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Duck Lake
Chapter VII. New Quarters

QUITE a while before Jonas and the young preacher arrived, Chubb had come back to his senses. Green was so curious about Chubb's experiences, and especially his quoting the Scripture, that, in spite of the boy’s illness, he made Chubb tell him, as well as he could, all that had happened.

When the two men entered Chubb’s face was bright, and the teacher was laughing heartily.

‘What is the matter now, Green?’ asked the young preacher.

‘Matter of unfulfilled prophecy, I fancy,’ said the teacher, rising to greet the preacher. ‘There is work here for all of us,’ he added; ‘Chubb has been trying to negotiate an introduction between Mrs. Bear and Mistress Cow, but the two came into conflict—as some females will—and so he is now laid up in consequence.’

‘No time for speech-making, Green. How did the bear catch Chubb?’ asked the preacher, pushing past the teacher.

‘Am I not trying to tell you?’ was Green’s laughing reply.

Jonas had told Mr. Hewitt that Chubb had been torn by an old she-bear, and that his face was as ‘hot as fire.’ So the preacher brought with him a roll of cotton for bandages, some ointment and quinine.

After administering some quinine, Hewitt soon had his coat off and sleeves rolled up for work. He removed the blood-soaked bandages, and cleansed the wounds. Seeing the shirt-cotton on the boy, the preacher glanced at the teacher’s throat, and, missing his shirt, realized what he had done.

‘No wonder you succeed with your pupils, Green!’ he said.

‘Why?’ asked the teacher, whose face was still wreathed with smiles.

‘A man who so readily sacrifices his shirt will—and deserves to—win the love of his pupils.’

‘Tut, man! there was no other bandage cloth around. But,’ he added, with a twinkle, ‘that wasn’t in the prophecy you taught, was it?’

‘What prophecy? Talk so that I can understand. You are an enigma to me to-day.

Here is a boy, one of your boys ’

‘And yours.’

‘And mine, nearly had his life torn out of him, and you stand laughing over him.’

‘And all because of prophecy!’

‘What prophecy?’

‘Well, be still, and I’ll tell you. Do you remember when you read Isaiah’s prophecy of the animals, at a Sunday morning service in the Pine Bluff schoolhouse?’

‘Yes; but what has that to do with Chubb?’

‘Pretty nearly everything just now. Do you remember Chubb telling you of the funny idea of Isaiah in saying that a bear and a cow should feed together?’

‘What? Do you mean that Chubb took that literally, and’

‘Yes, yes,’ said the teacher, laughing heartily.

Jonas was beginning to see a little of the fun, and also laughed in his quiet way.

'Here, you fellows, get out of this,' said the young preacher, rising from Chubb’s side, and motioning with his right hand, dripping with blood and water, to the exit.

‘How are Chubb’s wounds doing?’ asked the teacher, checking his laughter as he stepped up and looked over the boy.

‘There is nothing to fear,’ said the preacher, as he settled down again to his work, 'if Chubb has good care. Chubb is going to know more about Isaiah’s prophecy, and as my teaching caused Chubb to get hurt, I’ll take him to my home. So you and Jonas can make me a stretcher as quickly as you can.’

‘But I’ve got something to say in this,’ said the teacher.

‘Well, say it quickly.’

'You’ve got other work to do, and you cannot be always with Chubb.’

‘Do you want to take him to his home?’

‘Heaven forbid!’ said the teacher; ‘at least, not just yet. He’d die of dirt and neglect if he went just now.’

‘Jonas will help me nurse him.’

‘Jonas help, for sure.' said the Indian, stepping forward. ‘Jonas get fish, get duck, get nice things for Chubb to eat.’

‘Good for you, Jonas. That is practical, and we’ll need help that way.’

‘And you can count on me for all medicine and clothing that Chubb needs,’ said the teacher, ‘And I shall take the liberty of relieving you on Saturdays and Sundays.’

‘Then all is easy,’ said the preacher, ‘eh, Chubb?’

Chubb was a silent, patient, intent listener and observer of all that had passed. He did not understand why Mr. Green laughed so heartily, but he understood the preacher’s look at the teacher’s collarless throat, and he loved his teacher better than ever. Then Mr. Hewitt’s kindly touch almost hypnotized Chubb’s pain away, and he felt a resignation under him such as he had never had before.

As the teacher was going out with Jonas to make the stretcher, Chubb said—

‘Teacher, you’ll not tell on me?’

Green came back to the bedside. He told Mr. Hewitt of Chubb’s request not to make known his accident to his schoolmates or folks at home. After a little consultation the men told Chubb, to his great delight, that nothing less than a fatal turn in his illness would cause them to make known his accident Jonas got a couple of stout poles and lashed cross-pieces to them. A blanket fastened over these completed the stretcher. Then, by easy stages, Chubb was carried through the woods to the little log Parsonage.

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