UPON the moonlit stillness came suddenly a far-off, muffled, crashing sound. Just once it came, then once again the stillness of the wilderness night, the stillness of vast, untraversed solitude. The Boy lifted his eyes and glanced across the thin reek of the camp-fire at Jabe Smith, who sat smoking contemplatively. Answering the glance, the woodsman muttered "old tree fallin'," and resumed his passive contemplation of the sticks glowing keenly in the fire. The Boy, upon whom, as soon as he entered the wilderness, the taciturnity of the woodsfolk descended as a garment, said nothing, but scanned his companion's gaunt face with a gravely incredulous smile.