Soon the blankets were spread; the fire was replenished with mighty logs; the travellers lay down side by side and in a few minutes snored in concert; the flames leaped upwards, and the sparks, entangling themselves on the snow-encrusted branches of bush and tree, gleamed there for an instant, or, escaping, flew gaily away into the wintry sky.
But difficulties cannot finally stop
While the two men were sleeping, a change came over the scene—a slow, gentle, scarce perceptible change, which, however, had a powerful influence on the prospects of the sleepers.
The sky became overcast; the temperature, which had been down at arctic depth for many months, suddenly rose to that of temperate climes, and snow began to fall—not in the small sharp particles to which the fur-traders of the great northern wilderness are accustomed, but in the broad, heavy flakes that one often sees in England.
Softly, silently, gently they fell, like the descent of a sweet influence—but steadily, persistently, continuously, until every object in nature became smothered in the soft white garment. Among other objects the two sleepers were buried.
A snow-drift caught the Highlander full in the mouth and literally shut him up!
The snow began by powdering them over. Had any one been there to observe the process, he would have seen by the bright light of the camp-fire that the green blankets in which they were wrapt became piebald first; then assumed a greyish-green colour, which speedily changed into a greenish-grey, and finally into a pure white.
The Indian shook his head and looked solemn.
- “Oh that I were a bird!” exclaimed Spooner, one morning as we were seated round the Carron stove in our hall.
- “No need to wish that,” said Lumley, “for you’re a goose already!”
- “Well, I’d even consent to be a real goose,” continued Spooner, “if I could only thereby use my wings to fly away over the snowy wilderness and alight in my old home.”