in the way of the boat, and
succeeded so well that Frank, leaning over the side as far as he dared,
was able to seize his outstretched hand and hold it until he could grasp
the gunwale himself with a grip that no current could loosen. A glad
shout of relief went up from the men at sight of this, and Frank, having
made sure that the foreman was now out of danger, seized the oars and
began to ply them vigorously with the purpose of beaching the _bonne_ at
the first opportunity. They had to go some distance before this could be
done, but Johnston held on firmly, and presently a projecting point was
reached, against which Frank steered the boat; and the moment she was
aground, he hastened to the stern and helped the foreman ashore, the
latter having just strength enough left to drag himself out of the water
and fall in a limp, dripping heap upon the ground.
"God bless you, Frank dear," he said, as soon as he recovered his breath.
"You've saved my life again. I never could have got ashore if you hadn't
come after me. One of the logs must have hit me on the head when I was
diving, for I felt so faint and dizzy when I came up that I thought it
was all over with me. But, thank God, I'm a live man still; and I'm sure
it's not for nothing that I've been spared."
The men all thought it a plucky act on Frank's part to go off alone in
the boat to the foreman's rescue, and showered unstinted praise upon him;
all of which he took very quietly, for, indeed, he felt quite
sufficiently rewarded in that his venture was crowned with success. The
exciting incident of course threw everybody out in their work, and when
they returned to it they found that the logs had taken advantage of their
being left uncared for to play all sorts of queer pranks and run
themselves aground in every conceivable fashion.
But the river drivers did not mind this very much. The hated Black Rapids
were passed, and the rest of the Kippewa was comparatively smooth
sailing. So, with song and joke, they toiled away until all their charges
were afloat again and gliding steadily onward toward their goal.
Thenceforward they had little interruption in their course; and Frank
found the life wonderfully pleasant, drifting idly all day long in the
_bonne_, and camping at night beside the river, the weather being bright,
and warm, and delightful all the time.
So soon as the Kippewa rolled its burden of forest spoils out upon the
broad bosom of the Ottawa--the Grand River, as those who live beside its
batiks love to call it--the work of the river drivers was over. The logs
that had caused them so much trouble were now handed over to the care of
a company which gathered them up into "tows," and with powerful steamers
dragged them down the river until the sorting grounds were reached, where
they were turned into the "booms" to await their time for execution--in
other words, their sawing up.
Frank felt really sorry when the driving was over. He loved the water,
and would have been glad to spend the whole summer upon it. He was
telling Johnston this as they were talking together on the evening of the
last day upon the Kippewa. Johnston had been saying to him how glad he
must be that the work was all over, and that they now could go over to
the nearest village and take the stage for home. But Frank did not
entirely agree with him.
"I'm not anxious to go home by stage," said he. "I'd a good deal rather
stick to the river. I think it's just splendid, so long as the weather's
"Why, what a water-dog you are, Frank!" said the foreman, laughing. "One
would think you'd have had enough of the water by this time."
"Not a bit of it," said Frank, returning the smile. "The woods in winter,
and the water in summer--that's what I enjoy."
"Well, but aren't you in a hurry to get home and see your mother again?"
"Of course I am," answered Frank. "But, you see, a day or two won't make
much difference, for she doesn't know just when to look for me; and I've
never been on this part of the Ottawa, and want to see it ever so much."
"Well--let me see," reflected Johnston. "How can we manage it? You'd soon
get sick of the steamers. They're mortal slow and very dirty. Besides,
they don't encourage passengers, or they'd have too many of them. But
hold on!" he exclaimed, his face lighting up with a new idea. "I've got
it. How would you like to finish the rest of the trip home on a square
timber raft? There'll be one passing any day, and I know 'most all the
men in the business, so there'll be no difficulty about getting a
"The very idea!" cried Frank, jumping up and bringing his hand down upon
his thigh with a resounding slap. "Nothing would please me better. Oh,
what fun it will be shooting the slides!" And he danced about in delight
at the prospect.
"All right then, my lad," said Johnston, smiling at the boy's exuberance.
"We'll just wait here until a raft comes along, and then we'll board her
and ask the fellows to let us go down with them. They won't refuse."
They had not long to wait, for the very next day a huge raft hove in
sight--a real floating island of mighty timbers--and on going out to it
in the _bonne_, Johnston was glad to find that the foreman in charge was
an old friend who would be heartily pleased at having his company for the
rest of the voyage. So he and Frank brought their scanty baggage on
board, and joined themselves to the crew of men that, with the aid of a
towing steamer, were navigating this very strange kind of craft down the
This was an altogether novel experience for Frank, and he found it much
to his liking. The raft was an immense one.
"As fine a lot of square timber as I ever took down," said its captain
proudly. "It's worth five thousand pounds if it's worth a penny."
Five thousand pounds! Frank's eyes opened wide at the mention of this
vast sum, and he wondered to himself if he should ever be the owner of
such a valuable piece of property. Although he had begun as a chore-boy,
his ambition was by no means limited to his becoming in due time a
foreman like Johnston, or even an overseer like Alec Stewart. He allowed
his imagination to carry him forward to a day of still greater things,
when he should be his own master, and have foremen and overseers under
him. This slow sailing down the river was very favourable to day
dreaming, and Frank could indulge himself to his heart's content during
the long lovely spring days. There were more than twoscore men upon the
raft, the majority of them habitants and half-breeds, and they were as
full of songs as robins; especially in the evening after supper, when
they would gather about the great fire always burning on its clay bed in
the centre of the raft, and with solo and chorus awake the echoes of the
In common with the rivers which pour into it, the Ottawa is broken by
many falls and rapids, and to have attempted to run the huge raft over
one of these would have insured its complete destruction. But this
difficulty is duly provided for. At one side of the fall a "slide" is
built--that is, a contrivance something like a canal, with sides and
bottom of heavy timber, and having a steep slope down which the water
rushes in frantic haste to the level below. Now the raft is not put
together in one piece, but is made up of a number of "cribs"--a crib
being a small raft containing fifteen to twenty timbers, and being about
twenty-four feet wide by thirty feet in length. At the head of the slide
the big raft is separated into the cribs, and these cribs make the
descent one at a time, each having three or four men on board.
Shooting the slides, as it is called, is a most delightful amusement to
people whose nerves don't bother them. Frank had heard so much about it
that he was looking forward to it from the time he boarded the raft, and
now at Des Joachim Falls he was to have the realization. He went down in
one of the first cribs, and this is the way he described the experience
to his mother:--
"But, mother, the best fun of the whole thing is shooting the slides. I
just wish there was a slide near Calumet, so that I could take you down
and let you see how splendid it is. Why, it's just like--let me see--I've
got it! It's just like tobogganing on water. You jump on board the crib
at the mouth of the slide, you know, and it moves along very slowly at
first, until it gets to the edge of the first slant; then it takes a
sudden start, and away it goes shooting down like greased lightning,
making the water fly up all around you, just like the snow does when
you're tobogganing. Oh, but if it isn't grand! The timbers of the crib
rub against the bottom of the slide, and groan and creak as if it hurt
them. And then, besides coming in over the bow, the water spurts up
between the timbers, so that you have to look spry or you're bound to get
soaking wet. I got drenched nearly every time; but that didn't matter,
for the sun soon made me dry again, and it was too good fun to mind a
Frank felt quite sorry when the last of the slides was passed, and wished
there were twice as many on the route of the raft. But presently he had
something else to occupy his thoughts, for each day brought him nearer to
Calumet, and soon his journeyings by land and water would be ended, and
he would be at home again to make his mother's heart glad.
It was the perfection of a spring day when the raft, moving in its
leisurely fashion--for was not the whole summer before it?--reached
Calumet, and Mrs. Kingston, sitting alone in her cottage, and wondering
when her boy would make his appearance, was surprised by an unceremonious
opening of the front door, a quick step in the hall, and a sudden
enfolding by two stout arms, while a voice that she had not heard for
months shouted in joyous accents,--
"Here I am, mother darling, safe and sound, right side up with care, and
oh, so glad to be at home again!"
Mrs. Kingston returned the fond embrace with interest, and then held
Frank off at arms-length to see how much he had changed during his six
months' absence. She found him both taller and stouter, and with his face
well browned by the exposure to the bright spring sunshine.
"You went away a boy, and you've come back almost a man, Frank," she
said, her eyes brimming with tears of joy. "But you're my own boy the
same as ever; aren't you, darling?"
It was many a day before Frank reached the end of his story of life at
the lumber camp, for Mrs. Kingston never wearied of hearing all about it.
When she learned of his different escapes from danger, the inclination of
her heart was to beseech him to be content with one winter in the woods,
and to take up some other occupation. But she wisely said nothing, for
there could be no doubt as to the direction in which Frank's heart
inclined, and she determined not to interfere.
When in the following autumn Frank went back to the forest, he was again
under Johnston's command, but not as chore-boy. He was appointed clerk
and checker, with liberty to do as much chopping or other work as he
pleased. Whatever his duty was he did it with all his might, doing it
heartily as to the Lord and not unto men, so that he found increasing
favour in his employer's eyes, rising steadily higher and higher until,
while still a young man, he was admitted into partnership, and had the
sweet satisfaction of realizing the day dreams of that first trip down
the Ottawa on a timber raft.
Yet he never forgot what he had learned when chore-boy of Camp Kippewa,
and out of that experience grew a practical philanthropic interest in the
well-being and advancement of his employees, that made him the most
popular and respected "lumber-king" on the river.