A Little Maid of Ticonderoga
ALICE TURNER CURTIS
"A LITTLE MAID OF PROVINCE TOWN" "A LITTLE MAID OF MASSACHUSETTS COLONY" "A LITTLE MAID OF NARRAGANSETT BAY" "A LITTLE MAID OF BUNKER HILL" "A LITTLE MAID OF OLD CONNECTICUT" "A LITTLE MAID OF OLD PHILADELPHIA" "A LITTLE MAID OF OLD MAINE" "A LITTLE MAID OF OLD NEW YORK" "A LITTLE MAID OF VIRGINIA"
ILLUSTRATED BY WUANITA SMITH
THE PENN PUBLISHING COMPANY PHILADELPHIA
COPYRIGHT 1917 BY THE PENN PUBLISHING COMPANY
A Little Maid of Ticonderoga
This is the story of a little girl whose home was among the Green Mountains of Vermont, then known as "The Wilderness," at the beginning of the American Revolution; and at the time when Ethan Allen and his brave soldiers were on guard to defend their rights. Ethan Allen was the friend of Faith, the heroine of the story, whose earnest wish to be of help is fulfilled. She journeys from her Wilderness home across Lake Champlain to Ticonderoga, and spends a winter with her aunt and cousin near Fort Ticonderoga. Here she learns a secret about the fort that is of importance later to Ethan Allen's "Green Mountain Boys."
There are two very interesting bears in this story. Like the earlier volumes of this series, "A Little Maid of Province Town," "A Little Maid of Massachusetts Colony," "A Little Maid of Narragansett Bay," and "A Little Maid of Bunker Hill"—the present volume introduces the heroes of American history and tells of famous deeds and places of which all American children should know.
I. ESTHER AND BRUIN 9 II. FAITH MAKES A PROMISE 22 III. MORE MISCHIEF 33 IV. A NEW PLAN 42 V. KASHAQUA 51 VI. THE JOURNEY 59 VII. NEW FRIENDS 70 VIII. THE SHOEMAKER'S DAUGHTER 81 IX. LOUISE 90 X. THE MAJOR'S DAUGHTERS 100 XI. A DAY OF ADVENTURE 110 XII. SECRETS 119 XIII. LOUISE MAKES A PRESENT 129 XIV. A BIRTHDAY 140 XV. NEW ADVENTURES 150 XVI. LOUISE DISAPPEARS 161 XVII. FAITH AGAIN VISITS THE FORT 172 XVIII. HOME AGAIN 184 XIX. FAITH WRITES A LETTER 194 XX. THE CAPTURE OF THE FORT 208
A Little Maid of Ticonderoga
ESTHER AND BRUIN
Faith Carew was ten years old when Esther Eldridge came to visit her. Faith lived in a big comfortable log cabin on one of the sloping hillsides of the Green Mountains. Below the cabin was her father's mill; and to Faith it always seemed as if the mill-stream had a gay little song of its own. She always listened for it when she awoke each morning.
"I wonder if Esther will hear what the brook sings?" thought Faith as she drew on her moccasin slippers and dressed as quickly as she could, for her mother had already called her twice, and Faith had just reached the top of the stairs when the third call of, "Faith! Faith! I shall not keep your porridge hot another instant," sounded from the kitchen.
"I'm coming, mother dear," the little girl called back, and hurried down the stairs, wondering to herself why grown people who could always do exactly as they pleased should think it best to rise before the sun was really up.
"Your father was off to the mill an hour ago," said Mrs. Carew, setting a bowl of steaming porridge on the end of the table beside a narrow window, "so you will have to eat your porridge alone."
Faith sat down at the table, looking out through the open window toward the mill.
"I do hope Esther Eldridge and her father will come to-day," she said. "Do you think they will, mother dear?"
"Yes, child; they will probably arrive before sunset. Your father expected them yesterday. It will be a fine thing for you to have a little girl for a companion. But she is a village child, and may not be happy in the Wilderness," responded Mrs. Carew.
"Why, of course she will like being here! Just think, she has never seen wheat ground into flour! And she can see that in our mill; and she has always walked on real roads, and here she will not even see a road; and I know many pleasant paths where we can walk, and I can tell her the names of different trees and flowers. I'm sure she will think the Wilderness a fine place," said Faith, nodding her head so that her yellow curls seemed to dance about her face.
"I hope they make the journey from Brandon safely. Your father has been told that the Indians have been troublesome to the settlers near Lake Dunmore; and besides that, there are many bears coming out into the clearings these fine autumn days. But Mr. Eldridge is a good shot, and I am seeking trouble in naming Indians or bears. Finish your breakfast, Faithie, and run to the garden and bring me in the ripest of the pumpkins; for I must make some cakes for our company."
The Carews lived in a log house on a slope of cleared ground running down to the mill-stream. There were no roads, only rough trails, and they had no near neighbors. Faith's father had a large grant of land, a "New Hampshire Grant," it was called, which ran toward the eastern shore of Lake Champlain. Faith had no playmates, and when Mr. Eldridge, of the town of Brandon, had sent word that he was coming to see Mr. Carew on business and would bring his small daughter with him, Faith had been overjoyed and had made many plans of what she would do to entertain her visitor.
Faith finished her breakfast, and helped her mother clear the table and wash the dishes, and then went up the slope to where a number of fine pumpkins and squashes, growing among the corn, were ripening in the early September sunshine. She looked about carefully, and selected a yellow pumpkin. "This is about as large as my head," she said aloud, "and I guess it is about the same color," and she ran back to the house carrying the pumpkin, which Mrs. Carew set to bake in the brick oven beside the fireplace.
"When it is baked may I fix the shell for a work-basket for Esther?" asked Faith.
"Yes, indeed," answered Mrs. Carew smilingly. "Your Aunt Prissy was greatly pleased with the one you gave her when she visited here last autumn."
"I wish I could go to Ticonderoga and visit Aunt Prissy," said Faith.
"Why, so you shall some day. But 'tis a troublesome journey, since one must be set across the strait," replied her mother. "But look, child! Can it be that Mr. Eldridge has arrived at this early hour?"
"Yes, indeed. I see his little girl! Look, mother! Father has lifted her down from the horse; and Mr. Eldridge is walking, too! Oh, mother! See the fine hat she has on!" and Faith ran to the open door to get a better look at the little girl who was walking so slowly up the path to the log house.
In a moment the little girl looked up toward the open door and Faith waved her hand.
"She didn't wave back, mother dear," exclaimed Faith, and then the travelers were close at hand, and Mrs. Carew was greeting the tall, grave-faced man and welcoming Esther.
"My little girl was so tired that we stopped for the night at your neighbor Stanley's house, five miles east," said Mr. Eldridge; "and that is why we are in good season this morning."
While Mr. Eldridge was speaking Esther held fast to her father's hand, her large black eyes fixed on Mrs. Carew. Faith looked at her admiringly, wishing that her own eyes were black, and that her feet were small like Esther's, and that she had a hat with a wide scarlet ribbon.
"Esther, this is Faith," she heard her mother say, "and she will try and make you so happy here that you will wish to stay all winter."
The two little girls smiled shyly, and Esther let go her clasp on her father's hand and followed Mrs. Carew into the pleasant kitchen. Faith watched her eagerly; she wondered why Esther looked about the big room with such a curious expression. "Almost as if she did not like it," thought Faith.
The little gray kitten came bouncing out from behind the big wood-box and Esther gave a startled exclamation.
"It's just 'Bounce,'" said Faith, picking up the kitten and smoothing its pretty head. "I named it 'Bounce' because it never seems to walk. It just bounces along."
Esther smiled again, but she did not speak. Faith noticed that she was very thin, and that her hands looked almost like little brown shadows.
"Are you tired?" she asked, suddenly remembering that she had heard her father say that "Mr. Eldridge's little maid was not well, and he thought the change would do her good."
Esther nodded. "Yes, I'm always tired," she answered, sitting down in the low wooden rocker beside the light stand.
"For pity's sake, child, we must see to it that you are soon as strong and well as Faith," said Mrs. Carew, untying the broad scarlet ribbon and taking off Esther's hat. She smoothed back the dark hair with a tender hand, remembering that Esther's own mother was not well, and resolving to do her best for this delicate child.
"I think the pumpkin is cooked by this time, Faithie. I'll set it in the window to cool and then you can take out the pulp and I'll make the cakes," said Mrs. Carew.
Bounce jumped up in Esther's lap, and Faith sat down on the braided rug beside her.
"I'm going to make the pumpkin shell into a work-basket for you," said Faith. "Did you ever see a pumpkin-shell work-basket?"
Esther shook her head. She did not seem much interested. But she asked eagerly: "Are the pumpkin cakes sweet?"
"Yes, indeed. You shall have one as soon as they are baked; may she not, mother dear?"
"Why, yes; only if Esther is not well it may not be wise for her to eat between meals," responded Mrs. Carew.
"Oh! But I eat cakes whenever I want them," declared Esther, "and I love sweets. I had a fine cake when I left home and I ate it all before we got to Lake Dunmore."
Mrs. Carew thought to herself that she did not wonder Esther was always tired and not strong. Esther did not say that the "fine cake" had been sent as a gift to Faith. But her face flushed a little, and she added, "I meant to bring the cake as a present; but I was hungry."
"Of course you were," agreed Faith quickly. "Is not the pumpkin cool enough to cut, mother dear?" asked Faith.
"Yes," replied her mother, setting the yellow pumpkin on the table.
"Come and see me do it, Esther," said Faith, and Esther, with a little sigh, left the comfortable chair and came and leaned against the table.
With a sharp knife Faith cut a circle about the stem of the pumpkin and took it off, a little round, with the stem in the center. "That will be the work-box cover," she explained, laying it carefully on a wooden plate. Then she removed the seeds and the pulp, putting the pulp in a big yellow bowl, and scraping the inside of the pumpkin shell. "There! Now when it dries a bit 'twill be a fine work-box, and it is for you, Esther," she said; but Esther was watching Mrs. Carew, who was beating up eggs with the pumpkin pulp.
"Do you put spices in the cakes?" she questioned eagerly. "How long before they will be baked?"
Faith stood holding the yellow pumpkin shell, and looking at her visitor wonderingly.
"All she cares about is something to eat," thought Faith, a little scornfully, setting the fine pumpkin shell on the table.
Esther's face brightened as she listened to Mrs. Carew's description of pumpkin cakes, and of pumpkin pies sweetened with maple syrup.
"I think I must teach you to cook, Esther. I am sure you would soon learn," said Mrs. Carew.
"I guess I wouldn't be strong enough," responded Esther in a listless tone, going back to the rocking-chair, without even a glance at Faith's present.
"Come, Esther, let's go down to the mill. I'll show you the big wheel, and how father raises the water-gate," suggested Faith, who was beginning to think that a visitor was not such a delightful thing, after all.
Esther left her chair with a regretful sigh, and followed Faith out-of-doors.
"Listen!" said Faith. "That rippling, singing noise is the brook."
Esther laughed. "You're funny," she said. "Why should I listen to a noisy old mill-stream?"
"I thought perhaps you'd like to hear it. I do. Sometimes, just as I go to sleep, I hear it singing about the stars, and about little foxes who come down to drink, and about birds...." Faith stopped suddenly, for Esther was laughing; and as Faith turned to look at her she realized that Esther cared nothing about the music of the stream.
"I do believe you are silly," Esther responded. "Do you think your mother will bake the cakes and pies while we are away?"
"Yes," replied Faith dully. Only that morning she had said to herself how nice it would be to have a girl friend to talk with, but if Esther thought she was "silly"—why, of course, she must not talk. "I'll let her talk," resolved Faith.
For a few moments the two little girls walked on in silence, then Esther said suddenly: "Does your mother ever let you boil down maple molasses for candy?"
"Sometimes," replied Faith.
Esther slipped her little brown hand under Faith's arm. "Ask her to let us make candy this afternoon. Do. Tell her it will keep me from being lonesome. For my father will be going to Ticonderoga as soon as dinner is over; he will be gone for days. Will you ask her, Faith?"
"Yes, I'll ask her," Faith answered.
"I know I'm going to have a fine visit," declared Esther, with more interest than she had shown since her arrival. "Does your mother ever bake little pies, in saucers, for you?"
"No," said Faith, still resolved to say no more than was necessary.
"Oh! Doesn't she? That's too bad. I wish I had asked her to. Then we could play keep-house in the afternoon, and have the pies to eat. Will your mother make pies again to-morrow?"
"I don't know," said Faith.
Esther did not care much about the mill. She hardly glanced at the big water-wheel, and was eager to get back to the house. Several times she reminded Faith of her promise about the maple candy. Faith had expected that she and Esther would be the best of friends, but the time before dinner seemed very long to both the children.
Soon after dinner Mr. Eldridge went on his way. He left his horse in Mr. Carew's care, as he was to walk to the shore of Lake Champlain and trust to good fortune to find a canoe or boat in which he could cross the narrow strait to Ticonderoga. He would not return for a week, and he seemed greatly pleased that his little daughter was so contented to be left with her new friends.
"She is an only child, like your own little maid," he said to Mrs. Carew, "and I am glad they are to be friends."
They all walked down the slope with him, and watched him striding off along the rough path.
"He's going to fetch me some rock-candy," said Esther as they turned back to the house.
Mrs. Carew stopped at the mill, and the two little girls went back to the house.
"We'll make the maple candy now, shan't we?" said Esther, as they reached the kitchen door. "See, the kettle is all clean, and I know where the molasses jug is," and before Faith could remind her that she had not yet asked permission, Esther was dragging the heavy jug from the pantry.
"Oh, look out, Esther. You'll spill it," cautioned Faith, running to help her.
"No, I won't. Here, help me turn it into the kettle and get it over the fire before your mother comes back," urged Esther, and the two girls lifted the jug and turned the maple syrup into the kettle. "There, that will make a lot of candy," said Esther. "You stir up the fire and put on more wood."
Faith obeyed. She hardly knew what else she could do, although she was sure that her mother would not want them to use all the syrup for candy. As she piled on the wood, she heard a scrambling noise at the door, and a sudden scream from Esther: "Faith! Faith! A bear! A bear!" and looking over her shoulder she saw a big brown bear coming in through the kitchen door.
FAITH MAKES A PROMISE
For a second Faith was too frightened to move. Then pulling one of the newly kindled sticks from the fire she hurled it at the big creature and ran for the stairs, up which Esther was already hurrying.
The flaming brand halted the bear for a second only, but the little girls had reached the upper floor before he was well into the kitchen, and, sniffing the molasses, he turned toward the empty jug and the full kettle.
"What shall we do? What shall we do?" sobbed Esther. "He will come up here and eat us. I know he will."
"We must get out of the window and run to the mill," whispered Faith. "We mustn't wait a minute, for mother dear may be on her way to the house. Come," and she pushed Esther before her toward the window. "Here, just take hold and swing yourself down," she said.
"I can't, oh, I can't," sobbed Esther.
"You must. I'll go first, then;" and in a moment Faith was swinging from the windowsill, had dropped to the ground, and was speeding down the path to the mill, while Esther, frightened and helpless, leaned out screaming at the top of her voice.
Mrs. Carew was just leaving the mill when she saw Faith racing toward her. "A bear! A bear in our kitchen," she called.
"Hugh!" called Mrs. Carew, and Mr. Carew came running from the mill to hear the story.
"It's lucky I keep a musket at the mill," he said. "Here, you take Faith into the mill and fasten the door on the inside. I'll attend to the bear," and he was off, racing toward the house, while Mrs. Carew hurried Faith into the mill and shut the heavy door.
"I do hope Esther will stay in the chamber until your father gets there," said Mrs. Carew anxiously. "I do not believe the bear will venture up the stairs."
"He was after the syrup," said Faith, "and if he tried the stairs Esther could drop out of the window."
It was not long before they heard the loud report of the musket.
"Mayn't we open the door now, mother dear?" asked Faith.
"Not yet, Faithie. We'll wait a little," and Faith realized that her mother's arm trembled as she drew the girl to her side.
There was silence for what seemed a very long time to Mrs. Carew and Faith, and then they heard Mr. Carew calling; "All right, open the door. Here is Esther safe and sound."
Esther, sobbing and trembling, clung to Mrs. Carew, and Faith held tight to her father's hand while he told the story. The bear, with his nose in the kettle of syrup, had not even heard Mr. Carew's approach, and had been an easy mark.
"You'll find your kitchen in a sad state, Lucy," said Mr. Carew, as he finished. "I have dragged the bear outside, and he will furnish us some fine steaks, and a good skin for a rug; but your kettle of syrup is all over the floor."
"Kettle of syrup?" questioned Mrs. Carew. "Why, there was no kettle of syrup." Neither of the little girls offered any explanation. Mr. Carew looked about the clearing to see if any other bear was in the neighborhood, but it was evident that the creature had come alone.
"'Tis not often they are so bold," said Mr. Carew, as they neared the cabin, "although last year an old bear and two cubs came down by the mill, but they were off before I could get a shot at them."
Mrs. Carew looked about her kitchen with a little feeling of dismay. The kettle had been overturned, and what syrup the bear had not eaten was smeared over the hearth and floor. The little rocking-chair was tipped over and broken, and everything was in disorder.
Esther looked into the kitchen, but Mrs. Carew cautioned her not to enter. "You and Faith go to the front door and go into the sitting-room," she said. "There is nothing that either of you can do to help;" so Faith led the way and pushed open the heavy door which led directly into a big comfortable room. The lower floor of the cabin was divided into two rooms, the sitting-room and kitchen, and over these were two comfortable chambers. The stairs led up from the kitchen.
Faith thought the sitting-room a very fine place. There was a big fireplace on one side of the room, and the walls were ceiled, or paneled, with pine boards. On one side of the fireplace was a broad wooden settle, covered with a number of fur robes, and several big cushions. Between the two front windows stood a table of dark wood, and on the table were two tall brass candlesticks. A small narrow gilt-framed mirror hung over the table.
There were several strongly-made comfortable wooden chairs with cushions. The floor was of pine, like the ceiled walls, and was now a golden brown in color. There were several bearskin rugs on the floor, for Mr. Carew, like all the men of the "Wilderness," was a hunter; and when not busy in his mill or garden was off in the woods after deer, or wild partridge, or larger game, as these fine skins proved.
"What a funny room," exclaimed Esther, with a little giggle. "Our sitting-room has beautiful paper on the walls, and we have pictures, and a fine carpet on the floor. What are you going to tell your mother about that maple syrup?" she concluded sharply.
"I don't know," responded Faith.
"Well, don't tell her anything," suggested Esther.
"I guess that I shall have to tell her," said Faith.
"You mean about me? That I teased you to make candy? Well, if you do that I'll get my father to take me home with him instead of staying until he comes next month," declared Esther.
"I shan't tell anything about you," answered Faith.
Esther looked at her a little doubtfully.
"Of course I shan't," repeated Faith. "You are my company. No matter what you did I wouldn't talk about it. Why, even the Indians treat visitors politely, and give them the best they have, and that's what I shall do," and Faith stood very straight and looked at Esther very seriously.
"Truly? Truly? What is the 'best' you have? And when will you give it to me?" demanded Esther, coming close to her and clasping her arm. "Is it beads? Oh! I do hope it is beads! And you can't back out after what you have said," and Esther jumped up and down in delight at the thought of a possible string of fine beads.
For a moment it seemed as if Faith would burst into tears. She had meant to tell Esther that she would do her best to be kind and polite to her because Esther was a guest, and now Esther was demanding that Faith should do exactly as she had promised and give her "the best she had." And it happened that Faith's dearest possession was a string of fine beads. Aunt Priscilla Scott, who lived in Ticonderoga, had brought them as a gift on her last visit. They were beautiful blue beads,—like the sky on a June day,—and Faith wore them only on Sundays. They were in a pretty little wooden box in the sitting-room closet.
Suddenly Esther let go of Faith's arm. "I knew you didn't mean it," she said scornfully.
Faith made no reply. She walked across the room and pushed a brass knob set in one of the panels. The panel opened, and there was a closet. The little wooden box that held the beads was on the middle shelf. Faith took it up, closed the door, and turned toward Esther.
"Here! This is the best thing I have in all the world, the prettiest and the dearest. And it is beads. Take them," and she thrust the box into Esther's eager hands and ran out of the room. She forgot the dead bear, the wasted syrup, the danger and fright of so short a time ago; all she could think of was to get away from Esther Eldridge.
She ran across the clearing and along a narrow path that circled behind the mill into the woods. She ran on and on until she could no longer hear the sound of the brook, and the path began to grow rocky and difficult. Then, tired and almost breathless, Faith sat down on a big rock and looked about her. For a few moments she could think of nothing but her lost beads, and of the disagreeable visitor. Then gradually she realized that she had never before been so far along this rough path. All about her rose huge, towering pines. Looking ahead the path seemed to end in a dense thicket. She heard the rustle of some little forest animal as it moved through the vines behind her, and the call of birds near at hand. Faith began to recall the happenings of the morning: the excitement of Esther's arrival, the sudden appearance of the bear in the kitchen doorway, her terror lest her mother should come before she could be warned; and then, again, Esther and the loss of her beads. She began to cry. She felt very tired and unhappy. She felt Esther was to blame for everything, even for the appearance of the bear. Never before had a bear dared come to the house. Faith leaned back against a friendly tree with a tired little sigh. She would rest, and then go home, she thought, and closed her eyes.
When she awoke, she thought she must still be dreaming; for, standing a little way down the path, was a tall man leaning on a musket. He wore a flannel blouse, and his homespun trousers were tucked into high leathern gaiters.
The man smiled and nodded. "Do not be frightened, little maid," he said in a friendly voice. "I did not want to leave you here in the woods until I was sure that you could make your way home. Are you Miller Carew's little girl?"
"Yes, sir," answered Faith, wondering who this tall, dark-eyed man, who knew her father, could be, and then adding, "My name is Faith."
The tall man smiled again, and took off his leather cap.
"My name is Ethan Allen," he responded; "it may be that you have heard your father speak of me."
"Yes, sir! You are a Green Mountain Boy; and you help the settlers to keep their 'Grants,'" Faith replied quickly; for she had often heard her father and mother speak of the trouble the settlers were having to prove their titles to land taken under the "New Hampshire Grants," and she remembered hearing her father say that Ethan Allen would help any man defend his rights. She wished that she could tell him all about Esther Eldridge and the blue beads, but she remembered her promise. "I guess there are times when people don't have any rights," she decided, and was quite unconscious that she had spoken aloud until she heard her companion say very clearly:
"There can never be such a time as that. People would be slaves indeed not to uphold their just and rightful claims. But why is a small maid like yourself troubling about 'rights'?"
"I have company at my house——" began Faith.
"I see, I see!" interrupted Colonel Allen. "Of course you have to let the guest do whatever she pleases," and he smiled and nodded, as if he understood all about it. "And now we had best start toward your father's mill, for it is well toward sunset."
"Sunset? Have I slept all the afternoon!" exclaimed Faith, jumping up.
As they walked down the path Ethan Allen asked Faith many questions about the people who came along the trail from the settlements on their way to Lake Champlain.
When they reached the clearing where the mill stood Faith's father and mother came running to meet them. They welcomed Mr. Allen, and said that they had been sadly worried about Faith. "But where is Esther?" asked Mrs. Carew. "Is she not with you, Faith?"
"I left her in the sitting-room, hours ago!" answered the little girl.
"'Hours ago,'" repeated Mrs. Carew. "Why, dear child, it is only an hour since Esther came up from the mill with the dishes."
Faith looked so bewildered that her mother exclaimed: "Why, child! Have you forgotten that you and Esther had your dinner at the mill?"
"But I did not have any dinner," declared Faith. "It was not dinner time when I ran off and left Esther in the sitting-room. I——" and then Faith stopped suddenly. She resolved that she would not tell her mother that she had given Esther the blue beads,—not until Esther was found.
"Well, I declare. Esther came into the kitchen just as I was preparing dinner, and asked if you girls could not have a picnic dinner at the mill, and I was well pleased to let you. I put some cold meat and bread, a good half of pumpkin pie and some of the pumpkin cakes in a basket, and gave her a pitcher of milk, and off she went. An hour ago she came in to ask for a lunch and I gave her a good piece of molasses cake. Your father was busy skinning the bear, and we gave but little thought to you children. But when I called your name, and found neither of you at the mill, I became alarmed. But where can Esther be now?" concluded Mrs. Carew, looking anxiously about the clearing.
"Go back to the house with Faith and give the child something to eat. Colonel Allen and I will search the mill again," said Mr. Carew.
"I'm tired," said Faith, as they reached the house, "and I don't like Esther."
"Hush, Faithie. She is your guest. And if she has wandered into any harm or danger I do not know what we can say to Mr. Eldridge," responded her mother; "but I do not understand about the food," she added, half to herself, wondering if Esther could really have eaten it all.
Faith looked about the kitchen. "It looks just the same. Just as if the bear had not come in," she said.
Mrs. Carew brought her a bowl of milk and a plate of corn bread, and another plate with two of the pumpkin cakes.
"I'll run back to the mill while you eat your supper, Faithie, and see if Esther has been found. When I come back you must tell me what you were turning syrup into the kettle for."
Faith was hungry, but as she ate her bread and milk she felt very unhappy. She remembered her promise to Esther not to tell Mrs. Carew about the syrup.
"I don't know what I shall do," she said aloud. "I guess I'll go and rest on the settle until mother dear comes," so she opened the door and entered the sitting-room. As she lay back among the cushions of the settle she heard a faint noise from the further side of the room. "I guess it's 'Bounce,'" she thought.
Then the noise came again: "Gr-r-r! Gr-rrr!" Faith sat up quickly. She wondered if another bear had made its way into the house. The big black bearskin rug in front of the table was moving; it was standing up, and coming toward the settle.
"It's you, Esther Eldridge! You can't frighten me," said Faith, and Esther dropped the rug from her shoulders and came running toward the settle. Her black eyes were dancing, and she was laughing.
"Oh! I've had the greatest fun! I ate all your dinner, and I hid under that bearskin and your mother and father hunted everywhere for me. Where have you been?" concluded Esther, looking down at Faith. The little girls did not notice that, just as Esther began speaking, Mrs. Carew had opened the sitting-room door.
"I've been way off in the woods, and my mother has asked me to tell her about the maple syrup," replied Faith accusingly.
Both the girls gave an exclamation of surprise at the sound of Mrs. Carew's voice. "You may go to the mill and tell Mr. Carew that you are safe, and then come directly back," she said a little sternly, and stood by the door until Esther was on her way. Then she crossed over to the settle and sat down beside Faith.
"I will not ask you about the syrup, Faithie dear," she said, smoothing Faith's ruffled hair. "And you had best go up-stairs to bed. I will have a talk with Esther, and then she will go to bed. It has been a difficult day, has it not, child? But to-morrow I trust everything will go pleasantly, without bears or trouble of any sort."
"But Esther will be here," said Faith.
"Never mind; I think Esther has made mischief enough to-day to last all her visit," responded Mrs. Carew; and Faith, very tired, and greatly comforted, went up to her pleasant chamber which Esther was to share. She wondered to herself just what her mother would say to Esther. But she did not stay long awake, and when Esther came up-stairs shortly after, very quietly, and feeling rather ashamed of herself after listening to Mrs. Carew, Faith was fast asleep.
But Esther did not go to sleep. She wondered to herself what her father would say if Mrs. Carew told him of her mischief, and began to wish that she had not deceived Mrs. Carew about the dinner. She could feel her face flush in the darkness when she remembered what Mrs. Carew had said to her about truthfulness. Esther's head ached, and she felt as if she was going to be ill. Down-stairs she could hear the murmur of voices. Ethan Allen would sleep on the settle, and be off at an early hour the next morning. It seemed a long time before the voices ceased, and she heard Mr. and Mrs. Carew come up the stairs. Esther began to wish that she had not eaten the fine pumpkin pie and all the cakes. It was nearly morning before she fell asleep, and she was awake when Faith first opened her eyes.
"It's time to get up. It always is the minute I wake up," said Faith sleepily.
Esther answered with a sudden moan: "I can't get up. I'm sick," she whispered.
Faith sat up in bed and looked at Esther a little doubtfully. But Esther's flushed face and the dark shadows under her eyes proved that she spoke the truth.
"I'll tell mother. Don't cry, Esther. Mother will make you well before you know it," said Faith, quickly slipping out of bed and running into the little passage at the head of the stairs.
In a few moments Mrs. Carew was standing beside the bed. She said to herself that she did not wonder that Esther was ill. But while Faith dressed and got ready for breakfast Mrs. Carew smoothed out the tumbled bed, freshened the pillows and comforted their little visitor.
"Run down and eat your porridge, Faithie, and then come back and sit with Esther," said Mrs. Carew.
When Faith returned Mrs. Carew went down and brewed some bitter herbs and brought the tea for Esther to drink. The little girl swallowed the unpleasant drink, and shortly after was sound asleep. She had not awakened at dinner time, and Mrs. Carew was sure that she would sleep off her illness.
"The child must be taught not to crave sweet foods," she said, as she told Faith to run down to the mill and amuse herself as she pleased. "Only don't go out of sight of the mill, Faithie," she cautioned, and Faith promised and ran happily off down the path. She was eager to ask her father about Mr. Ethan Allen.
Mr. Carew was busy grinding wheat. There were few mills in the Wilderness, and nearly every day until midwinter settlers were coming and going from the mill, bringing bags of wheat or corn on horseback over the rough trail and carrying back flour or meal. When Mr. Carew had tied up the bag of meal and his customer had ridden away, he came to where Faith was sitting close by the open door and sat down beside her.
"Why do you call Mr. Allen a 'Green Mountain Boy'?" asked the little girl, after she had answered his questions about Esther; "he is a big man."
Mr. Carew smiled down at Faith's eager face, and then pointed to the green wooded hills beyond the clearing. "It's because he, and other men of these parts, are like those green hills,—strong, and sufficient to themselves," he answered. "Every settler in the Wilderness knows that Ethan Allen will help them protect their homes; and no man knows this part of the country better than Colonel Allen."
"Why do you call him 'Colonel'?" asked Faith.
"Because the Bennington people have given him that title, and put him in command of the men of the town that they may be of service to defend it in case King George's men come over from New York," replied her father; "but I do not know but the bears are as dangerous as the 'Yorkers.' Do you think Esther will be quite well to-morrow?" concluded Mr. Carew.
Faith was quite sure that Esther would soon be as well as ever. She did not want to talk about Esther. She wanted to hear more about her friend Colonel Allen. "I heard him tell mother that he slept in a cave one night on his way here," she said.
"Oh, yes; he can sleep anywhere. But you must talk of him no more to-day, Faithie," answered Mr. Carew; "and here is 'Bounce' looking for you," he added, as the little gray kitten jumped into Faith's lap.
A NEW PLAN
Esther was much better the next morning, but she was not well enough to come down-stairs for several days, and when her father appeared he agreed with Mrs. Carew that the little girl was not fit to undertake the journey on horseback along the rough trail to Brandon.
Mrs. Carew was able to assure him, however, that he need not be anxious about his little daughter, and he decided to go directly home, leaving Esther to regain health and strength in Mrs. Carew's charge.
"I will come for you the first Monday in October, three weeks from to-day," he told Esther, "and you must mind Mrs. Carew in everything she bids you."
Esther promised tearfully. She did not want to stay, but she resolved to herself, as she watched her father ride away, that she would do everything possible to please Mrs. Carew and make friends with Faith. She could hardly bear to think of the first day of her visit.
As she lay on the settle comfortably bolstered up with the soft pillows, and a little fire crackling on the hearth, Esther looked about the sitting-room and began to think it a very pleasant place. Faith brought all her treasures to entertain her little visitor. Chief of these was a fine book called "Pilgrim's Progress," with many pictures. There was a doll,—one that Faith's Aunt Priscilla had brought her from New York. This doll was a very wonderful creature. She wore a blue flounced satin dress, and the dress had real buttons, buttons of gilt; and the doll wore a beautiful bonnet.
Faith watched Esther a little anxiously as she allowed her to take Lady Amy, as the doll was named. But Esther was as careful as Faith herself, and declared that she did not believe any little girl that side of Bennington had such a beautiful doll.
"I think your Aunt Priscilla is the best aunt that ever was. She gave you this lovely doll, and your blue beads——" Esther stopped suddenly. She had lost the beads, and she did not want to tell Faith. She had resolved to hunt for them as soon as possible, and give them back. She was sure she could find them when she could run about again.
Faith did not look at Esther. She wished Esther had not reminded her of the beads. But Esther had been so grateful for everything that Mrs. Carew and Faith did for her that they had almost forgotten her mischief, and were beginning to like their little visitor.
"Yes, my Aunt Prissy is lovely," said Faith. "She is a young aunt. Her hair is yellow and her eyes are blue; she can run as fast as I can," and Faith smiled, remembering the good times she always had when Aunt Prissy came for a visit to the log cabin. "When I go to visit her I shall see the fort where the English soldiers are," she added.
"Colonel Ethan Allen could take the fort away from them if he wanted to; my father said so," boasted Esther; and Faith was quite ready to agree to this, for it seemed to her that the tall, dark-eyed colonel could accomplish almost anything.
"How would you and Faithie like to have your supper here by the fire?" asked Mrs Carew, coming in from the kitchen. "Faith can bring in the light stand and use her own set of dishes. And I will make you a fine dish of cream toast."
Both the little girls were delighted at the plan. And Faith ran to the kitchen and, with her mother's help, brought in the stand and put it down in front of the settle. She spread a white cloth over it, and then turned to the closet, from which she had taken the blue beads, and brought out her treasured tea-set. There was a round-bodied, squatty teapot with a high handle, a small pitcher, a round sugar-bowl, two cups and saucers, and two plates. The dishes were of delicate cream-tinted china covered with crimson roses and delicate buds and faint green leaves.
One by one Faith brought these treasures to the little table, smiling with delight at Esther's exclamations of admiration.
"My grandmother who lives in Connecticut sent me these for my last birthday present," said Faith. "My Grandmother Carew, whom I have never seen. And they came from across the big salt ocean, from England."
"To think that a little girl in a log cabin should have such lovely things!" exclaimed Esther. "I have a silver mug with my name on it," she added.
Mrs. Carew brought them in the fine dish of cream toast, and filled the china teapot with milk so they could play that it was a real tea-party. There were baked apples to eat with the toast, and although Esther longed for cake she did not speak of it, and, bolstered up with cushions, and Faith sitting in a high-backed chair facing her, she began really to enjoy herself.
"My father made this little table," said Faith, helping Esther to a second cup of "tea," "and he made these chairs and the settle. He came up here with Mr. Stanley years ago, and cut down trees and built this house and the barn and the mill; then he went way back where my grandmother lives and brought my mother here. Some day I am to go to Connecticut and go to school."
"Why don't you come to Brandon and go to school?" suggested Esther. "Oh, do! Faith, ask your mother to let you go home with me and go to school this winter. That would be splendid!" And Esther sat up so quickly that she nearly tipped over her cup and saucer.
"I guess I couldn't," replied Faith. "My mother would be lonesome."
But Esther thought it would be a fine idea; and while Faith carried the dishes to the kitchen, washed them with the greatest care, and replaced them on the closet shelf, Esther talked of all the attractions of living in a village and going to school with other little girls.
"I feel as well as ever," declared Esther as the two little girls went to bed that night; "but I do wish your mother thought sweet things would be good for me. At home I have all I want."
"Mother says that is the reason you are not well," answered Faith. "Hear the brook, Esther! Doesn't it sound as if it was saying, 'Hurry to bed! Hurry to bed!' And in the morning it is 'Time to get up! Time to get up!'"
"You are the queerest girl I ever knew. The idea that a brook could say anything," replied Esther; but her tone was friendly. "I suppose it's because you live way off here in the woods. Now if you lived in a village——"
"I don't want to live in a village if it will stop my hearing what the brook says. And I can tell you what the robins say to the young robins; and what little foxes tell their mothers; and I know how the beavers build their homes under water," declared Faith, with a little laugh at Esther's puzzled expression.
"Tell me about the beavers," said Esther, as they snuggled down in the big feather-bed.
"Every house a beaver builds has two doors," began Faith, "and it has an up-stairs and down-stairs. One of the doors to the beaver's house opens on the land side, so that they can get out and get their dinners; and the other opens under the water—way down deep, below where ice freezes."
"How do you know?" questioned Esther, a little doubtfully.
"Father told me. And I have seen their houses over in the mill meadow, where the brook is as wide as this whole clearing."
Before Faith had finished her story of how beavers could cut down trees with their sharp teeth, and of the dams they built across streams, Esther was fast asleep.
Faith lay awake thinking over all that Esther had said about school; about seeing little girls and boys of her own age, and of games and parties. Then with a little sigh of content she whispered to herself: "I guess I'd be lonesome without father and mother and the brook."
Mrs. Carew had heard Esther's suggestion about Faith going to Brandon to go to school, and after the little girls had gone to bed she spoke of it to Faith's father, as they sat together before the fire.
"Perhaps we ought to send Faithie where she could go to school and be with other children," said Mr. Carew, "but I hardly know how we could spare her."
There was a little silence, for the father and mother knew that their pleasant home on the slope of the hillside would be a very different place without their little maid.
"But of course we would not think of Brandon," continued Faith's father. "If we must let her go, why, her Aunt Priscilla will give her a warm welcome and take good care of the child; and the school at Ticonderoga is doubtless a good one."
"Esther seems sorry for her mischief, but I should not wish Faith to be with her so far from home. Perhaps we had best send some word to Priscilla by the next traveler who goes that way, and ask her if Faith may go to her for the winter months," said Mrs. Carew.
So, while Faith described the beaver's home to the sleepy Esther, it was settled that as soon as it could be arranged she should go to stay with her Aunt Priscilla in the village of Ticonderoga, across Lake Champlain, and go to school.
"If 'twere not that some stray Indians might happen along and make a bonfire of our house and mill we might plan for a month's visit ourselves," said Mr. Carew.
"We must not think of it," responded his wife. For the log cabin home was very dear to her, and at that time the Indians, often incited by the British in command of the forts at Ticonderoga and Crown Point, burned the homes of settlers who held their land through grants given by the New Hampshire government.
"More settlers are coming into this region every year. We shall soon have neighbors near at hand, and can have a school and church," said Mr. Carew hopefully. "Colonel Allen is not journeying through the wilderness for pleasure. He has some plan in mind to make this region more secure for all of us. Well, tell Faithie, if she has aught to say of going to Brandon, that she is soon to visit Aunt Priscilla. I doubt not 'twill be best for the child."
Esther did not find the blue beads; and when her father came for her she had not said a word to Faith about them.
Mr. Eldridge found his little daughter fully recovered from her illness, and in better health than when she came to the Wilderness. When she said good-bye Faith was really sorry to have her go, but she wondered a little that Esther made no mention of the beads, for Esther had been a model visitor since her illness. She had told Mrs. Carew the full story of the attempt to make maple candy, which the bear had interrupted, and she had claimed the pumpkin-shell work-box with evident delight. All these things had made Faith confident that Esther would return the beads before starting for home, and she was sadly disappointed to have Esther depart without a word about them.
Esther had asked Mrs. Carew if Faith might not go to Brandon, and so Mrs. Carew had told the little girls of the plan for Faith to go to her Aunt Priscilla in Ticonderoga for the winter and attend school there.
"Oh! But that's New York. Why, the 'Yorkers' want to take all the Wilderness. I shouldn't want to go to school with 'Yorkers,'" Esther had responded, a little scornfully.
For she had often heard her father and his friends talk of the attempts made by the English officials of New York to drive the settlers on the New Hampshire Grants from their homes.
"'Tis not the people of New York who would do us harm," Mrs. Carew had answered. "And Faith will make friends, I hope, with many of her schoolmates."
It was a beautiful October morning when Esther, seated in front of her father on the big gray horse, with the pumpkin-shell work-box wrapped in a safe bundle swinging from the front of the saddle, started for Brandon. Their way for most of the journey led over a rough trail. They would pass near the homes of many settlers, then over the lower slopes of Mooselamoo Mountain, and skirt Lake Dunmore, and would then find themselves on a smoother road for the remainder of their journey.
Faith walked beside the travelers to the edge of the wood and then the two little girls said good-bye.
"I'll come again in the spring," Esther called back.
Faith stood watching them until the branches of the trees hid them from sight. The maples seemed to be waving banners of scarlet leaves, and the slopes of the Green Mountains were beautiful in the glory of autumn foliage. The sun shone brightly, the sky was as blue as summer, and as Faith turned to run swiftly along the path to the mill she almost wished that she too was starting for a day's journey through the woods. The path ran along beside the mill-stream.
It seemed to Faith that the brook was traveling beside her like a gay companion, singing as it went. The little girl had had so few companions, none except an occasional visitor, that she had made friends with the birds and small woodland animals, and found companionship in the rippling music of the stream. There was a fine family of yellow-hammers just below the mill that Faith often visited, and she was sure that they knew her quite well. She had watched them build their nest in the early spring; had seen them bring food to the young birds, and had sat close by the nest while the young birds made their first efforts to fly. She knew where a fine silver-coated fox made its home on the rocky hillside beyond the garden-slope, and had told her father that "Silver-nose," as she had named the fox, knew that she was his friend, and would lie quite still at the entrance to its hole, while she would sit on a big rock not far distant.
But Faith was not thinking of these woodland friends as she ran along toward the mill; she was thinking of what she had heard her father say to Mr. Eldridge that morning. "Tell Colonel Allen the men of the Wilderness will be ready whenever he gives the word," Mr. Carew had said; and Mr. Eldridge had answered that it would not be long. Faith wondered what her father had meant, and if Colonel Allen would again visit the mill. She hoped he would, for he had seemed to know all about the woodland creatures, and had told Faith a wonderful story about the different months of the year. She thought of it now as she felt the warmth of the October sunshine.
"October is stirring the fire now," she called to her father, who was watching her from the door of the mill.
"What do you mean by that, child?" asked her father, smiling down at Faith's tanned face and bright eyes.
"'Tis what Colonel Allen told me about the months. All twelve, every one of the year, sit about the fire. And now and then one of them stirs the fire, and that makes all the world warmer. July and August, when it is their turn, make it blaze; but the other months do not care so much about it. But once in a while each month takes its turn," answered Faith. "That's what Colonel Allen told me."
"'Tis a good story," said Mr. Carew. "Did your mother tell you that I have sent word to your Aunt Priscilla about your going to her house as soon as some trustworthy traveler going to Ticonderoga passes this way?"
"Yes, father. But I am learning a good deal at home. Mother says I read as well as she did when she was my age. And I can figure in fractions, and write neatly. I do not care much about school," answered Faith; for to be away from her mother and father all winter began to seem too great an undertaking.
"Yes, indeed; your mother tells me you learn quickly. But 'tis best for you to become acquainted with children of your own age. And you have never seen your cousins. Three boy cousins. Think of that. Why, your Aunt Prissy says that Donald is nearly as tall as you are; and he is but eight years old. And Hugh is six, and Philip four. Then there are neighbor children close at hand. You will play games, and have parties, and enjoy every day; besides going to school," responded her father encouragingly.
Then he told her of his own pleasant school days in the far-off Connecticut village where Grandmother Carew lived; and when Mrs. Carew called them to dinner Faith had begun to think that it would really be a fine thing to live with Aunt Priscilla and become acquainted with her little cousins, and all the pleasant, well-behaved children that her father described, with whom she would go to school and play games.
"It is nearly time for Kashaqua's yearly visit," said Mrs. Carew. "I have knit a scarf for her of crimson yarn. She generally comes before cold weather. Don't let her see your blue beads, Faith."
Faith did not make any answer. Kashaqua was an Indian woman who had appeared at the cabin every fall and spring ever since the Carews had settled there. When Faith was a tiny baby she had come, bringing a fine beaver skin as a gift for the little girl. She always came alone, and the family looked upon her as a friend, and always made a little feast for her, and sent her on her way laden with gifts. Not all the Indians of the Wilderness were friendly to settlers; and the Carews were glad to feel that Kashaqua was well disposed toward them. She often brought gifts of baskets, or of bright feathers or fine moccasins for Faith.
"I hope she will come before I go to Aunt Prissy's," said Faith. "I like Kashaqua."
"Kashaqua likes little girl."
Even Mr. Carew jumped at these words and the sudden appearance of the Indian woman standing just inside the kitchen door. She seemed pleased by their warm welcome, and sat down before the fire, while Faith hastened to bring her a good share of their simple dinner. Faith sat down on the floor beside her, greatly to Kashaqua's satisfaction, and told her about Esther Eldridge's visit, about the bear coming into the kitchen, and of how she had jumped from the window and run to the mill to tell her father. Kashaqua grunted her approval now and then.
"And what do you think, Kashaqua! I am to go to my Aunt Priscilla Scott, to Ticonderoga, and stay all winter," she concluded.
"Ticonderoga? When?" questioned Kashaqua, dipping a piece of corn bread in the dish of maple syrup.
"I am to go just as soon as some one goes over the trail who will take me," answered Faith.
"I take you. I go to Ticonderoga to-morrow. I take you," said Kashaqua.
"Mother dear, mother dear! Did you hear what Kashaqua says: that she will take me to Aunt Prissy's to-morrow?" said Faith.
The Indian woman had turned quickly, and her sharp little eyes were fixed on Mrs. Carew's face.
"You 'fraid let little girl go with Kashaqua?" she said, a little accusing note in her voice.
"No, indeed. Kashaqua would take good care of Faith. I know that. But to-morrow——" Mrs. Carew spoke bravely, but both Faith's father and mother were sadly troubled. To offend the Indian woman would mean to make enemies of the tribe to which she belonged; and then neither their lives nor their property would be safe; and she would never forgive them if they doubted her by refusing to let Faith make the journey to Ticonderoga in her care.
It was Faith who came to the rescue by declaring: "Oh, I'd rather go with Kashaqua than anybody. Mother dear, you said Aunt Prissy would see about my shoes and dresses. I don't have to wait to get ready," and Faith ran to her mother eager for her consent, thinking it would be a fine thing to go on a day's journey through the woods with the Indian woman, and quite forgetting for the moment that it meant a long absence from home.
Nothing could have pleased Kashaqua more than Faith's pleading. The half-angry expression faded from her face, and she nodded and smiled, grunting her satisfaction, and taking from one of her baskets a pair of fine doeskin moccasins, which she gave to Faith. "Present," she said briefly.
"They are the prettiest pair I ever had!" said Faith, looking admiringly at their fringed tops, and the pattern of a vine that ran from the toes to insteps, stitched in with thread-like crimson and blue thongs.
"It is a fine chance for Faith to go to her Aunt Priscilla," said Mr. Carew. "Do you know where Philip Scott lives, across Champlain?"
"Me know. Not great ways from Fort," responded Kashaqua. "Me take little girl safe to Scott's wigwam."
"That's right, Kashaqua," said Mr. Carew.
"Then me come back to mill and get meal an' get pie," said Kashaqua.
"Of course. I will make you the finest pie you ever tasted," said Mrs. Carew, with a little sigh of relief. For she had wondered how long it would be before they could get news that Kashaqua had kept her promise, and that Faith had reached her aunt's house in safety.
In the surprise and excitement of this new decision neither Faith nor her parents had much time to think about their separation. Although Aunt Priscilla was to see that Faith was well provided with suitable dresses, shoes, hat, and all that a little girl would need to wear to school and to church, there was, nevertheless, a good deal to do to prepare and put in order such things as she would take with her. Beside that Mrs. Carew meant to give the squaw a well-filled luncheon basket; so the remainder of the day went very quickly. Faith helped her mother, and talked gaily with Kashaqua of the good time they would have on the journey; while Kashaqua smoked and nodded, evidently quite satisfied and happy.
When night came the Indian woman made her preparations to sleep before the kitchen fire, and the Carews went up-stairs to bed. The mother and father lay long awake that night. While they assured each other that Faith would be perfectly safe, and that the Indian woman would defend the little girl from all danger, they could not but feel an uncertainty. "We can trust the strength and love that has protected us always to go with our little maid," said Mr. Carew; "perhaps Kashaqua is the safest person we could find."
"We must hope so; but I shall not draw a good breath until she is here again, and tells me Faithie is safe with Priscilla," responded Mrs. Carew.
The little household was awake at an early hour the next morning. Faith was to wear the new moccasins. She wore her usual dress of brown homespun linen. Faith had never had a hat, or a pair of leather shoes, and only the simplest of linen and wool dresses. She had never before been away from home, except for a day's visit at the house of some neighboring settler. She knew that when she got to Aunt Prissy's she would have a hat, probably like the one Esther Eldridge had worn, ribbons to tie back her yellow curls, shining leather shoes, and many things that she had never before seen. She had thought a good deal about these things when planning for the journey, but now that the time was so near when she must say good-bye to her mother and father she forgot all about the good times in store, and wished with all her heart that she were not going.
"Don't let Kashaqua see you cry, child," her father whispered, seeing Faith's sad face; so she resolutely kept back her tears.
Breakfast was soon over. Kashaqua had stowed Faith's bundle of clothing in one of her baskets and swung it over her shoulder. The basket of luncheon also was secured by stout thongs and hung across her back, and they were ready to start.
"Be a good child, Faithie, dear," whispered Mrs. Carew.
"I'll fetch you home when it is April's turn to stir the fire," said her father smilingly, and Faith managed to smile back, and to say good-bye bravely, as she trudged down the path holding tight to Kashaqua's brown hand.
"I be back to-morrow night," Kashaqua called back, knowing that would be a word of comfort to the white woman who was letting her only child go from home.
Neither Faith nor Kashaqua spoke for some little time. At last Faith stopped suddenly and stood still, evidently listening. "I can't hear the brook," she said.
Kashaqua nodded, and the two walked on through the autumn woods. But now Kashaqua began to talk. She told Faith stories of the wild animals of the woods; of the traps she set along the streams to catch the martens and otters; and of a bear cub that the children of her village had tamed. But it had disappeared during the summer.
"The papooses catch birds and feed them," she continued, "tame birds so they know their name, and come right to wigwam." Faith listened eagerly, and began to think that an Indian village must be a very pleasant place to live.
"Where is your village, Kashaqua?" she asked.
"You not know my village? Way back 'cross Mooselamoo," answered Kashaqua.
"Perhaps I can go there some time," suggested Faith. But Kashaqua shook her head.
For several hours they walked steadily on through the autumn woods. They climbed several rocky ridges, crossed brooks, and carefully made their way over a swampy stretch of ground. Faith was very tired when Kashaqua finally swung the baskets and bundles from her shoulders and declared that it was time to eat.
The trail had led them up a hill, and as Faith, with a little tired sigh, seated herself on a moss-covered rock, she looked about with a little exclamation of wonder. Close beside the trail was a rough shelter made of the boughs of spruce and fir trees, and near at hand was piled a quantity of wood ready for a fire. There was a clearing, and the rough shelter was shaded by two fine oak trees.
"Does somebody live here?" asked Faith.
"Traveler's wigwam," explained Kashaqua, who was unpacking the lunch basket with many grunts of satisfaction. "White men going down the trail to big road to Shoreham sleep here," she added, holding up a fine round molasses cake in one hand and a roasted chicken in the other.
Faith was hungry as well as tired, and the two friends ate with good appetite. Kashaqua repacked the basket with what remained of the food, and with a pleasant nod to Faith declared she would "sleep a little," and curled herself up near the shelter.
Faith looked about the rough camp, and peered down the trail. She decided she too would sleep a little, and stretched herself out close beside Kashaqua, thinking that it was a wonderful thing to be so far from home,—nearly in sight of Lake Champlain, Kashaqua had told her, with an Indian woman for her guide and protector; and then her eyes closed and she was sound asleep.
It seemed to Faith that she had not slept a minute before she awakened suddenly, and found that Kashaqua had disappeared. But she heard a queer scrambling sound behind her and sat up and looked around. For a moment she was too frightened to speak, for a brown bear was clawing the remainder of their luncheon from the basket, grunting and sniffing, as if well pleased with what he found.
As Faith looked at him she was sure that this creature had dragged Kashaqua off into the woods, and that he might turn and seize her as soon as he had finished with the basket.
"Kashaqua! Kashaqua!" she called hopelessly. "What shall I do? What shall I do?"
There was a rustle of leaves close behind her and the Indian woman darted into the clearing. Without a word to Faith she ran straight to where the bear was crouched over the basket. Faith could hardly believe what she saw, for Kashaqua had seized the basket and pushed it out of the bear's reach, and was now belaboring him with a stout piece of wood that she had seized from the pile by the shelter. As she hit the bear she called out strange words in the Indian tongue, whose meaning Faith could not imagine, but which the bear seemed to understand. The creature accepted the blows with a queer little whimper which made Faith laugh in spite of her fear. And when Kashaqua had quite finished with him he crept along beside her, looking up as if pleading for forgiveness.
"Oh, Kashaqua! Is it the bear that your papooses tamed?" exclaimed Faith, remembering the story told her on the way.
Kashaqua nodded, at the same time muttering words of reproach to the bear.
"He like bad Indian, steal from friends," she explained to Faith. "His name Nooski," she added.
Nooski was quite ready to make friends with Faith, but she was not yet sure of his good-nature. It seemed to the little girl that the bear understood every word Kashaqua uttered; and when they went on their way down the trail Nooski followed, or kept close beside them.
It was still early in the afternoon when they reached level ground and Faith had her first glimpse of the blue waters of Lake Champlain and saw the heights of Ticonderoga on the opposite shore. For a moment she forgot Nooski and Kashaqua, and stood looking at the sparkling waters and listening to the same sound of "Chiming Waters" that had made the early French settlers call the place "Carillon." She wondered if she should ever see the inside of the fort of which she had heard so much, and then heard Kashaqua calling her name.
"Canoe all ready, Faith." The Indian woman had drawn the birch-bark canoe from its hiding-place in the underbrush, and the light craft now rested on the waters of the lake. The baskets and bundles were in the canoe, and Kashaqua, paddle in hand, stood waiting for her little companion.
"Where's Nooski?" asked Faith, looking about for the young bear.
Kashaqua pointed toward the distant range of mountains which they had left behind them. "He gone home," she said.
Kashaqua told her how to step into the canoe, and how to sit, and cautioned her not to move. Faith felt as if the day had been a wonderful dream. As Kashaqua with swift strokes of her paddle sent the canoe over the water Faith sat silent, with eyes fixed on the looming battlements of the fort, on the high mountain behind it, and thought to herself that no other little girl had ever taken such a journey.
Kashaqua landed some distance below the fort; the canoe was again safely hidden, and after a short walk across a field they reached a broad, well-traveled road. "'Most to Philip Scott's house," grunted Kashaqua. "You be glad?" and she looked down at the little girl with a friendly smile.
"An Indian woman and a little girl with yellow hair are coming across the road, mother," declared Donald Scott, rushing into the sitting-room, where his mother was busy with her sewing.
Mrs. Scott hastened to the front door. "Oh, Aunt Prissy," called Faith, running as fast as her tired feet could carry her, and hardly seeing the brown-haired little cousin standing by his mother's side.
Aunt Prissy welcomed her little niece, whom she had not expected to see for weeks to come, and then turned to thank Kashaqua. But the Indian woman had disappeared. The bundle containing Faith's clothing lay on the door-step, but there was no trace of her companion. Long afterward they discovered that Kashaqua had started directly back over the trail, and had reached the Carews' cabin, with her message of Faith's safe arrival at her aunt's house, early the next morning.
"Come in, dear child. You are indeed welcome. Your father's letter reached me but yesterday," said Aunt Prissy, putting her arm about Faith and leading her into the house. "I know you are tired, and you shall lie down on the settle for a little, and then have your supper and go straight to bed."
Faith was quite ready to agree. As she curled up on the broad sofa her three little cousins came into the room. They came on tiptoe, very quietly, Donald leading the two younger boys. Their mother had told them that Cousin Faith was tired after her long journey, and that they must just kiss her and run away.
Faith smiled up at the friendly little faces as they bent over to welcome her. "I know I shan't be lonesome with such dear cousins," she said, and the boys ran away to their play, quite sure that it was a fine thing to have a girl cousin come from the Wilderness to visit them.
Faith slept late the next morning, and awoke to hear the sound of rain against the windows. It was a lonesome sound to a little girl so far from her mother and father, and Faith was already thinking to herself that this big house, with its shining yellow floors, its white window curtains, and its nearness to a well-traveled road, was a very dreary place compared to her cabin home, when her chamber door opened and in came her Aunt Prissy, smiling and happy as if a rainy day was just what she had been hoping for.
"We shall have a fine time to-day, Faithie dear," she declared, as she filled the big blue wash-basin with warm water. "There is nothing like a rainy day for a real good time. Your Uncle Philip and the boys are waiting to eat breakfast with you, and I have a great deal to talk over with you; so make haste and come down," and Aunt Prissy, with a gay little nod, was gone, leaving Faith greatly cheered and wondering what the "good time" would be.
Uncle Philip Scott was waiting at the foot of the stairs. "So here is our little maid from the Wilderness! Well, it is a fine thing to have a girl in the house," he declared, leading Faith into the dining-room and giving her a seat at the table beside his own. "Did you have any adventures coming over the trail?" he asked, after Faith had greeted her little cousins.
Faith told them of "Nooski's" appearance, greatly to the delight of her boy cousins, who asked if the Indian woman had told Faith the best way to catch bear cubs and tame them.
"Come out to the shop, boys," said Mr. Scott as they finished breakfast, "and help me repair the cart, and fix 'Ginger's' harness. Perhaps Cousin Faith will come, too, later on in the morning."
"We'll see. Faithie and I have a good deal to do," responded Mrs. Scott.
The boys ran off with their father, chattering gaily, but at the door Donald turned and called back: "You'll come out to the shop, won't you, Cousin Faith?"
"If Aunt Prissy says I may," answered Faith.
"Yes; she will come," added Aunt Prissy, with her ready smile.
It seemed to Faith that Aunt Prissy was always smiling. "I don't believe she could be cross," thought the little girl.
She helped her aunt clear the table and wash the dishes, just as she had helped her mother at home; and as they went back and forth in the pleasant kitchen, with the dancing flames from the fireplace brightening the walls and making the tins shine like silver, Faith quite forgot that the rain was pouring down and that she was far from home.
"I am going to begin a dress for you this very day. It is some material I have in the house; a fine blue thibet, and I shall put ruffles on the skirt. That will be your Sunday dress," said Aunt Priscilla, "and your father wrote me you were to have the best shoes that the shoemaker can make for you. We'll see about the shoes to-morrow. Did you bring your blue beads, Faithie? But of course you did. They will be nice to wear with your blue frock. And I mean you to have a warm hood of quilted silk for Sunday wear."
Faith drew a long breath as her aunt finished. She wondered what Aunt Prissy would say if she told her about giving the blue beads to Esther Eldridge. But in the exciting prospect of so many new and beautiful things she almost forgot the lost beads. She had brought "Lady Amy," carefully packed in the stout bundle, and Aunt Prissy declared that the doll should have a dress and hood of the fine blue thibet.
"When shall I go to school, Aunt Prissy?" asked Faith.
"I think the school begins next week, and you shall be all ready. I mean to make you a good dress of gray and scarlet homespun for school wear," replied her aunt. "The schoolhouse is but a half-mile walk from here; a fine new cabin, and you and Donald may go together. I declare, the rain has stopped. 'Rain before seven, clear before eleven' is a true saying."
Faith ran to the window and looked out. "Yes, indeed. The sky is blue again," she said.
"You'd best run out to the shop a while now, Faithie. I'll call you when 'tis time," said her aunt.
Faith opened the kitchen door to step out, but closed it quickly, and looked around at her aunt with a startled face. "There's a little bear right on the door-step," she whispered.
"A bear! Oh, I forgot. You have not seen 'Scotchie,' our dog," said Aunt Prissy. "No wonder you thought he was a bear. But he is a fine fellow, and a good friend. I often wish your dear father had just such a dog," and she opened the door and called "Scotchie! Scotchie!"
The big black Newfoundland dog came slowly into the room.
"Put your hand on his head, Faith," said Aunt Prissy, "and I'll tell him who you are, and that he is to take care of you. He went to school with Donald all last spring, and we knew he would take care of him. Here, 'Scotchie,' go to the shop with Faith," she concluded.
Faith started for the square building on the further side of the yard, and the big dog marched along beside her. Donald and little Philip came running to meet her.
"I'm going to make you a bow and some arrows, Cousin Faith," said Donald, pushing open the shop door. "I have a fine piece of ash, just right for a bow, and some deerskin thongs to string it with. I made bows for Hugh and Philip."
The workshop seemed a very wonderful place to Faith, and she looked at the forge, with its glowing coals, over which her Uncle Philip was holding a bar of iron, at the long work-bench with its tools, and at the small bench, evidently made for the use of her little cousins.
The boys were eager to show her all their treasures. They had a box full of bright feathers, with which to tip their arrows.
"We'll show you how to make an arrow, Cousin Faith," said Donald. "First of all, you must be sure the piece of wood is straight, and has no knots," and Donald selected a narrow strip of wood and held it on a level with his eyes, squinting at its length, just as he had seen his father do. "This is a good straight piece. Here, you use my knife, and whittle it down until it's about as big as your finger. And then I'll show you how to finish it."
But before Faith had whittled the wood to the required size, they heard the sound of a gaily whistled tune, and Donald ran toward the door and called out: "Hallo, Nathan," and a tall, pleasant-faced boy of about fifteen years appeared in the doorway. He took off his coonskin cap as he entered.
"Good-morning, Mr. Scott," he said, and then turned smilingly to speak to the boys.
"Faith, this is Nathan Beaman," said Donald, and the tall boy bowed again, and Faith smiled and nodded.
"I've been up to the fort to sell a basket of eggs," explained Nathan, turning again to Mr. Scott.
"You are a great friend of the English soldiers, are you not, Nathan?" responded Mr. Scott.
"No, sir!" the boy answered quickly. "I go to the fort when my errands take me. But I know well enough what those English soldiers are there for; all the Shoreham folk know that. I wish the Green Mountain Boys held Ticonderoga," he concluded.
Mr. Scott rested a friendly hand on the boy's shoulder.
"Best not say that aloud, my boy; but I am glad the redcoats have not made you forget that American settlers have a right to defend their homes."
"I hear there's a reward offered for the capture of Ethan Allen," said the boy.
Mr. Scott laughed. "Yes, but he's in small danger. Colonel Allen may capture the fort instead of being taken a prisoner," he answered.
Nathan now turned toward the children, and Donald showed him the bow he was making for his cousin. "I'll string it for you," offered Nathan; and Donald was delighted to have the older boy finish his work, for he was quite sure that anything Nathan Beaman did was a little better than the work of any other boy.
"Who wants to capture Colonel Allen?" Faith asked.
"The 'Yorkers.' The English," responded the boy carelessly; "but it can't be done," he added. "Why, every man who holds a New Hampshire Grant would defend him. And Colonel Allen isn't afraid of the whole English army."
"I know him. He was at my father's house just a few weeks ago," said Faith.
"Don't tell anybody," said Nathan. "Some of the people at the fort may question you, but you mustn't let them know that you have ever seen Colonel Allen."
Donald had been busy sorting out feathers for the new arrows, and now showed Nathan a number of bright yellow tips, which the elder boy declared would be just what were needed.
Nathan asked Faith many questions about her father's mill, and about Ethan Allen's visit. And Faith told him of the big bear that had entered their kitchen and eaten the syrup. When Mrs. Scott called them to dinner she felt that she was well acquainted with the good-natured boy, whom Mrs. Scott welcomed warmly.
"I believe Nathan knows as much about Fort Ticonderoga as the men who built it," she said laughingly, "for the soldiers have let him play about there since he was a little boy."
"And Nathan made his own boat, too. The boat he comes over from Shoreham in," said Donald. For Nathan Beaman lived on the further side of the strip of water which separated Ticonderoga from the New Hampshire Grants.
That afternoon Faith and her aunt worked on the fine new blue dress. The next day Mrs. Scott took her little niece to the shoemaker, who measured her feet and promised to have the shoes ready at the end of a week.
As they started for the shoemaker's Mrs. Scott said:
"The man who will make your shoes is a great friend of the English soldiers. Your uncle thinks that he gathers up information about the American settlers and tells the English officers. Do not let him question you as to what your father thinks of American or English rule. For I must leave you there a little while to do an errand at the next house."
Faith began to think that it was rather a serious thing to live near an English fort.
THE SHOEMAKER'S DAUGHTER
The shoemaker was the smallest man Faith had ever seen. She thought to herself that she was glad he was not an American. When he stood up to speak to Mrs. Scott Faith remembered a picture in one of her mother's books of an orang-outang. For the shoemaker's hair was coarse and black, and seemed to stand up all over his small head, and his face was nearly covered by a stubbly black beard. His arms were long, and he did not stand erect. His eyes were small and did not seem to see the person to whom he was speaking.
But he greeted his customers pleasantly, and as Faith sat on a little stool near his bench waiting for her aunt's return, he told her that he had a little daughter about her own age, but that she was not very well.
"Perhaps your aunt will let you come and see her some day?" he said.
"I'll ask her," replied Faith, and before they had time for any further conversation the door opened and a tall man in a scarlet coat, deerskin trousers and high boots entered the shop.
"Any news?" he asked sharply.
"No, captain. Nothing at all," replied the shoemaker.
"You're not worth your salt, Andy," declared the officer. "I'll wager this small maid here would have quicker ears for news."
Faith wished that she could run away, but did not dare to move.
"Well, another summer we'll put the old fort in order and have a garrison that will be worth while. Now, what about my riding boots?" he added, and after a little talk the officer departed.
It was not long before Mrs. Scott called for her little niece and the two started for home.
Faith told her aunt what the shoemaker had said about his little girl, and noticed that Aunt Prissy's face was rather grave and troubled.
"Do I have to go, Aunt Prissy?" she asked.
"We'll see, my dear. But now we must hurry home, and sew on the new dresses," replied Aunt Prissy, and for a few moments they walked on in silence.
Faith could hear the musical sound of the falls, and was reminded of the dancing mill-stream, of the silver fox and of her own dear "Bounce." Every hour since her arrival at Aunt Prissy's had been so filled with new and strange happenings that the little girl had not had time to be lonely.
"What is the name of the shoemaker's little girl, Aunt Prissy?" she asked, as they came in sight of home, with Donald and Philip, closely followed by "Scotchie," coming to meet them.
"Her name is Louise Trent, and she is lame. She is older than you, several years older," answered Aunt Prissy, "and I fear she is a mischievous child. But the poor girl has not had a mother to care for her for several years. She and her father live alone."
"Does she look like her father?" questioned Faith, resolving that if such were the case she would not want Louise for a playmate.
"Oh, no. Louise would be pretty if she were a neat and well-behaved child. She has soft black hair, black eyes, and is slenderly built. Too slender, I fear, for health," replied Mrs. Scott, who often thought of the shoemaker's motherless little girl, whose father seemed to resent any effort to befriend her.
"Why, that sounds just the way Esther Eldridge looks. Only Esther isn't lame," responded Faith; and, in answer to her aunt's questions, Faith described Esther's visit to the cabin, omitting, however, the fact that she had given Esther the blue beads.
Faith did not think to speak of the red-coated soldier until the family were gathered about the supper-table that night. Then she suddenly remembered what he had said, and repeated it to her uncle, who was asking her about her visit to Mr. Trent's shop.
"So that's their plan. More soldiers to come another summer! 'Twas a careless thing for an officer to repeat. But they are so sure that none of us dare lift a hand to protect ourselves that they care not who knows their plans. I'll see to it that Ethan Allen and the men at Bennington get word of this," said Mr. Scott, and then asked Faith to repeat again exactly what the officer had said.
In a few days both of Faith's new dresses were finished; and, greatly to her delight, Aunt Prissy had made her a pretty cap of blue velvet, with a partridge's wing on one side. She was trying on the cap before the mirror in the sitting-room one afternoon when she heard a queer noise on the porch and then in the front entry. Aunt Prissy was up-stairs, and the boys were playing outdoors.
"I wonder what it is?" thought Faith, running toward the door. As she opened it she nearly exclaimed in surprise, for there, leaning on a crutch, was the queerest little figure she had ever imagined. A little girl whose black hair straggled over her forehead, and whose big dark eyes had a half-frightened expression, stood staring in at the pleasant room. An old ragged shawl was pinned about her shoulders, and beneath it Faith could see the frayed worn skirt of gray homespun. But on her feet were a pair of fine leather shoes, well fitting and highly polished.
"I brought your shoes," said this untidy visitor, swinging herself a step forward nearer to Faith, and holding out a bundle. "Father doesn't know I've come," she added, with a little smile of satisfaction. "But I wanted to see you."
"Won't you sit down?" said Faith politely, pulling forward a big cushioned chair.
Louise Trent sat down as if hardly knowing if she dared trust the chair or not.
"Your aunt didn't let you come to see me, did she? I knew she wouldn't," continued Louise. "What you got?" she questioned, looking at the pretty cap with admiring eyes.
"It's new. And I never had one before," answered Faith.
"Well, I've never had one, and I never shall have. You wouldn't let me try that one on, would you?" said Louise, looking at Faith with such a longing expression in her dark eyes that Faith did not hesitate for a moment.
"Of course I will," she answered quickly, and taking off the cap placed it carefully on Louise's untidy black hair.
"If your hair was brushed back it would look nice on you," declared Faith. "You wait, and I'll get my brush and fix your hair," and before Louise could reply Faith was running up the stairs. She was back in a moment with brush and comb, and Louise submitted to having her hair put in order, and tied back with one of the new hair ribbons that Aunt Prissy had given Faith. While Faith was thus occupied Louise looked about the sitting-room, and asked questions.
"There," said Faith. "Now it looks nice on you. But what makes you wear that old shawl?"
Louise's face clouded, and she raised her crutch as if to strike Faith. "Don't you make fun of me. I have to wear it. I don't have nothing like other girls," she exclaimed, and dropping the crutch, she turned her face against the arm of the chair and began to sob bitterly.
For a moment Faith looked at her in amazement, and then she knelt down beside the big chair and began patting the shoulder under the ragged shawl.
"Don't cry, Louise. Don't cry. Listen, I'll ask my aunt to make you a cap just like mine. I know she will."
"No. She wouldn't want me to have a cap like yours," declared Louise.
"Isn't your father good to you?" questioned Faith. And this question made Louise sit up straight and wipe her eyes on the corner of the old shawl.
"Good to me! Of course he is. Didn't he make me these fine shoes?" she answered, pointing to her feet. "But how could he make me a pretty cap or a dress? And he doesn't want to ask anybody. But you needn't think he ain't good to me!" she concluded, reaching after the crutch.
"Don't go yet, Louise. See, that's my doll over on the sofa. Her name is 'Lady Amy,'" and Faith ran to the sofa and brought back her beloved doll and set it down in Louise's lap.
"I never touched a doll before," said Louise, almost in a whisper. "You're real good to let me hold her. Are you going to live here?"
"I'm going to school," replied Faith. "I've never been to school."
"Neither have I," said Louise. "I s'pose you know your letters, don't you?"
"Oh, yes. Of course I do. I can read and write, and do fractions," answered Faith.
"I can't read," declared Louise.
Just then Mrs. Scott entered the room. If she was surprised to see the shoemaker's daughter seated in her easy chair, wearing Faith's new cap and holding "Lady Amy," she did not let the little girls know it, but greeted Louise cordially, took Faith's new shoes from their wrapping and said they were indeed a fine pair of shoes. Then she turned to Louise, with the pleasant little smile that Faith so admired, and said: "You are the first little girl who has come to see my little niece, so I think it would be pleasant if you two girls had a taste of my fruit cake that I make just for company," and she started toward the dining-room and soon returned with a tray.
"Just bring the little table from the corner, Faithie, and set it in front of Louise and 'Lady Amy,'" she said, and Faith hastened to obey.
Aunt Prissy set the tray on the table. "I'll come back in a little while," she said, and left the girls to themselves.
The tray was very well filled. There was a plate of the rich dark cake, and beside it two dainty china plates and two fringed napkins. There was a plate of thin slices of bread and butter, a plate of cookies, and two glasses filled with creamy milk.
"Isn't this lovely?" exclaimed Faith, drawing a chair near the table. "It's just like a party, isn't it? I'm just as glad as I can be that you brought my shoes home, Louise. We'll be real friends now, shan't we?"
"I must go home," said Louise, with a little sigh at having to end the most pleasant visit she ever remembered. The two little girls had finished the lunch, and had played happily with "Lady Amy." Mrs. Scott had left them quite by themselves, and not even the small cousins had come near the sitting-room.
As Louise spoke she took off the blue velvet cap, which she had worn all the afternoon, and began to untie the hair ribbon.
"Oh, Louise! Don't take off that hair ribbon. I gave it to you. It's a present," exclaimed Faith.
Louise shook her head. "Father won't let me keep it," she answered. "He wouldn't like it if he knew that I had eaten anything in this house. He is always telling me that if people offer to give me anything I must never, never take it."
Before Faith could speak Aunt Prissy came into the room.
"Tell your father I will come in and pay him for Faith's shoes to-morrow, Louise," she said pleasantly, "and you must come and see Faith again."
"Yes'm. Thank you," responded Louise shyly, and nodding to Faith with a look of smiling understanding, the crippled child made her way quickly from the room.
"Aunt Prissy, I like Louise Trent. I don't believe she is a mischievous girl. Just think, she never had a doll in her life! And her father won't let her take presents!" Faith had so much to say that she talked very rapidly.
"I see," responded her aunt, taking up the rumpled hair ribbon which Louise had refused. "I am glad you were so kind to the poor child," she added, smiling down at her little niece. "Tell me all you can about Louise. Perhaps there will be some way to make her life happier."
So Faith told her aunt that Louise could not read. That she had never before tasted fruit cake, and that she had no playmates, and had never had a present. "Why do you suppose she came to see me, Aunt Prissy?" she concluded.
"I cannot imagine. Unless it was because you are a stranger," replied Aunt Prissy. "I have an idea that I can arrange with Mr. Trent so that he will be willing for me to make Louise a dress, and get for her the things she ought to have. For the shoemaker is no poorer than most of his neighbors. How would you like to teach Louise to read?"
"I'd like to! Oh, Aunt Prissy, tell me your plan!" responded Faith eagerly.
"Wait until I am sure it is a good plan, Faithie dear," her aunt replied. "I'll go down and see Mr. Trent to-morrow. I blame myself that I have not tried to be of use to that child."
"May I go with you?" urged Faith.
"Why, yes. You can visit Louise while I talk with her father, since he asked you to come."
"Has the Witch gone?" called Donald, running into the room. "Didn't you know that all the children call the Trent girl a witch?" he asked his mother.
"No, Donald. But if they do they ought to be ashamed. She is a little girl without any mother to care for her. And now she is your cousin's friend, and we hope to see her here often. And you must always be polite and kind to her," replied Mrs. Scott.
Donald looked a little doubtful and puzzled.
"You ought to be more kind to her than to any other child, because she is lame," said Faith.
"All right. But what is a 'witch,' anyway?" responded Donald.
"It is a wicked word," answered his mother briefly. "See that you do not use it again."
Faith's thoughts were now so filled with Louise that she nearly lost her interest in the new dresses and shoes, and was eager for the next day to come so that she could again see her new friend.
Faith had been taught to sew neatly, and she wondered if she could not help make Louise a dress. "And perhaps Aunt Prissy will teach her how to make cake," she thought; for never to taste of cake seemed to Faith to be a real misfortune. For the first night since her arrival at her aunt's home Faith went to sleep without a homesick longing for the cabin in the Wilderness, and awoke the next morning thinking about all that could be done for the friendless little girl who could not accept a present.
"We will go to Mr. Trent's as soon as our morning work is finished," said Aunt Prissy, "and you shall wear your new shoes and cap. And I have a blue cape which I made for you before you came. The morning is chilly. You had best wear that."
"I don't look like Faith Carew, I am so fine," laughed the little girl, looking down at her shoes, and touching the soft cloth of the pretty blue cape.
As they walked along Faith told Aunt Prissy of her plans to teach Louise to sew, as well as to read. "And perhaps you'll show her how to make cake! Will you, Aunt Prissy?"
"Of course I will, if I can get the chance," replied her aunt.
The shoemaker greeted them pleasantly. Before Mrs. Scott could say anything of her errand he began to apologize for his daughter's visit.
"She slipped off without my knowing it. It shan't happen again," he said.
"But Faith will be very sorry if it doesn't happen again," replied Aunt Prissy. "Can she not run in and see Louise while I settle with you for the shoes?"
The shoemaker looked at her sharply for a moment, and then motioned Faith to follow him, leading the way across the shop toward a door on the further side of the room. The shop occupied the front room of the shoemaker's house. The two back rooms, with the chambers above, was where Louise and her father made their home.
Mr. Trent opened the door and said: "You'll find her in there," and Faith stepped into the queerest room that she had ever seen, and the door closed behind her. Louise was standing, half-hidden by a clumsy wooden chair. The shawl was still pinned about her shoulders.
"This ain't much like your aunt's house, is it? I guess you won't ever want to come again. And my father says I can't ever go to see you again. He says I don't look fit," said Louise.
But Faith's eyes had brightened, and she was looking at the further side of the room and smiling with delight. "Oh, Louise! Why didn't you tell me that you had a gray kitten? And it looks just like 'Bounce,'" and in a moment she had picked up the pretty kitten, and was sitting beside Louise on a roughly made wooden seat, telling her of her own kitten, while Louise eagerly described the cleverness of her own pet.
"What's its name?" asked Faith.
"Just 'kitten,'" answered Louise, as if surprised at the question.
"But it must have a real name," insisted Faith, and it was finally decided that it should be named "Jump," the nearest approach to the name of Faith's kitten that they could imagine.
The floor of the room was rough and uneven, and not very clean. There was a table, the big chair and the wooden seat. Although the morning was chilly there was no fire in the fireplace, although there was a pile of wood in one corner. There was but one window, which looked toward the lake.
"Come out in the kitchen, where it's warm," suggested Louise, after a few moments, and Faith was glad to follow her.
"Don't you want to try on my new cape?" asked Faith, as they reached the kitchen, a much pleasanter room than the one they had left.
Louise shook her head. "I daresn't," she replied. "Father may come in. And he'd take my head off."
"You are coming to see me, Louise. Aunt Prissy is talking to your father about it now," said Faith; but Louise was not to be convinced.
"He won't let me. You'll see," she answered mournfully. "I know. He'll think your aunt is 'Charity.' Why, he won't make shoes any more for the minister because his wife brought me a dress; and I didn't wear the dress, either."
But there was a surprise in store for Louise, for when Mrs. Scott and Mr. Trent entered the kitchen the shoemaker was smiling; and it seemed to Faith that he stood more erect, and did not look so much like the picture of the orang-outang.
"Louise, Mrs. Scott and I have been making a bargain," he said. "I am going to make shoes for her boys, and she is going to make dresses for my girl. Exchange work; I believe that's right, isn't it, ma'am?" and he turned to Mrs. Scott with a little bow.
"Yes, it is quite right. And I'll send you the bill for materials," said Aunt Prissy.
"Of course. Well, Louise, I warrant you're old enough to have proper dresses. And Mrs. Scott will take you home to stay with her until you are all fixed up as fine as this little maid," and the shoemaker nodded to Faith.
"Do you mean I'm to stay up there?" asked Louise, pointing in the direction of the Scotts' house. "I can't. Who'd take care of you, father?"
Mr. Trent seemed to stand very straight indeed as Louise spoke, and Faith was ashamed that she had ever thought he resembled the ugly picture in her mother's book.
"She's a good child," he said as if whispering to himself; but he easily convinced Louise that, for a few days, he could manage to take care of himself; and at last Louise, happy and excited over this change in her fortunes, hobbled off beside Mrs. Scott and Faith, while her father stood in the shop doorway looking after them.