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Duck Lake
Chapter XVIII. The New Day

'HORACE' said the Warden, ‘you go in and see if they are ready for us.’ Mr. Horace Fitzgerald needed no such instructions to enter the Parsonage, for he was impatiently striding ahead of his wife and cousin, eager to see his wounded friend.

‘Whatever have they done to you?’ said Horace, bursting into the house, and hastening to Mr. Hewitt’s bedside. ‘This is too bad.’

‘It is very good of you to come over and see me so soon.' said the young preacher, gratefully.

‘I am an advance guard to see if you are ready for visitors.' said Horace. ‘The Warden and my wife are here, while I saw Green and old man Miller coming through the bush.'

‘It’s a very untidy place.' said Hewitt, apologetically, casting his eyes around the room, filled with disorder after the events of the previous evening, ‘especially so for your wife, Mr. Fitzgerald.’

‘Jonas,’ he added, addressing his Indian friend, ‘clear away these breakfast things, like a good fellow.’

‘Well, they are here now,’ said Horace, as the Warden and Mrs. Horace came in, and, just behind them, the school teacher, accompanied by old John Miller, who had a big basket of good things on his arm.

‘Here now, young man,’ said the Warden, sternly addressing his cousin, ‘don’t you excite my patient.’

Then, taking the wrist of Mr. Hewitt’s well arm in his hand, he said—

‘How’s your pulse, eh? Beating like a trip hammer. We must attend to this at once.’

With a smile on her face and eyes full of tenderesL sympathy, Mrs. Horace came up beside Mr. Hewitt.

‘These awful men, Mr. Hewitt, what next will they be trying to do to you?’

‘The missus sent a bit of bread and a chicken over to you,’ put in John Miller, coming up beside Mrs. Fitzgerald.

The young man’s words of thanks and other conversation with Mrs. Horace and Mr. Miller were drowned by the Warden’s peremptory orders.

‘Jonas.' he said, ‘bring some hot water. Mary, get out your bandages and medicines. We must ’tend to our patients, Mr. Miller. We cannot talk much just now.’

So the Warden ruled, and the others were willing to obey.

Mrs. Horace proved an excellent nurse, and ‘Father Miller,’ as the young preacher styled him, seconded her efforts bravely. With their assistance, the Warden soon re-dressed the wounded shoulder.

The teacher took Horace out to the barn and showed him the red cow, the valiant conqueror, and her calf and the cub, and entertained him with a racy account of the exploits of Chubb in school, hunt-lodge, and in the woods. Horace commended the teacher for the manner in which he played chore-boy. Then Jonas relieved him, as he had to hasten to his school.

Having finished his work on Mr. Hewitt, the Warden, with his assistants, gave Chubb a thorough overhauling. The shock from his dousing and beating had been severe, and great welts stood out where he had been so cruelly struck. These called out many expressions of sympathy with the boy on the part of Mrs. Fitzgerald and Mr. Miller, while the Warden denounced the brutality of the father. Still, the night’s rest, the breakfast that Jonas had given him of fish and broiled partridges, with his happy spirits, had helped him wonderfully, and he declared that he was ready to get up. This, however, the Warden strictly forbade. So, after a warm bath, Chubb’s bruises were anointed with liniment, and he was again stowed away beside Mr. Hewitt.

These duties performed, and the blinds drawn, the Warden and Mr. Miller went outside, while Mrs. Horace, whose housewifely heart had been pained with the disorder that reigned in the Parsonage, quietly and bravely attacked the chaos.

As the Warden and Mr. Miller left the house they met Farley and Woods. These men had heard of the shooting of their pastor, and had come to see the extent of the injury, and what could be done.

‘And you let More go home in peace?' said Woods to the Warden, after the formal greeting was over, and inquiries about the health of Mr. Hewitt and Chubb were answered. 'You should have tied him to a tree until we arrived. The brute ought to have been lynched!’

‘I wanted to have him arrested; but Hewitt wouldn’t hear of it,’ replied the Warden.

‘There’s another spirit besides whisky, Woods,’ remarked Mr. Miller, addressing the former speaker; but in a very different tone he added: ‘But tell us, how’s your Maggie?’

‘Much better, thank you.’

‘Miller,’ said the Warden, ‘you people have no respect for the laws of your country.’

‘Ay, ay, we have, as a last resort. We are to try the law of God, the law of love, first. It’s much better. If we Christians had always the spirit of Christ, there’s none that could withstand us. Trouble is whisky and self; pride and hate get in, and the devil makes merry over our a-jawin’ and a-jailin’ of each other. It does mighty little good, I can tell you. There’s Dave Dodge. He’s been to jail half a dozen times, and he comes home madder and worser than he ever was before. He is only slyer and slicker in his work, and gets it back hard on those that helped to send him down. That’s the devil’s way. I’m with Mr. Hewitt.’

‘You won’t be troubled with Dodge any more,’ declared the Warden.

‘How’s that?’ asked Miller.

'I’ve ordered him to leave the country.’


'Within a week.'

‘Poor man! where’ll he go to at his time of life? I must see my wife about him. He killed three sheep and two cows because I testified against him once, and burned my barn because I sent him down again. I’ve not properly forgiven him, and I must see him again before he leaves. Poor man, where’ll he go to? and him an old man now!’

‘The old villain!’ said the Warden, emphatically. ‘Why, Miller, you ought to send him to jail for life for burning your barn.’

‘Nay, nay. That’s not the right spirit, Mr. Fitzgerald. I thought that way once; but I’ve another spirit now. It is better to carry, and it keeps one sweeter, whatever else it does. You’d better try it, my friend;’ and the old man looked very kindly into the Warden’s face.

‘Then I’d have to give up my job,’ said the Warden, straightening up, and trying to smile.

'And there are better.' was the sententious reply.

‘Well, we’ll see about it later, Miller, though you are the bravest man that I have met.’

‘Whatever are you men up to?’ said the Warden, turning abruptly, and addressing his cousin and Jonas.

‘Want to see the development of prophecy' replied Horace, almost breathless, as he endeavoured to hold on to a lively young calf. Jonas was leading another animal, which was almost as determined not to follow as the other was to break away from its captor. The men, however, succeeded in bringing the two animals near each other. The cub, which Jonas had brought out, at first curled himself up like a ball of fur on the ground. With a rush the calf jumped over the cub, and nearly jerked the rope out of Horace’s hand. Then it came back on the lee side of the bear, and with a sniff and snort gave his bearship a bunt in the ribs. This caused Master Bruin to straighten himself out and lose his bashfulness. When the calf came up the second time he received a cuff on the side of the head that gave him ever after greater respect for the cub. Still he bunted and jumped, and the bear boxed and danced around until they were both tired, and the spectators were almost sore from laughing at the antics of the pair. Then the calf laid himself down, and the cub curled up quietly beside him.

‘Chubb must see this,’ said Horace; and he ran into the house. Picking Chubb up, he wrapped a blanket around him, and brought him out.

'Look at this, my boy' said he. ‘If the old ones won’t be good and do right, the young ones will lie down in peace.’

Chubb’s eyes sparkled with delight.

‘Bless the boy!’ said John Miller; 'he likes to see this peaceful scene as much as we enjoyed their wrestling. A little child shall lead them.'

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