By the Shores of Silver Lake Book Discussion - Last Man Out
The next morning a wagon approached the front door. The driver alerted Pa of an old man whom stayed behind because he was sick and all alone. Pa drove away with the stranger and it was quite some time before he came walking home.
Pa said the teamster was the last man out. Looking for a place to stay for the night he came upon the lighted claim shanty and found the old man by himself. The old man had consumption and came to the prairie for a climate cure. He wasn't in any shape to stay alone in a shanty all winter fifteen miles from the nearest neighbor. The place for him was with his own folks, so Pa and the stranger loaded the old guy up in the wagon to head back to the nearest town.
Laura asked Pa if he had seen any wolf tracks. He told her he had seen plenty and there were quite a few around the stable. "They won't stay where they can't kill anything to eat," Pa assured her. After breakfast Laura went out and had a look at those tracks for herself. She had never seen ones so huge.
That morning she helped Pa reinforce the stable, making its walls more solid. She handed Pa the nails as he pounded each board nice and tight. The winds blew strong and snow began to fall. At supper, in the warm house, Pa stated he didn't believe that the winters here were going to be so bad. After they ate and the dishes were done, Pa brought out the fiddle box. He played everybody's favorites and everyone sang and danced. The faster he played the faster they danced until he finally slowed it down with a waltz. It was long past the girls' bedtime when he placed the fiddle back in its box.
The girls hurried up the stairs and undressed near the stovepipe that came up from the room below. Shivering, they quickly changed into their underflannels and gowns and then cuddled together under the blankets until the blankets finally lost their chill. That night they didn't hear even one wolf howl.