I thought sick women a good place for an amateur
to draw the line, but Squirrel did not. "Il faut venir; elle est
At length I took my pill-kit and followed him. Around his lodge
were a score of the huge sled dogs, valuable animals in winter,
but useless, sullen, starving, noisy nuisances all summer. If you
kick them out of your way, they respect you; if you pity them, they
bite you. They respected us.
We entered the lodge, and there sitting by the fire were two squaws
making moccasins. One was old and ugly as sin; the second, young
and pretty as a brown fawn. I looked from one to the other in doubt,
"Laquelle est la malade?"
Then the pretty one replied in perfect English: "You needn't talk
French here; I speak English,' which she certainly did. French is
mostly used, but the few that speak English are very proud of it
and are careful to let you know.
"Are you ill?" I asked.
"The chief thinks I am," was the somewhat impatient reply, and she
broke down in a coughing fit.
"How long have you had that?" I said gravely.
I tapped my chest for reply.
"Oh! since last spring."
"And you had it the spring before, too, didn't you?"
"Why, yes! (a pause). But that isn't what bothers me."
"Isn't your husband kind to you?"
"Yes - sometimes."
"Is this your husband?"