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While Cheenbuk was thus entrancing the souls of his friends near the big hut, his mother and sister were exercising hospitality to the Indian girl in their private residence.  It was rather a dark and smoky residence, with only one hole in the roof, about eight inches square, to let in light.  If truth must be told, it was also somewhat dirty, for, besides having only one large room in which living, cooking, receiving company, and sleeping were carried on, the dogs of the family were permitted to repose there-when they were good!  Anything approaching to badness ensured their summary and violent ejection.

Branching from this family room was a little recess, screened off by skin curtains, which formed Nootka’s private apartment or boudoir.  It was singularly unlike the boudoirs of other lands!  Black smoke, instead of whitewash, coloured the walls and ceiling.  No glass hung on the wall to reflect the visage of the Arctic beauty, but there were several pegs, from one of which hung Nootka’s seal-skin bad-weather jacket, the tadpole-tail of which reached to the ground, while from another depended a pair of her long waterproof boots.  One half of the floor being raised about eight inches, constituted the Eskimo maiden’s couch-also her chair and sofa.  There was no table, but the skull of a walrus did service as a stool.

To this apartment Nootka introduced her young Indian friend, leaving her mother in the outer hall, and the two maidens at once began, as might have been expected, an earnest and confidential conversation.  In their eagerness they had not reflected that each knew not one word of the other’s language, but of course the first sentences opened their eyes to the melancholy fact.

They had, indeed, been opened already to some extent, but not so impressively as now when they longed for a good talk.

“Come here,” said Nootka-of course in Eskimo-as she dragged rather than led her new friend into the boudoir; “I want you to tell me all about your saving my brother’s life.”

“I don’t understand a word you say,” replied Adolay-of course in Dogrib Indian-with a look of great perplexity in her wide-open eyes.

“Oh!  I’m stupid and sorry.  I forgot.  You don’t speak our language.”

“What funny sounds!  It seems like nonsense,” remarked Adolay-more to herself than to her friend.

“So curious!” soliloquised Nootka; “what one might expect from a seal if it tried to speak.  Say that over again.  I like to hear it.”

The perplexity on the face of the Indian maid deepened, and she shook her head, while the look of fun in that of the Eskimo maiden increased, and she smiled knowingly.

Here at last they had hit on common ground-tapped a universal spring of human communication.  Adolay at once beamed an answering smile, and displayed all her brilliant teeth in doing so.  This drew a soft laugh of pleasure from Nootka and an intelligent nod.

Nods and smiles, however, pleasant in their way though they be, form a very imperfect means of intercourse between souls which wish to unite, and the perplexed expression was beginning again to steal over both their youthful countenances, when something in the nature of a happy thought seemed to strike the Indian girl, for a gleam as of sunlight flashed from her eyes and teeth, as she suddenly beat with her little fist three times on her own bosom, exclaiming, “Adolay!  Adolay!  Adolay!” with much emphasis.  Then, poking her finger against her friend’s breast, she added-“You? you?”

Here again was “a touch of nature” which made these two damsels “kin.”  Although the “You? you?” was not intelligible to the Eskimo, the gaze of inquiry was a familiar tongue.  With a smile of delight she nodded, struck her own bosom with her fist, and said, “Nootka!  Nootka!” Then, tapping her friend, she said-“Addi-lay?” The Indian, nodding assent, tapped her in return and exclaimed, “No-oot-ko?”

After this little sparring match they both burst into a fit of hearty laughter, which roused the curiosity of Mrs Mangivik in the outer hall.

“What is the joke?” shouted the old lady, who was hospitably preparing a feast of steaks and ribs for her guest.

“Oh, mother, she is so funny!-Come, Addi-lay, let her hear your fun,” said the girl, taking her guest’s hand and leading her back to the hall.  “Her name is Addi-lay.  I know, for she told me herself.  We quite understand each other already.

“Speak to mother, Addi-lay.  Tell her something.”

“I don’t know what you want me to do, No-oot-ko,” returned the Indian girl, with a bright look, “but I know that whatever you are saying must be kind, for you’ve got such a nice face.”

By way of emphasising her opinion she took the face between her hands and laid her own against it.

We have never been quite sure as to what Adolay did on this occasion- whether she rubbed noses or chins or touched lips.  All that we are sure of is that the operation was equivalent to a kiss, and that it was reciprocated heartily.

“Didn’t I tell you, mother, that she was funny?  I’ll explain to you what she said when we are alone; but Addi-lay is hungry now, and so am I. Let us feed, mother.”

Without more ado the trio sat down beside the cooking-lamp and began to do justice to the savoury viands, the odour of which was so enticing that it was too much for the dogs of the family.  These had to be expelled by means of old bones.  Mrs Mangivik being an expert shot with such artillery, the hall was soon cleared.

After the meal, conversation was resumed, and conducted with considerably greater ease, owing to the chief subject of it being the Indian girl’s costume, which was somewhat elaborate, for, being a chief’s daughter, her dress was in many respects beautiful-especially those portions of it, such as the leggings and the head-dress, which were profusely ornamented with coloured beads and porcupine-quill work.  The examination of the various parts occupied a considerable time.  The mode of ascertaining names had been already discovered, and looks of admiration require no translation, so that the three women were deeply engaged in a most interesting talk when Cheenbuk and his father entered the hut after the conference.

“Ribs, ribs and slices!  Quick, woman,” cried Mangivik cheerily as he sat down.  “Cheenbuk has been talking and I have been listening till we are both quite hungry.-That is a pretty girl you have brought home with you, my son,” said the old man, with a stare of approval.  “Almost as pretty as some of our own girls.”

“Much prettier, I think,” returned the youth, as he quietly selected a rib of walrus that seemed suitable to his capacity.

“Tell your mother how you got hold of her,” said Mangivik, whose teeth were next moment fastened in a steak.

Cheenbuk made no reply.  Eskimo manners did not require an answer in the circumstances.  But when he had taken the edge off his appetite-and it took a good deal of dental grinding to do that-he looked across at Adolay with a genial expression and began to give his mother and sister a second, and much more graphic, edition of the speech which he had just delivered to the men.

Of course the narration served to strengthen the bonds of friendship which had already been formed between the Mangivik family and the Indian girl, who had been thus unexpectedly added to their circle.

That evening Nootka begged her brother to give her a lesson in the Dogrib language.  On the same evening, during a moonlight ramble, Adolay asked him to give her a little instruction in the Eskimo tongue, and, just before he retired for the night, his mother asked him if he intended to take the Indian girl as one of his wives.

“You know, mother,” was Cheenbuk’s reply, “I have always differed from my friends about wives.  I think that one wife is enough for one man; sometimes too much for him!  I also think that if it is fair for a man to choose a woman, it is also fair for the woman to choose the man.  I would gladly take Adolay for a wife, for she is good as well as pretty, but I do not know that she would take me for a husband.”

“Have you not asked her, then?” persisted Mrs Mangivik.

“No.  I have been till now her protector.  I can wait.  If she wants to return to her people I have promised to take her to them.”

“But surely my son is not bound to keep a promise given to one of our fire-spouting enemies?”

“That may seem right to you, mother, but it seems wrong to me.  I do not understand why I disagree with you, and with most of my people, but there is something inside of me which, I think, is not me.  It tells me not to do many things that I want to do, and sometimes bids me go forward when I wish to draw back.  What it is I cannot tell, but I must not disobey it, I will not disobey it.”

With this answer the old lady had to be content, for she could extract nothing more from her son after that but a smile.

As for old Mangivik, he asked and said nothing, but he thought much.

A few days after Cheenbuk’s arrival, it was arranged by the heads of the village that there should be a general scattering of the tribe for a great hunt after seals and wild-fowl, as provisions were not so plentiful as might have been desired.  An expedition of this kind was always hailed with great glee by Anteek, whose youth and very excitable disposition were not easily satisfied with the prosaic details of village life.

Previous to setting out, however, an event occurred which was well-nigh attended with disastrous consequences.

It had been arranged that Cheenbuk and his friends Oolalik and Anteek should keep together in their kayaks, accompanied by an oomiak to carry the game.  This woman’s boat was to be manned, so to speak, by young Uleeta, Cowlik, and two other girls.  Adolay had been offered a place in it, but she preferred going in her own bark canoe, with the management of which she was familiar.  Perhaps a touch of national pride had something to do with this preference of the Indian craft.  Nootka, who had made several trials of the canoe, was judged sufficiently expert to wield the bow paddle.

While preparations were being made, Adolay and Nootka went to the bay where the canoe was lying-a short distance from the village, on the other side of a high cliff that sheltered the bay from any breeze that might blow in from the sea.  The light craft was turned bottom up on the beach, and the two girls carried it down to the water’s edge.  Launching it, Nootka got in first, and Adolay was preparing to follow when a boyish shout arrested her, and she saw Anteek come skimming round the point in his kayak, wielding his double-bladed paddle with great dexterity and power.  In a few seconds the kayak was alongside the canoe and the boy stepped out upon the shore.

“Let me try to steer your canoe,” he said, pointing eagerly to the place where the Indian girl was about to seat herself.

Although Adolay did not understand the words, she had no difficulty with the boy’s expressive pantomime.  She nodded assent cheerfully.  Anteek took the paddle, stepped into her place, and the girl pushed them off into deep water.

Delighted with the novelty of their position the two paddled away with great vigour, and were soon a considerable distance from the shore.  Then it occurred to Adolay that she would have some fun on her own account, and perhaps give her new friends a surprise.  With this intent she floated the kayak and pushed it alongside of a flat stone in the water from which she could step into it.  But she found that stepping into a small round hole in the centre of a covered craft was not the same as stepping into her own canoe, and even when, with great care, she succeeded, she found that her garments rendered the process of sitting down rather difficult-not a matter of wonder when we consider that the kayak is meant only for men.

However, she succeeded at last, and grasping the paddle pushed off to sea.  But the long paddle with its blade at each end perplexed her greatly, and she had not quite overcome the awkwardness and begun to feel somewhat at ease when she chanced to touch on a ledge of rock that cropped up at that place near to the surface.  Fortunately the rock was quite smooth, else it would have ripped up the skin with which the vessel was covered, but the shock and the paddle together were too much for the inexperienced girl.  She lost her balance, and next moment was in the water with the kayak bottom up, and she incapable of extricating herself from the hole into which she had squeezed.

It happened that Anteek and Nootka had observed what Adolay was about, and were watching her with interest, so that before the kayak had turned fairly over their paddles dipped with a flash in the water and they rushed to the rescue.  And not a moment too soon, for the poor girl’s power of endurance was almost exhausted when her friends turned the kayak violently up.  This was well, and Adolay drew a long gasping breath; but now the inexperience of the rescuers came into play, for, being ignorant of the cranky nature of a birch-bark canoe, they acted without the necessary caution, the canoe overturned and they all found themselves in the water.  This time Adolay managed to wriggle out of her position, but being unable to swim she could only cling helplessly to the kayak.  Nootka, equally helpless, clung to the canoe.  Fortunately Anteek could swim like a fish, and bravely set to work to push both crafts towards the shore.  But they were a long way out; the weight of the two girls made them difficult to push, and, being separate, they had a tendency to diverge in different directions.

After a few vigorous efforts, the boy, perceiving the difficulty and the extreme danger of their position, at once set up a series of yells that awoke sympathetic echoes in the neighbourhood; but he did not for a moment relax his efforts to push his charge towards the shore.

Startled by the sudden outburst of alarming cries, several men ran along shore in the direction whence they came.  Foremost among these was the powerful and active Oolalik.  On turning the point and seeing what had occurred he plunged into the sea and swam like a dolphin to the rescue.  Great was the size of his eyes, and intense the swelling of his heart, when he saw that Nootka was one of the swimmers.

“Take care of Addi-lay and the kayak,” he remarked to Anteek as he drew near, “I will look after Nootka and the canoe.”

What Nootka felt on hearing these words we cannot tell, but any one might have seen that, despite her unpleasant position, there was a pleased expression on her wet face.

A very few minutes more sufficed to bring them all safe to land, and no one was a whit the worse, but as the girls required a complete change of garments, it was finally decided that the hunting expedition should be postponed until the following day.