Onward goes this hardly perceptible track, now ascending over a natural swell of land, now subsiding gently into a hollow; traversed here by a little streamlet, which glitters like a snake through the gleam of sunshine, and quickly hides itself among the underbrush, in its quest for the neighboring cove; and impeded there by the massy corpse of a giant of the forest, which had lived out its incalculable term of life, and been overthrown by mere old age, and lies buried in the new vegetation that is born of its decay.

But farther off everything became confused, the island had disappeared, he could not even have told its exact situation if some belated cabs had not passed from time to time over the Pont-Neuf, with their lamps showing like those shooting sparks which dart at times through embers. A red lantern, on a level with the dam of the Mint, cast a streamlet of blood, as it were, into the water.

By noon the party had advanced some considerable distance, and were probably not far in the rear of the pursued at least such was the opinion of Boone when they were again, to their great vexation, put at fault for the trail, by the cunning of the renegade, who, to prevent all accidents, had here once more broken it, by entering another small streamlet a branch of Eagle river; and although our friends set to with all energy and diligence to find it, yet, from the nature of the ground round about, the darkness of the wood through which the rivulet meandered, and several other causes, they were unable to do so for three good hours.

They sledded seventy miles up the Yukon, swung to the left into the Stewart River, passed the Mayo and the McQuestion, and held on until the Stewart itself became a streamlet, threading the upstanding peaks which marked the backbone of the continent. John Thornton asked little of man or nature. He was unafraid of the wild.

As the horseman's eye wandered to this spot, the sun suddenly broke forth, and lit up as by enchantment, the quiet and lovely hamlet embedded, as it were, beneath, the cottages, with their gay gardens and jasmined porches, the streamlet half in mist, half in light, while here and there columns of vapour rose above its surface like the chariots of the water genii, and broke into a thousand hues beneath the smiles of the unexpected sun: But far to the right, the mists around it yet unbroken, and the outline of its form only visible, rose the lone house of the Student, as if there the sadder spirits of the air yet rallied their broken armament of mist and shadow.

In the evening we arrived at a valley in which the bed of the streamlet was damp: following it up, we came to tolerably good water. During the night the stream, from not being evaporated and absorbed so quickly, flows a league lower down than during the day. Sticks were plentiful for firewood, so that it was a good place of bivouac for us; but for the poor animals there was not a mouthful to eat.

The voice of running water was everywhere heard, betraying the proximity of the little stream by whose ceaseless corroding the cave and its entrance had been worn. This streamlet flowed out of the mouth of the cave, and came from a lake on the top of the mountain; this accounted for its warmth to the hand, which surprised us all. Birds of any kind were rare in these woods.

Disembowelled, with failing strength, he suffered from dreadful straits of thirst, and, crawling on his knees in his desire to find a draught, he longed for water from the streamlet that ran close by. But when he saw it was tainted with gore he was disgusted at the look of the water, and refrained from its infected draught.

Suffocating with fatigue and grief, he must have come thither for fresh air. Darkness shrouded the charming nook where the streamlet of water falling from the tragic mask into the ancient sarcophagus ever sang its shrill and flute-like song; and the laurel-bush which shaded it, and the bitter box-plants and the orange-trees skirting the paths now formed but vague masses under the blue-black sky.

It fled from rock to rock covered with the brightest of bright green moss and with tender fern that was but half uncurled, and it flashed in the sunlit places and tinkled from the deep black shadows, ever racing faster as if to see what more the forest had to show. The young man's look had been anxious before, but he brightened in spite of himself in the company of the streamlet.