He loved his sister very much and she loved him too much. But, he thought, I guess those things straighten out. At least I hope so.
There’s no sense waking anyone up, he thought. She must have been really tired if I’m as tired as I am. If we are all right here we are doing just what we should do: staying out of sight until things quiet down and that down-state man pulls out. I’ve got to feed her better, though. It’s a shame I couldn’t have outfitted really good.
We’ve got a lot of things, though. The pack was heavy enough. But what we want to get today is berries. I better get a partridge or a couple if I can. We can get good mushrooms, too. We’ll have to be careful about the bacon but we won’t need it with the shortening. Maybe I fed her too light last night. She’s used to lots of milk, too, and sweet things. Don’t worry about it. We’ll feed good. It’s a good thing she likes trout. They were really good. Don’t worry about her. She’ll eat wonderfully. But, Nick, boy, you certainly didn’t feed her too much yesterday. Better to let her sleep than to wake her up now. There’s plenty for you to do.
He started to get some things out of the pack very carefully and his sister smiled in her sleep. The brown skin came taut over her cheekbones when she smiled and the undercolor showed. She did not wake and he started to prepare to make breakfast and get the fire ready. There was plenty of wood cut and he built a very small fire and made tea while he waited to start breakfast. He drank his tea straight and ate three dried apricots and he tried to read in Lorna Doone. But he had read it and it did not have magic any more and he knew it was a loss on this trip.
Late in the afternoon”, when they had made camp, he had put some prunes in a tin pail to soak and he put them on the fire now to stew. In the pack he found the prepared buckwheat flour and he put it out with an enameled saucepan and a tin cup to mix the flour with water to make a batter. He had the tin of vegetable shortening and he cut a piece off the top of an empty flour sack and wrapped it around a cut stick and tied it tight with a piece of fish line. Littless had brought four old flour sacks and he was proud of her.
He mixed the batter and put the skillet on the fire, greasing it with the shortening which he spread with the cloth on the stick. First it made the skillet shine darkly, then it sizzled and spat and he greased again and poured the baiter smoothly and watched it bubble and then start to firm around the edges. He watched the rising and the forming of the texture and the gray color of the cake. He loosened it from the pan with a fresh clean chip and flipped it and caught it, the beautiful browned side up, the other sizzling. He could feel its weight but see it growing in buoyancy in the skillet.
“Good morning,” his sister said. “Did I sleep awfully late?”
She stood up with her shirt hanging down over her brown legs.
“You’ve done everything.”
“No. I just started the cakes.”
“Doesn’t that one smell wonderful? I’ll go to the spring and wash and come and help.”
“Don’t wash in the spring.”
“I’m not white man,” she said. She was gone behind the lean-to.
“Where did you leave the soap?” she asked.
“It’s by the spring. There’s an empty lard bucket. Bring the butter, will you. It’s in the spring.”
“I’ll be right back.”
There was a half a pound of butter and she brought it wrapped in the oiled paper in the empty lard bucket.
They ate the buckwheat cakes with butter and Log Cabin syrup out of a tin Log Cabin can. The top of the chimney unscrewed and the syrup poured from the chimney. They were both very hungry and the cakes were delicious with the butter melting on them and running down into the cut places with the syrup. They ate the prunes out of the tin cups and drank the juice. Then they drank tea from the same cups.