Part 8 out of 9
as the Sergeant's, plunging, biting, kicking. The Indian ponies
could not be induced to approach. The uproar, however, only
increased. Guns began to go off, bullets could be heard whistling
overhead. Red Crow's voice apparently could make no impression upon
the maddened crowd of Indians. A minor Chief, White Horse by name,
having whirled in behind the Sergeant, seized hold of Mr.
Cadwaller's bridle and began to threaten him with excited
gesticulations. Mr. Cadwaller drew his gun.
"Let go that line, you blank blank redskin!" he roared, flourishing
In a moment, with a single plunge, the Inspector was at his side
and, flinging off the Indian, shouted:
"Put up that gun, Mr. Cadwaller! Quick!" Mr. Cadwaller hesitated.
"Sergeant Crisp, arrest that man!" The Inspector's voice rang out
like a trumpet. His gun covered Mr. Cadwaller.
"Give me that gun!" said the Sergeant.
Mr. Cadwaller handed over his gun.
"Let him go," said the Inspector to Sergeant Crisp. "He will
The Indians had gathered close about the group. White Horse, in
the centre, was talking fast and furious and pointing to Mr.
"Get the bunch off, Sergeant!" said the Inspector quietly. "I will
hold them here for a few minutes."
Quietly the Sergeant backed out of the circle, leaving the
Inspector and Mr. Cadwaller with White Horse and Red Crow in the
midst of the crowding, yelling Indians.
"White Horse say this man steal Bull Back's horses last fall!"
shouted Red Crow in the Inspector's ear.
"Too much noise here," said the Inspector, moving toward the Indian
camp and away from the corral and drawing the crowd with him.
"Tell your people to be quiet, Red Crow. I thought you were the
Stung by the taunt, Red Crow raised his rifle and fired into the
air. Then, standing high in his stirrups, he held up his hand and
called out a number of names. Instantly ten men rode to his side.
Again Red Crow spoke. The ten men rode out again among the crowd.
Immediately the shouting ceased.
"Good!" said the Inspector. "I see my brother is strong. Now,
where is Bull Back?"
The Chief called out a name. There was no response.
"Bull Back not here," he said.
"Then listen, my brother," said the Inspector earnestly. "This
man," pointing to Mr. Cadwaller, "waits with me at the Fort two
days to meet White Horse, Bull Back, and any Indians who know about
this man; and what is right will be done. I have spoken.
Farewell!" He gave his hand to Chief Red Crow. "My brother
knows," he added, "the Police do not lie."
So saying, he wheeled his horse and, with Mr. Cadwaller before him,
rode off after the others of the party, who had by this time gone
some distance up the trail.
For a few moments hesitation held the crowd, then with a loud cry
White Horse galloped up and again seized Mr. Cadwaller's bridle.
Instantly the Inspector covered him with his gun.
"Hold up your hands quick!" he said.
The Indian dropped the bridle rein. The Inspector handed his gun
to Mr. Cadwaller.
"Don't shoot till I speak or I shoot you!" he said sternly. Mr.
Cadwaller took the gun and covered the Indian. In a twinkling
White Horse found himself with handcuffs on his wrists and his
bridle line attached to the horn of the Inspector's saddle.
"Now give me that gun, Mr. Cadwaller, and here take your own--but
wait for the word. Forward!"
He had not gone a pace till he was surrounded by a score of angry
and determined Indians with levelled rifles. For the first time
the Inspector hesitated. Through the line of levelled rifles Chief
Red Crow rode up and in a grave but determined voice said:
"My brother is wrong. White Horse, chief. My young men not let
"Good!" said the Inspector, promptly making up his mind. "I let
him go now. In two days I come again and get him. The Police
So saying, he released White Horse and without further word, and
disregarding the angry looks and levelled rifles, rode slowly off
after his party. On the edge of the crowd he met Sergeant Crisp.
"Thought I'd better come back, Sir. It looked rather ugly for a
minute," said the Sergeant.
"Ride on," said the Inspector. "We will get our man to-morrow.
Steady, Mr. Cadwaller, not too fast." The Inspector slowed his
horse down to a walk, which he gradually increased to an easy lope
and so brought up with Cameron and the others.
Through the long evening they pressed forward till they came to the
Kootenay River, having crossed which they ventured to camp for the
After supper the Inspector announced his intention of riding on
to the Fort for reinforcements, and gave his instructions to the
"Sergeant Crisp," he said, "you will make an early start and bring
in the bunch to-morrow morning. Mr. Cadwaller, you remember you
are to remain at the Fort two days so that the charges brought by
White Horse may be investigated."
"What?" exclaimed Mr. Cadwaller. "Wait for them blank blank
devils? Say, Inspector, you don't mean that?"
"You heard me promise the Indians," said the Inspector.
"Why, yes. Mighty smart, too! But say, you were jest joshing,
"No, Sir," replied the Inspector. "The Police never break a
promise to white man or Indian."
Then Mr. Cadwaller cut loose for a few moments. He did not object
to waiting any length of time to oblige a friend, but that he
should delay his journey to answer the charges of an Indian,
variously and picturesquely described, was to him an unthinkable
"Sergeant Crisp, you will see to this," said the Inspector quietly
as he rode away.
Then Mr. Cadwaller began to laugh and continued laughing for
"By the holy poker, Sligh!" at last he exclaimed. "It's a joke.
It's a regular John Bull joke."
"Yes," said Mr. Sligh, while he cut a comfortable chew from his
black plug. "Good joke, too, but not on John. I guess that's how
five hundred police hold down--no, take care of--twenty thousand
And the latest recruit to Her Majesty's North West Mounted Police
straightened up till he could feel the collar of his tunic catch
him on the back of the neck and was conscious of a little thrill
running up his spine as he remembered that he was a member of that
THE MAKING OF BRAVES
It was to Cameron an extreme satisfaction to ride with some twenty
of his comrades behind White Horse, who, handcuffed and with bridle
reins tied to those of two troopers, and accompanied by Chief Red
Crow, Bull Back, and others of their tribe, made ignominious and
crestfallen entry into the Fort next day. It was hardly less of a
satisfaction to see Mr. Cadwaller exercise himself considerably in
making defence against the charges of Bull Back and his friends.
The defence was successful, and the American citizens departed to
Lone Pine, Montana, with their recovered horses and with a new and
higher regard for both the executive and administrative excellence
of Her Majesty's North West Mounted Police officers and men. Chief
Red Crow, too, returned to his band with a chastened mind, it
having been made clear to him that a chief who could not control
his young braves was not the kind of a chief the Great White Mother
desired to have in command of her Indian subjects. White Horse,
also, after three months sojourn in the cooling solitude of the
Police guard room, went back to his people a humbler and a wiser
The horse-stealing, however, went merrily on and the summer of 1884
stands in the records of the Police as the most trying period of
their history in the Northwest up to that date. The booming upon
the eastern and southern boundaries of Western Canada of the
incoming tide of humanity, hungry for land, awakened ominous echoes
in the little primitive settlements of half-breed people and
throughout the reservations of the wild Indian tribes as well.
Everywhere, without warning and without explanation, the surveyors'
flags and posts made appearance. Wild rumours ran through the
land, till every fluttering flag became the symbol of dispossession
and every gleaming post an emblem of tyrannous disregard of a
people's rights. The ancient aboriginal inhabitants of the western
plains and woods, too, had their grievances and their fears. With
phenomenal rapidity the buffalo had vanished from the plains once
black with their hundreds of thousands. With the buffalo vanished
the Indians' chief source of support, their food, their clothing,
their shelter, their chief article of barter. Bereft of these and
deprived at the same time of the supreme joy of existence, the
chase, bitten with cold, starved with hunger, fearful of the
future, they offered fertile soil for the seeds of rebellion.
A government more than usually obsessed with stupidity, as all
governments become at times, remained indifferent to appeals, deaf
to remonstrances, blind to danger signals, till through the remote
and isolated settlements of the vast west and among the tribes of
Indians, hunger-bitten and fearful for their future, a spirit of
unrest, of fear, of impatience of all authority, spread like a
secret plague from Prince Albert to the Crow's Nest and from the
Cypress Hills to Edmonton. A violent recrudescence of whiskey-
smuggling, horse-stealing, and cattle-rustling made the work of
administering the law throughout this vast territory one of
exceeding difficulty and one calling for promptitude, wisdom,
patience, and courage, of no ordinary quality. Added to all this,
the steady advance of the railroad into the new country, with its
huge construction camps, in whose wake followed the lawless hordes
of whiskey smugglers, tinhorn gamblers, thugs, and harlots, very
materially added to the dangers and difficulties of the situation
for the Police.
For the first month after enlistment Cameron was kept in close
touch with the Fort and spent his hours under the polishing hands
of the drill sergeant. From five in the morning till ten at night
the day's routine kept him on the grind. Hard work it was, but to
Cameron a continuous delight. For the first time in his life he
had a job that seemed worth a man's while, and one the mere routine
of which delighted his soul. He loved his horse and loved to care
for him, and, most of all, loved to ride him. Among his comrades
he found congenial spirits, both among the officers and the men.
Though discipline was strict, there was an utter absence of
anything like a spirit of petty bullying which too often is found
in military service; for in the first place the men were in very
many cases the equals and sometimes the superiors of the officers
both in culture and in breeding, and further, and very specially,
the nature of the work was such as to cultivate the spirit of true
comradeship. When officer and man ride side by side through rain
and shine, through burning heat and frost "Forty below," when they
eat out of the same pan and sleep in the same "dug-out," when they
stand back to back in the midst of a horde of howling savages, rank
comes to mean little and manhood much.
Between Inspector Dickson and Cameron a genuine friendship sprang
up; and after his first month was in, Cameron often found himself
the comrade of the Inspector in expeditions of special difficulty
where there was a call for intelligence and nerve. The reports of
these expeditions that stand upon the police record have as little
semblance of the deeds achieved as have stark and grinning
skeletons in the medical student's private cupboard to the living
moving bodies they once were. The records of these deeds are the
bare bones. The flesh and blood, the life and colour are to be
found only in the memories of those who were concerned in their
But even in these bony records there are to be seen frequent
entries in which the names of Inspector Dickson and Constable
Cameron stand side by side. For the Inspector was a man upon whom
the Commissioner and the Superintendent delighted to load their
more dangerous and delicate cases, and it was upon Cameron when it
was possible that the Inspector's choice for a comrade fell.
It was such a case as this that held the Commissioner and
Superintendent Crawford in anxious consultation far into a late
September night. When the consultation was over, Inspector Dickson
was called in and the result of this consultation laid before him.
"We have every reason to believe, as you well know, Inspector
Dickson," said the Commissioner, "that there is a secret and wide-
spread propagandum being carried on among our Indians, especially
among the Piegans, Bloods, and Blackfeet, with the purpose of
organizing rebellion in connection with the half-breed discontent
in the territories to the east of us. Riel, you know, has been
back for some time and we believe his agents are busy on every
reservation at present. This outbreak of horse-stealing and
whiskey-smuggling in so many parts of the country at the same time
is a mere blind to a more serious business, the hatching of a very
wide conspiracy. We know that the Crees and the Assiniboines are
negotiating with the half-breeds. Big Bear, Beardy, and Little
Pine are keen for a fight. There is some very powerful and secret
influence at work among our Indians here. We suspect that the
ex-Chief of the Bloods, Little Thunder, is the head of this
organization. A very dangerous and very clever Indian he is, as
you know. We have a charge of murder against him already, and if
we can arrest him and one or two others it would do much to break
up the gang, or at least to hold in check their organization work.
We want you to get quietly after this business, visit all the
reservations, obtain all information possible, and when you are
ready, strike. You will be quite unhampered in your movements and
the whole force will co-operate with you if necessary. We consider
this an extremely critical time and we must be prepared. Take a
man with you. Make your own choice."
"I expect we know the man the Inspector will choose," said
superintendent Crawford with a smile.
"Who is that?" asked the Commissioner.
"Constable Cameron, of course."
"Ah, yes, Cameron. You remember I predicted he would make good.
He has certainly fulfilled my expectation."
"He is a good man," said the Inspector quietly.
"Oh come, Inspector, you know you consider him the best all-round
man at this post," said the Superintendent.
"Well, you see, Sir, he is enthusiastic for the service, he works
hard and likes his work."
"Right you are!" exclaimed the Superintendent. "In the first
place, he is the strongest man on the force, then he is a dead
shot, a good man with a horse, and has developed an extraordinary
gift in tracking, and besides he is perfectly straight."
"Is that right, Inspector?"
"Yes," said the Inspector very quietly, though his eyes were
gleaming at the praise of his friend. "He is a good man, very
keen, very reliable, and of course afraid of nothing."
The Superintendent laughed quietly.
"You want him then, I suppose?"
"Yes," said the Inspector, "if it could be managed."
"I don't know," said the Commissioner. "That reminds me." He took
a letter from the file. "Read that," he said, "second page there.
it is a private letter from Superintendent Strong at Calgary."
The Inspector took the letter and read at the place indicated--
"Another thing. The handling of these railroad construction gangs
is no easy matter. We are pestered with whiskey-smugglers,
gamblers, and prostitutes till we don't know which way to turn.
As the work extends into the mountains and as the camps grow in
numbers the difficulty of control is very greatly increased. I
ought to have my force strengthened. Could you not immediately
spare me at least eight or ten good men? I would like that chap
Cameron, the man, you know, who caught the half-breed Louis in the
Sarcee camp and carried him out on his horse's neck--a very fine
bit of work. Inspector Dickson will tell you about him. I had it
from him. Could you spare Cameron? I would recommend him at once
as a sergeant."
The Inspector handed back the letter without comment.
"Well?" said the Commissioner.
"Cameron would do very well for the work," said the Inspector, "and
he deserves promotion."
"What was that Sarcee business, Inspector?" enquired the
Commissioner. "That must have been when I was down east."
"Oh," said the Inspector, "it was a very fine thing indeed of
Cameron. Louis 'the Breed' had been working the Bloods. We got on
his track and headed him up in the Sarcee camp. He is rather a
dangerous character and is related to the Sarcees. We expected
trouble in his arrest. We rode in and found the Indians, to the
number of a hundred and fifty or more, very considerably excited.
They objected strenuously to the arrest of the half-breed.
Constable Cameron and I were alone. We had left a party of men
further back over the hill. The half-breed brought it upon
himself. He was rash enough to make a sudden attack upon Cameron.
That is where he made his mistake. Before he knew where he was
Cameron slipped from his horse, caught him under the chin with a
very nice left-hander that laid him neatly out, swung him on to his
horse, and was out of the camp before the Indians knew what had
"The Inspector does not tell you," said Superintendent Crawford,
"how he stood off that bunch of Sarcees and held them where they
were till Cameron was safe with his man over the hill. But it
was a very clever bit of work, and, if I may say it, deserves
"I should like to give you Cameron if it were possible," said
the Commissioner, "but this railroad business is one of great
difficulty and Superintendent Strong is not the man to ask for
assistance unless he is in pretty desperate straits. An
unintelligent or reckless man would be worse than useless."
"How would it do," suggested the Superintendent, "to allow Cameron
in the meantime to accompany the Inspector? Then later we might
send him to Superintendent Strong."
Reporting this arrangement to Cameron a little later, the Inspector
"How would you like to have a turn in the mountains? You would
find Superintendent Strong a fine officer."
"I desire no change in that regard," replied Cameron. "But,
curiously enough, I have a letter this very mail that has a bearing
upon this matter. Here it is. It is from an old college friend of
mine, Dr. Martin."
The Inspector took the letter and read--
"I have got myself used up, too great devotion to scientific
research; hence I am accepting an offer from the railroad people
for work in the mountains. I leave in a week. Think of it! The
muck and the ruck, the execrable grub and worse drink! I shall
have to work my passage on hand cars and doubtless by tie pass. My
hands will lose all their polish. However, there may be some fun
and likely some good practice. I see they are blowing themselves
up at a great rate. Then, too, there is the prospective joy of
seeing you, of whom quite wonderful tales have floated east to us.
I am told you are in direct line for the position of the High Chief
Muck-a-muck of the Force. Look me up in Superintendent Strong's
division. I believe he is the bulwark of the Empire in my
"A letter from the old burgh across the pond tells me your governor
is far from well. Awfully sorry to hear it. It is rough on your
sister, to whom, when you write, remember your humble servant.
"I am bringing out two nurses with me, both your devotees. Look
out for squalls. If you get shot up see that you select a locality
where the medical attendance and nursing are 'A 1'."
"It would be awfully good to see the old boy," said Cameron as he
took the letter from the Inspector. "He is a decent chap and quite
up-to-date in his profession."
"What about the nurses?" enquired the Inspector gravely.
"Oh, I don't know them. Never knew but one. A good bright little
soul she was. Saw me through a typhoid trip. Little too clever
sometimes," he added, remembering the day when she had taken her
fun out of the slow-footed, slow-minded farmer's daughter.
"Well," said the Inspector, "we shall possibly come across them in
our round-up. This is rather a big game, a very big game and one
A bigger game it turned out than any of the players knew, bigger in
its immediate sweep and in its nationwide issues.
For three months they swept the plains, haunting the reservations
at unexpected moments. But though they found not a few horses and
cattle whose obliterated brands seemed to warrant confiscation, and
though there were signs for the instructed eye of evil doings in
many an Indian camp, yet there was nothing connected with the
larger game upon which the Inspector of Police could lay his hand.
Among the Bloods there were frequent sun-dances where many braves
were made and much firewater drunk with consequent blood-letting.
Red Crow deprecated these occurrences, but confessed his
powerlessness to prevent the flow of either firewater or of blood.
A private conversation with the Inspector left with the Chief some
food for thought, however, and resulted in the cropping of the mane
of White Horse, of whose comings and goings the Inspector was
On the Blackfeet reservation they ran into a great pow-wow of
chiefs from far and near, to which old Crowfoot invited the
representatives of the Great White Mother with impressive
cordiality, an invitation, however, which the Inspector, such was
his strenuous hunt for stolen horses, was forced regretfully to
"Too smooth, old boy, too smooth!" was the Inspector's comment as
they rode off. "There are doings there without doubt. Did you see
the Cree and the Assiniboine?"
"I could not pick them out," said Cameron, "but I saw Louis the
"Ah, you did! He needs another term at the Police sanatarium."
They looked in upon the Sarcees and were relieved to find them
frankly hostile. They had not forgotten the last visit of the
Inspector and his friend.
"That's better," remarked the Inspector as they left the
reservation. "Neither the hostile Indian nor the noisy Indian is
dangerous. When he gets smooth and quiet watch him, like old
Crowfoot. Sly old boy he is! But he will wait till he sees which
way the cat jumps. He is no leader of lost causes."
At Morleyville they breathed a different atmosphere. They felt
themselves to be among friends. The hand of the missionary here
was upon the helm of government and the spirit of the missionary
was the spirit of the tribe.
"Any trouble?" enquired the Inspector.
"We have a great many visitors these days," said the missionary.
"And some of our young men don't like hunger, and the offer of a
full feast makes sweet music in their ears."
"No, no, the sun-dances are all past. Our people are no longer
"Good man!" was the Inspector's comment as they took up the trail
again toward the mountains. "And with quite a sufficient amount
of the wisdom of the serpent in his guileless heart. We need not
watch the Stonies. Here's a spot at least where religion pays.
And a mighty good thing for us just now," added the inspector.
"These Stonies in the old days were perfect devils for fighting.
They are a mountain people and for generations kept the passes
against all comers. But Macdougall has changed all that."
Leaving the reservation, they came upon the line of the railway.
"There lies my old trail," said Cameron. "And my last camp was
only about two miles west of here."
"It was somewhere here that Raven fell in with you?"
"No, some ten miles off the line, down the old Kootenay trail."
"Aha!" said the Inspector. "It might not be a bad idea to beat up
that same old trail. It is quite possible that we might fall in
with your old friends."
"It would certainly be a great pleasure," replied Cameron, "to
conduct Mr. Raven and his Indian friend over this same trail as
they did me some nine months ago."
"We will take a chance on it," said the Inspector. "We lose time
going back the other way."
Upon the site of McIvor's survey camp they found camped a large
construction gang. Between the lines of tents, for the camp was
ordered in streets like a city, they rode till they came to the
headquarters of the Police, and enquired for the Superintendent.
The Superintendent had gone up the line, the Sergeant informed
them, following the larger construction gangs. The Sergeant and
two men had some fifty miles of line under patrol, with some ten
camps of various kinds on the line and in the woods, and in
addition they had the care of that double stream of humanity
flowing in and flowing out without ceasing day or night.
As the Inspector stepped inside the Police tent Cameron's attention
was arrested by the sign "Hospital" upon a large double-roofed tent
set on a wooden floor and guyed with more than ordinary care.
"Wonder if old Martin is anywhere about," he said to himself as he
rode across to the open door.
"Is Dr. Martin in?" he enquired of a Chinaman, who appeared from a
tent at the rear.
"Doc Matin go 'way 'long tlain."
"When will he come back?" demanded Cameron.
"Donno. See missy woman."
So saying, he disappeared into the tent while Cameron waited.
"You wish to see the doctor? He has gone west. Oh! Why, it--"
Cameron was off his horse, standing with his hat in one hand, the
other outstretched toward the speaker.
"Why! it cannot be!--it is--my patient." The little nurse had his
hand in both of hers. "Oh, you great big monster soldier! Do you
know how fine you look?"
"No," replied Cameron, "but I do know how perfectly fine you look."
"Well, don't devour me. You look dangerous."
"I should truly love one little bite."
"Oh, Mr. Cameron, stop! You terrible man! Right in the open
street!" The little nurse's cheeks flamed red as she quickly
glanced about her. "What would Dr. Martin say?"
"Dr. Martin!" Cameron laughed. "Besides, I couldn't help it."
"Oh, I am so glad!"
"Thank you," said Cameron.
"I mean I am so glad to see you. They told us you would be coming
to join us. And now they are gone. What a pity! They will be so
"Who, pray, will be thus blighted?"
"Oh, the doctor I mean, and--and"--here her eyes danced
mischievously--"the other nurse, of course. But you will be going
"No, south, to-day, and in a few minutes. Here comes the Inspector.
May I present him?"
The little nurse's snapping eyes glowed with pleasure as they ran
over the tall figure of the Inspector and rested upon his fine
clean-cut face. The Inspector had just made his farewell to the
Sergeant preparatory to an immediate departure, but it was a full
half hour before they rose from the dainty tea table where the
little nurse had made them afternoon tea from her own dainty tea
"It makes me think of home," said the Inspector with a sigh as he
bent over the little nurse's hand in gratitude. "My first real
afternoon tea in ten years."
"Poor man!" said the nurse. "Come again."
"Ah, if I could!"
"But YOU are coming?" said the little nurse to Cameron as he held
her hand in farewell. "I heard the doctor say you were coming and
we are quite wild with impatience over it."
Cameron looked at the Inspector.
"I had thought of keeping Cameron at Macleod," said the latter.
"But now I can hardly have the heart to do so."
"Oh, you needn't look at me so," said the little nurse with a saucy
toss of her head. "He wouldn't bother himself about me, but--but--
there is another. No, I won't tell him." And she laughed gaily.
Cameron stood mystified.
"Another? There is old Martin of course, but there is no other."
The little nurse laughed, this time scornfully.
"Old Martin indeed! He is making a shameless pretence of ignorance,
"Disgraceful bluff I call it," cried the Inspector.
"Who can it be?" said Cameron. "I really don't know any nurse. Of
course it can't be--Mandy--Miss Haley?" He laughed a loud laugh
almost of derision as he made the suggestion.
"Ah, he's got it!" cried the nurse, clapping her hands. "As if he
"Good Heavens!" exclaimed Cameron. "You don't mean to tell me that
Mandy-- What is poor Mandy doing here? Cooking?"
"Cooking indeed!" exclaimed the nurse. "Cooking indeed! Just let
the men in this camp, from John here," indicating the Chinaman at
the rear of the tent, "to the Sergeant yonder, hear you by the
faintest tone indicate anything but adoration for Nurse Haley, and
you will need the whole Police Force to deliver you from their
"Good Heavens!" said Cameron in an undertone. "A nurse! With
those hands!" He shuddered. "I mean, of course--you know--she's
awfully good-hearted and all that, but as a nurse you know she is
The little nurse laughed long and joyously.
"Oh, this is fun! I wish Dr. Martin could hear you. You forget,
Sir, that for a year and a half she has had the benefit of my
example and tuition."
"Think of that, Cameron!" murmured the Inspector reproachfully.
But Cameron only shook his head.
"Good-bye!" he said. "No, I don't think I pine for mountain
scenery. Remember me to Martin and to Man--to Nurse Haley."
"Good-bye!" said the little nurse. "I have a good mind to tell
them what you said. I may. Just wait, though. Some day you will
very humbly beg my pardon for that slight upon my assistant."
"Slight? Believe me, I mean none. I would be an awful cad if I
did. But--well, you know as well as I do that, good soul as Mandy
is, she is in many ways impossible."
"Do I?" Again the joyous laugh pealed out. "Well, well, come back
and see." And waving her hand she stood to watch them down the
"Jolly little girl," said the Inspector, as they turned from the
railway tote road down the coulee into the Kootenay trail. "But
who is this other?"
"Oh," said Cameron impatiently, "I feel like a beastly cad. She's
the daughter of the farmer where I spent a summer in Ontario, a
good simple-hearted girl, but awfully--well--crude, you know. And
yet--" Cameron's speech faded into silence, for his memory played
a trick upon him, and again he was standing in the orchard on that
sunny autumn day looking into a pair of wonderful eyes, and,
remembering the eyes, he forgot his speech.
"Ah, yes," said the Inspector. "I understand."
"No, you don't," said Cameron almost rudely. "You would have to
see her first. By Jove!" He broke into a laugh. "It is a joke
with a vengeance," and relapsed into silence that lasted for some
That night they slept in the old lumber camp, and the afternoon of
the second day found them skirting the Crow's Nest.
"We've had no luck this trip," growled the Inspector, for now they
were facing toward home.
"Listen!" said Cameron, pulling up his horse sharply. Down the
pass the faraway beat of a drum was heard. It was the steady throb
of the tom-tom rising and falling with rhythmic regularity.
"Sun-dance," said the Inspector, as near to excitement as he
generally allowed himself. "Piegans."
"Where?" said Cameron.
"In the sun-dance canyon," answered the Inspector. "I believe in
my soul we shall see something now. Must be two miles off. Come
Though late in December the ground was still unfrozen and the new-
made government trail gave soft footing to their horses. And so
without fear of detection they loped briskly along till they began
to hear rising above the throb of the tom-tom the weird chant of
the Indian sun-dancers.
"They are right down in the canyon," said the Inspector. "I know
the spot well. We can see them from the top. This is their most
sacred place and there is doubtless something big going on."
They left the main trail and, dismounting, led their horses through
the scrubby woods, which were thick enough to give them cover
without impeding very materially their progress. Within a hundred
yards of the top they tied their horses in the thicket and climbed
the slight ascent. Crawling on hands and knees to the lip of the
canyon, they looked down upon a scene seldom witnessed by the eyes
of white men. The canyon was a long narrow valley, whose rocky
sides, covered with underbrush, rose some sixty feet from a little
plain about fifty yards wide. The little plain was filled with the
Indian encampment. At one end a huge fire blazed. At the other,
and some fifty yards away, the lodges were set in a semicircle,
reaching from side to side of the canyon, and in front of the
lodges were a mass of Indian warriors, squatting on their hunkers,
beating time, some with tom-toms, others with their hands, to the
weirdly monotonous chant, that rose and fell in response to the
gesticulations of one who appeared to be their leader. In the
centre of the plain stood a post and round this two circles of
dancers leaped and swayed. In the outer circle the men, with clubs
and rifles in their hands, recited with pantomimic gestures their
glorious deeds in the war or in the chase. The inner circle
presented a ghastly and horrid spectacle. It was composed of
younger men, naked and painted, some of whom were held to the top
of the post by long thongs of buffalo hide attached to skewers
thrust through the muscles of the breast or back. Upon these
thongs they swayed and threw themselves in frantic attempts to
break free. With others the skewers were attached by thongs to
buffalo skulls, stones or heavy blocks of wood, which, as they
danced and leaped, tore at the bleeding flesh. Round and round the
post the naked painted Indians leaped, lurching and swaying from
side to side in their desperate efforts to drag themselves free
from those tearing skewers, while round them from the dancing
circle and from the mass of Indians squatted on the ground rose
the weird, maddening, savage chant to the accompaniment of their
beating hands and throbbing drums.
"This is a big dance," said the Inspector, subduing his voice to an
undertone, though in the din there was little chance of his being
heard. "See! many braves have been made already," he added,
pointing to a place on one side of the fire where a number of forms
could be seen, some lying flat, some rolling upon the earth, but
all apparently more or less in a stupor.
Madder and madder grew the drums, higher and higher rose the chant.
Now and then an older warrior from the squatting circle would fling
his blanket aside and, waving his rifle high in the air, would join
with loud cries and wild gesticulations the outer circle of
"It is a big thing this," said the Inspector again. "No squaws,
you see, and all in war paint. They mean business. We must get
Cameron gripped him by the arm.
"Look!" he said, pointing to a group of Indians standing at a
little distance beyond the lodges. "Little Thunder and Raven!"
"Yes, by Jove!" said the Inspector. "And White Horse, and Louis
the Breed and Rainy Cloud of the Blackfeet. A couple of Sarcee
chaps, I see, too, some Piegans and Bloods; the rest are Crees and
Assiniboines. The whole bunch are here. Jove, what a killing if
we could get them! Let's work nearer. Who is that speaking to
"That's Raven," said Cameron, "and I should like to get my hands on
"Steady now," said the Inspector. "We must make no mistake."
They worked along the top of the ravine, crawling through the
bushes, till they were immediately over the little group of which
Raven was the centre. Raven was still speaking, the half-breed
interpreting to the Crees and the Assiniboines, and now and then,
as the noise from the chanting, drumming Indians subsided, the
policemen could catch a few words. After Raven had finished Little
Thunder made reply, apparently in strenuous opposition. Again
Raven spoke and again Little Thunder made reply. The dispute waxed
warm. Little Thunder's former attitude towards Raven appeared to
be entirely changed. The old subservience was gone. The Indian
stood now as a Chief among his people and as such was recognized in
that company. He spoke with a haughty pride of conscious strength
and authority. He was striving to bring Raven to his way of
thinking. At length Raven appeared to throw down his ultimatum.
"No!" he cried, and his voice rang up clear through the din. "You
are fools! You are like little partridges trying to frighten the
hunter. The Great White Mother has soldiers like the leaves of the
trees. I know, for I have seen them. Do not listen to this man!"
pointing to Little Thunder. "Anger has made him mad. The Police
with their big guns will blow you to pieces like this." He seized
a bunch of dead leaves, ground them in his hands and puffed the
fragments in their faces.
The half-breed and Little Thunder were beside themselves with rage.
Long and loud they harangued the group about them. Only a little
of their meaning could the Inspector gather, but enough to let him
know that they were looking down upon a group of conspirators and
that plans for a widespread rebellion were being laid before them.
Through the harangues of Little Thunder and Louis the half-breed
Raven stood calmly regarding them, his hands on his hips. He knew
well, as did the men watching from above, that all that stood
between him and death were those same two hands and the revolvers
in his belt, whose butts were snugly nosing up to his fingers.
Little Thunder had too often seen those fingers close and do their
deadly work while an eyelid might wink to venture any hasty move.
"Is that all?" said Raven at last.
Little Thunder made one final appeal, working himself up into a
fine frenzy of passion. Then Raven made reply.
"Listen to me!" he said. "It is all folly, mad folly! And
besides," and here his voice rang out like a trumpet, "I am for
the Queen, God bless her!" His figure straightened up, his hands
dropped on the butts of his guns.
"By Jove!" exclaimed Cameron. "Isn't that great?"
"Very fine, indeed," said the Inspector softly. Both men's guns
were lined upon the conspirators.
Then the half-breed spoke, shrugging his shoulders in contempt.
"Let heem go. Bah! No good." He spat upon the ground.
Raven stood as he was for a few moments, smiling.
"Good-bye, all," he said. "Bon jour, Louis. Let no man move! Let
no man move! I never need to shoot at a man twice. Little Thunder
knows. And don't follow!" he added. "I shall be waiting behind
He slowly backed away from the group, turned in behind a sheltering
rock, then swiftly began to climb the rocky sides of the canyon.
The moment he was out of sight Little Thunder dodged in behind the
ledges, found his rifle, and, making a wide detour, began to climb
the side of the ravine at an angle which would cut off Raven's
retreat. All this took place in full view of the two watchers
"Let's get that devil," said the Inspector. But Cameron was
already gone. Swiftly along the lip of the canyon Cameron ran and
worked his way down the side till he stood just over the sloping
ledge upon which the Indian was crouched and waiting. Along this
lodge came the unconscious Raven, softly whistling to himself his
"Three cheers for the red, white and blue."
There was no way of warning him. Three steps more and he would be
within range. The Inspector raised his gun and drew a bead upon
the crouching Indian.
"Wait!" whispered Cameron. "Don't shoot. It will bring them all
down on us." Gathering himself together as he spoke, he vaulted
clear over the edge of the rock and dropped fair upon the shoulders
of the Indian below, knocking the breath completely out of him and
bearing him flat to the rock. Like a flash Cameron's hand was on
the Indian's throat so that he could make no outcry. A moment
later Raven came in view. Swifter than light his guns were before
his face and levelled at Cameron.
"Don't shoot!" said the Inspector quietly from above. "I have you
Perilous as the situation was, Cameron was conscious only of the
humourous side of it and burst into a laugh.
"Come here, Raven," he said, "and help me to tie up this fellow."
Slowly Raven moved forward.
"Why, by all the gods! If it isn't our long-lost friend, Cameron,"
he said softly, putting up his guns. "All right, old man," he
added, nodding up at the Inspector. "Now, what's all this? What?
Little Thunder? So! Then I fancy I owe my life to you, Cameron."
Cameron pointed to Little Thunder's gun. Raven stood looking down
upon the Indian, who was recovering his wind and his senses. His
face suddenly darkened.
"You treacherous dog! Well, we are now nearly quits. Once you
saved my life, now you would have taken it."
Meantime Cameron had handcuffed Little Thunder.
"Up!" he said, prodding him with his revolver. "And not a sound!"
Keeping within cover of the bushes, they scrambled up the ravine
side. As they reached the top the Indian with a mighty wrench tore
himself from Cameron's grip and plunged into the thicket. Before
he had taken a second step, however, the Inspector was upon him
like a tiger and bore him to the ground.
"Will you go quietly," said the Inspector, "or must we knock you on
the head?" He raised his pistol over the Indian as he spoke.
"I go," grunted the Indian solemnly.
"Come, then," said the Inspector, "we'll give you one chance more.
Where's your friend?" he added, looking about him. But Raven was
"I am just as glad," said Cameron, remembering Raven's declaration
of allegiance a few moments before. "He wasn't too bad a chap
after all. We have this devil anyhow."
"Quick, now," said the Inspector. "We have not a moment to lose.
This is an important capture. How the deuce we are to get him to
the Fort I don't know."
Through the bushes they hurried their prisoner, threatening him
with their guns. When they came to their horses they were amazed
to find Little Thunder's pony beside their own and on the
Inspector's saddle a slip of paper upon which in the fading light
they found inscribed "One good turn deserves another. With Mr.
"By Jove, he's a trump!" said the Inspector. "I'd like to get him,
but all the same--"
And so they rode off to the Fort.
The railway construction had reached the Beaver, and from Laggan
westward the construction gangs were strewn along the line in
straggling camps, straggling because, though the tents of the
railway men were set in orderly precision, the crowds of camp-
followers spread themselves hither and thither in disorderly
confusion around the outskirts of the camp.
To Cameron, who for a month had been attached to Superintendent
Strong's division, the life was full of movement and colour. The
two constables and Sergeant Ferry found the duty of keeping order
among the navvies, but more especially among the outlaw herd that
lay in wait to fling themselves upon their monthly pay like wolves
upon a kill, sufficiently arduous to fill to repletion the hours of
the day and often of the night.
The hospital tent where the little nurse reigned supreme became to
Cameron and to the Sergeant as well a place of refuge and relief.
Nurse Haley was in charge further down the line.
The post had just come in and with it a letter for Constable
Cameron. It was from Inspector Dickson.
"You will be interested to know," it ran, "that when I returned
from Stand Off two days ago I found that Little Thunder, who had
been waiting here for his hanging next month, had escaped. How,
was a mystery to everybody; but when I learned that a stranger had
been at the Fort and had called upon the Superintendent with a tale
of horse-stealing, had asked to see Little Thunder and identified
him as undoubtedly the thief, and had left that same day riding a
particularly fine black broncho, I made a guess that we had been
honoured by a visit from your friend Raven. That guess was
confirmed as correct by a little note which I found waiting me from
this same gentleman explaining Little Thunder's absence as being
due to Raven's unwillingness to see a man go to the gallows who had
once saved his life, but conveying the assurance that the Indian
was leaving the country for good and would trouble us no more. The
Superintendent, who seems to have been captured by your friend's
charm of manner, does not appear to be unduly worried and holds the
opinion that we are well rid of Little Thunder. But I venture to
hold a different opinion, namely, that we shall yet hear from that
Indian brave before the winter is over.
"Things are quiet on the reservations--altogether too quiet. The
Indians are so exceptionally well behaved that there is no excuse
for arresting any suspects, so White Horse, Rainy Cloud, those
Piegan chaps, and the rest of them are allowed to wander about at
will. The country is full of Indian and half-breed runners and
nightly pow-wows are the vogue everywhere. Old Crowfoot, I am
convinced, is playing a deep game and is simply waiting the fitting
moment to strike.
"How is the little nurse? Present my duty to her and to that other
nurse over whom hangs so deep a mystery."
Cameron folded up his letter and imparted some of the news to the
"That old Crowfoot is a deep one, sure enough," said Sergeant Ferry.
"It takes our Chief here to bring him to time. Superintendent
Strong has the distinction of being the only man that ever tamed old
Crowfoot. Have you never heard of it? No? Well, of course, we
don't talk about these things. I was there though, and for cold
iron nerve I never saw anything like it. It was a bad half-breed,"
continued Sergeant Ferry, who, when he found a congenial and safe
companion, loved to spin a yarn--"a bad half-breed who had been
arrested away down the line, jumped off the train and got away to
the Blackfeet. The Commissioner happened to be in Calgary and
asked the Superintendent himself to see about the capture of this
desperado. So with a couple of us mounted and another driving a
buckboard we made for Chief Crowfoot's encampment. It was a black
night and raining a steady drizzle. We lay on the edge of the camp
for a couple of hours in the rain and then at early dawn we rode in.
It took the Superintendent about two minutes to locate Crowfoot's
tent, and, leaving us outside, he walked straight in. There was our
man, as large as life, in the place of honour beside old Crowfoot.
The interpreter, who was scared to death, afterwards told me all
"'I want this man,' said the Superintendent, hardly waiting to say
good-day to the old Chief.
"Crowfoot was right up and ready for a fight. The Superintendent,
without ever letting go the half-breed's shoulder, set out the
case. Meantime the Indians had gathered in hundreds about the tent
outside, all armed, and wild for blood, you bet. I could hear the
Superintendent making his statement. All at once he stopped and
out he came with his man by the collar, old Crowfoot after him in a
fury, but afraid to give the signal of attack. The Indians were
keen to get at us, but the old Chief had his men in hand all right.
"'Don't think you will not get justice,' said the Superintendent.
'You come yourself and see. Here's a pass for you on the railroad
and for any three of your men. But let me warn you that if one
hair of my men is touched, it will be a bad day for you, Crowfoot,
and for your band.'
"He bundled his man into the buckboard and sent him off. The
Superintendent and I waited on horseback in parley with old
Crowfoot till the buckboard was over the hill. Such a half hour I
never expect to see again. I felt like a man standing over an open
keg of gunpowder with a lighted match. Any moment a spark might
fall, and then good-bye. And it is this same nerve of his that
holds down these camps along this line. Here we are with twenty-
five men from Laggan to Beaver keeping order among twenty-five
hundred railroad navvies, not a bad lot, and twenty-five hundred
others, the scum, the very devil's scum from across the line, and
not a murder all these months. Whiskey, of course, but all under
cover. I tell you, he's put the fear of death on all that tinhorn
bunch that hang around these camps."
"There doesn't seem to be much trouble just now," remarked Cameron.
"Trouble? There may be the biggest kind of trouble any day. Some
of these contractors are slow in their pay. They expect men to
wait a month or two. That makes them mad and the tinhorn bunch
keep stirring up trouble. Might be a strike any time, and then
look out. But our Chief will be ready for them. He won't stand
any nonsense, you bet."
At this point in the Sergeant's rambling yarn the door was flung
open and a man called breathlessly, "Man killed!"
"How is that?" cried the Sergeant, springing to buckle on his belt.
"An accident--car ran away--down the dump."
"They are altogether too flip with those cars," growled the
Sergeant. "Come on!"
They ran down the road and toward the railroad dump where they saw
a crowd of men. The Sergeant, followed by Cameron, pushed his way
through and found a number of navvies frantically tearing at a pile
of jagged blocks of rock under which could be seen a human body.
It took only a few minutes to remove the rocks and to discover
lying there a young man, a mere lad, from whose mangled and
bleeding body the life appeared to have fled.
As they stood about him, a huge giant of a man came tearing his way
through the crowd, pushing men to right and left.
"Let me see him," he cried, dropping on his knees. "Oh Jack, lad,
they have done for you this time."
As he spoke the boy opened his eyes, looked upon the face of his
friend, smiled and lay still. Then the Sergeant took command.
"Is the doctor back, does anyone know?"
"No, he's up the line yet. He is coming in on number seven."
"Well, we must get this man to the hospital. Here, you," he said,
touching a man on the arm, "run and tell the nurse we are bringing
a wounded man."
They improvised a stretcher and laid the mangled form upon it the
blood streaming from wounds in his legs and trickling from his
"Here, two men are better than four. Cameron, you take the head,
and you," pointing to Jack's friend, "take his feet. Steady now!
I'll just go before. This is a ghastly sight."
At the door of the hospital tent the little nurse met them, pale,
but ready for service.
"Oh, my poor boy!" she cried, as she saw the white face. "This
way, Sergeant," she added, passing into a smaller tent at one side
of the hospital. "Oh, Mr. Cameron, is that you? I am glad you are
"Has Nurse Haley come?" enquired the Sergeant.
"Yes, she came in last night, thank goodness. Here, on this table,
Sergeant. Oh I wish the doctor were here! Now we must lift him
on to this stretcher. Ah, here's Nurse Haley," she added in a
relieved voice, and before Cameron was aware, a girl in a nurse's
uniform stood by him and appeared quietly to take command.
"Here Sergeant," she said, "two men take his feet." She put her
arms under the boy's shoulder and gently and with apparent ease,
assisted by the others, lifted him to the table. "A little
further--there. Now you are easier, aren't you?" she said, smiling
down into the lad's face. Her voice was low and soft and full
"Yes, thank you," said the boy, biting back his groans and with a
pitiful attempt at a smile.
"You're fine now, Jack. You'll soon be fixed up now," said his
"Yes Pete, I'm all right, I know."
"Oh, I wish the doctor were here!" groaned the little nurse.
"What about a hypo?" enquired Nurse Haley quietly.
"Yes, yes, give him one."
Cameron's eyes followed the firm, swift-moving fingers as they
deftly gave the hypodermic.
"Now we must get this bleeding stopped," she said.
"Get them all out, Sergeant, please," said the little nurse. "One
or two will do to help us. You stay, Mr. Cameron."
At the mention of his name Nurse Haley, who had been busy preparing
bandages, dropped them, turned, and for the first time looked
Cameron in the face.
"Is it you?" she said softly, and gave him her hand, and, as more
than once before, Cameron found himself suddenly forgetting all the
world. He was looking into her eyes, blue, deep, wonderful.
It was only for a single moment that his eyes held hers, but to him
it seemed as if he had been in some far away land. Without a
single word of greeting he allowed her to withdraw her hand.
Wonder, and something he could not understand, held him dumb.
For the next half hour he obeyed orders, moving as in a dream,
assisting the nurses in their work; and in a dream he went away to
his own quarters and thence out and over the dump and along the
tote road that led through the straggling shacks and across the
river into the forest beyond. But of neither river nor forest was
he aware. Before his eyes there floated an illusive vision of
masses of fluffy golden hair above a face of radiant purity, of
deft fingers moving in swift and sure precision as they wound the
white rolls of bandages round bloody and broken flesh, of two round
capable arms whose lines suggested strength and beauty, of a firm
knit, pliant body that moved with easy sinuous grace, of eyes--but
ever at the eyes he paused, forgetting all else, till, recalling
himself, he began again, striving to catch and hold that radiant,
bewildering, illusive vision. That was a sufficiently maddening
process, but to relate that vision of radiant efficient strength
and grace to the one he carried of the farmer's daughter with her
dun-coloured straggling hair, her muddy complexion, her stupid
face, her clumsy, grimy hands and heavy feet, her sloppy figure,
was quite impossible. After long and strenuous attempts he gave up
"Mandy!" he exclaimed aloud to the forest trees. "That Mandy!
What's gone wrong with my eyes, or am I clean off my head? I will
go back," he said with sudden resolution, "and take another look."
Straight back he walked to the hospital, but at the door he paused.
Why was he there? He had no excuse to offer and without excuse he
felt he could not enter. He was acting like a fool. He turned
away and once more sought his quarters, disgusted with himself that
he should be disturbed by the thought of Mandy Haley or that it
should cause him a moment's embarrassment to walk into her presence
with or without excuse, determinedly he set himself to regain his
one-time attitude of mind toward the girl. With little difficulty
he recalled his sense of superiority, his kindly pity, his desire
to protect her crude simplicity from those who might do her harm.
With a vision of that Mandy before him, the drudge of the farm, the
butt of Perkins' jokes, the object of pity for the neighbourhood,
he could readily summon up all the feelings he had at one time
considered it the correct and rather fine thing to cherish for her.
But for this young nurse, so thoroughly furnished and fit, and so
obviously able to care for herself, these feelings would not come.
Indeed, it made him squirm to remember how in his farewell in the
orchard he had held her hand in gentle pity for her foolish and all
too evident infatuation for his exalted and superior self. His
groan of self-disgust he hastily merged into a cough, for the
Sergeant had his eyes upon him. Indeed, the Sergeant did not help
his state of mind, for he persisted in executing a continuous fugue
of ecstatic praise of Nurse Haley in various keys and tempos, her
pluck, her cleverness, her skill, her patience, her jolly laugh,
her voice, her eyes. To her eyes the Sergeant ever kept harking
back as to the main motif of his fugue, till Cameron would have
dearly loved to chuck him and his fugue out of doors.
He was saved from deeds of desperate violence by a voice at the
"Letta fo' Mis Camelon!"
"Hello, Cameron!" exclaimed the Sergeant, handing him the note.
"You're in luck." There was no mistaking the jealousy in the
"Oh, hang it!" said Cameron as he read the note.
"Who?" enquired the Sergeant eagerly.
"Me. I say, you go in my place."
The Sergeant swore at him frankly and earnestly.
"All right John," said Cameron rather ungraciously.
"You come?" enquired the Chinaman.
"Yes, I'll come."
"All lite!" said John, turning away with his message.
"Confound the thing!" growled Cameron.
"Oh come, you needn't put up any bluff with me, you know," said the
But Cameron made no reply. He felt he was not ready for the
interview before him. He was distinctly conscious of a feeling of
nervous embarrassment, which to a man of experience is disconcerting
and annoying. He could not make up his mind as to the attitude
which it would be wise and proper for him to assume toward--ah--
Nurse Haley. Why not resume relations at the point at which they
were broken off in the orchard that September afternoon a year and a
half ago? Why not? Mandy was apparently greatly changed, greatly
improved. Well, he was delighted at the improvement, and he would
frankly let her see his pleasure and approval. There was no need
for embarrassment. Pshaw! Embarrassment? He felt none.
And yet as he stood at the door of the nurses' tent he was
disquieted to find himself nervously wondering what in thunder he
should talk about. As it turned out there was no cause for
nervousness on this score. The little nurse and the doctor--Nurse
Haley being on duty--kept the stream of talk rippling and sparkling
in an unbroken flow. Whenever a pause did occur they began afresh
with Cameron and his achievements, of which they strove to make him
talk. But they ever returned to their own work among the sick and
wounded of the camps, and as often as they touched this theme the
pivot of their talk became Nurse Haley, till Cameron began to
suspect design and became wrathful. They were talking at him and
were taking a rise out of him. He would show them their error.
He at once became brilliant.
In the midst of his scintillation he abruptly paused and sat
listening. Through the tent walls came the sound of singing, low-
toned, rich, penetrating. He had no need to ask about that voice.
In silence they looked at him and at each other.
"We're going home, no more to roam,
No more to sin and sorrow,
No more to wear the brow of care,
We're going home to-morrow.
"We're going home; we're going home;
We're going home to-morrow."
Softer and softer grew the music. At last the voice fell silent.
Then Nurse Haley appeared, radiant, fresh, and sweet as a clover
field with the morning dew upon it, but with a light as of another
world upon her face.
With the spell of her voice, of her eyes, of her radiant face upon
him, Cameron's scintillation faded and snuffed out. He felt like a
boy at his first party and enraged at himself for so feeling. How
bright she was, how pure her face under the brown gold hair, how
dainty the bloom upon her cheek, and that voice of hers, and the
firm lithe body with curving lines of budding womanhood, grace in
every curve and movement! The Mandy of old faded from his mind.
Have I seen you before? And where? And how long ago? And what's
happening to me? With these questions he vexed his soul while he
strove to keep track of the conversation between the three.
A call from the other tent summoned Nurse Haley.
"Let me go instead," cried the little nurse eagerly. But, light-
footed as a deer, Mandy was already gone.
When the tent flap had fallen behind her Cameron pushed back his
plate, leaned forward upon the table and, looking the little nurse
full in the face, said:
"Now, it's no use carrying this on. What have you done to her?"
And the little nurse laughed her brightest and most joyous laugh.
"What has she done to us, you mean."
"No. Come now, take pity on a fellow. I left her--well--you know
what. And now--how has this been accomplished?"
"Soul, my boy," said the doctor emphatically, "and the hairdresser
But Cameron ignored him.
"Can you tell me?" he said to the nurse.
"Well, as a nurse, is she quite impossible?"
"Oh, spare me," pleaded Cameron. "I acknowledge my sin and my
folly is before me. But tell me, how was this miracle wrought?"
"What do you mean exactly? Specify."
"Oh, hang it! Well, beginning at the top, there's her hair."
"Then, her complexion--her grace of form--her style--her manner.
Oh, confound it! Her hands--everything."
"Well," said the little nurse with deliberation, "let's begin at
the top. Her hair? A hairdresser explains that. Her complexion?
A little treatment, massage, with some help from the doctor. Her
hands? Again treatment and release from brutalising work. Her
figure? Well, you know, that depends, though we don't acknowledge
it always, to a certain extent on--well--things--and how you put
"Nurse," said the doctor gravely, "you're all off. The
transformation is from within and is explained, as I have said, by
one word--soul. The soul has been set free, has been allowed to
break through. That is all. Why, my dear fellow," continued the
doctor with rising enthusiasm, "when that girl came to us we were
in despair; and for three months she kept us there, pursuing us,
hounding us with questions. Never saw anything like it. One
telling was enough though. Her eyes were everywhere, her ears open
to every hint, but it was her soul, like a bird imprisoned and
beating for the open air. The explanation is, as I have said just
now, soul--intense, flaming, unquenchable soul--and, I must say it,
the dressmaker, the hairdresser, and the rest directed by our young
friend here," pointing to the little nurse. "Why, she had us all
on the job. We all became devotees of the Haley Cult."
"No," said the nurse, "it was herself."
"Isn't that what I have been telling you?" said the doctor
impatiently. "Soul--soul--soul! A soul somehow on fire."
And with that Cameron had to be content.
Yes, a soul it was, at one time dormant and enwrapped within its
coarse integument. Now, touched into life by some divine fire, it
had through its own subtle power transformed that coarse integument
into its own pure gold. What was that fire? What divine touch had
kindled it? And, more important still, was that fire still aglow,
or, having done its work, had it for lack of food flickered and
died out? With these questions Cameron vexed himself for many
days, nor found an answer.
Jack Green did not die. Every morning for a fortnight Constable
Cameron felt it to be his duty to make enquiry--the Sergeant, it
may be added--performing the same duty with equal diligence in the
afternoon, and every day the balance, which trembled evenly for
some time between hope and fear, continued to dip more and more
decidedly toward the former.
"He's going to live, I believe," said Dr. Martin one day. "And he
owes it to the nurse." The doctor's devotion to and admiration for
Nurse Haley began to appear to Cameron unnecessarily pronounced.
"She simply would not let him go!" continued the doctor. "She
nursed him, sang to him her old 'Come all ye' songs and Methodist
hymns, she spun him barnyard yarns and orchard idyls, and always
'continued in our next,' till the chap simply couldn't croak for
wanting to hear the next."
At times Cameron caught through the tent walls snatches of those
songs and yarns and idyls, at times he caught momentary glimpses of
the bright young girl who was pouring the vigour of her life into
the lad fighting for his own, but these snatches and glimpses only
exasperated him. There was no opportunity for any lengthened and
undisturbed converse, for on the one hand the hospital service was
exacting beyond the strength of doctor and nurses, and on the other
there was serious trouble for Superintendent Strong and his men in
the camps along the line, for a general strike had been declared in
all the camps and no one knew at what minute it might flare up into
a fierce riot.
It was indeed exasperating to Cameron. The relations between
himself and Nurse Haley were unsatisfactory, entirely unsatisfactory.
It was clearly his duty--indeed he owed it to her and to himself--
to arrive at some understanding, to establish their relations upon a
proper and reasonable basis. He was at very considerable pains to
make it clear, not only to the Sergeant, but to the cheerful little
nurse and to the doctor as well, that as her oldest friend in the
country it was incumbent upon him to exercise a sort of kindly
protectorate over Nurse Haley. In this it is to be feared he was
only partially successful. The Sergeant was obviously and gloomily
incredulous of the purity of his motives, the little nurse arched
her eyebrows and smiled in a most annoying manner, while the doctor
pendulated between good-humoured tolerance and mild sarcasm. It
added not a little to Cameron's mental disquiet that he was quite
unable to understand himself; indeed, through these days he was
engaged in conducting a bit of psychological research, with his own
mind as laboratory and his mental phenomena as the materia for his
investigation. It was a most difficult and delicate study and one
demanding both leisure and calm--and Cameron had neither. The brief
minutes he could snatch from Her Majesty's service were necessarily
given to his friends in the hospital and as to the philosophic calm
necessary to research work, a glimpse through the door of Nurse
Haley's golden head bending over a sick man's cot, a snatch of song
in the deep mellow tones of her voice, a touch of her strong firm
hand, a quiet steady look from her deep, deep eyes--any one of these
was sufficient to scatter all his philosophic determinings to the
winds and leave his soul a chaos of confused emotions.
Small wonder, then, that twenty times a day he cursed the luck that
had transferred him from the comparatively peaceful environment of
the Police Post at Fort Macleod to the maddening whirl of
conflicting desires and duties attendant upon the Service in the
railroad construction camps. A letter from his friend Inspector
Dickson accentuated the contrast.
"Great doings, my boy," wrote the Inspector, evidently under the
spell of overmastering excitement. "We have Little Thunder again
in the toils, this time to stay, and we owe this capture to your
friend Raven. A week ago Mr. Raven coolly walked into the Fort and
asked for the Superintendent. I was down at stables at the time.
As he was coming out I ran into him and immediately shouted 'Hands
"'Ah, Mr. Inspector,' said my gentleman, as cool as ice, 'delighted
to see you again.'
"'Stand where you are!' I said, and knowing my man and determined
to take no chances, I ordered two constables to arrest him. At
this the Superintendent appeared.
"'Ah, Inspector,' he said, 'there is evidently some mistake here.'
"'There is no mistake, Superintendent,' I replied. 'I know this
man. He is wanted on a serious charge.'
"'Kindly step this way, Mr. Raven,' said the Superintendent, 'and
you, Inspector. I have something of importance to say to you.'
"And, by Jove, it was important. Little Thunder had broken his
pledge to Raven to quit the rebellion business and had perfected a
plan for a simultaneous rising of Blackfeet, Bloods, Piegans, and
Sarcees next month. Raven had stumbled upon this and had
deliberately put himself in the power of the Police to bring this
information. 'I am not quite prepared,' he said, 'to hand over
this country to a lot of bally half-breeds and bloody savages.'
Together the Superintendent and he had perfected a plan for the
capture of the heads of the conspiracy.
"'As to that little matter of which you were thinking, Inspector
Dickson,' said my Chief, 'I think if you remember, we have no
definite charge laid against Mr. Raven, who has given us, by the
way, very valuable information upon which we must immediately act.
We are also to have Mr. Raven's assistance.'
"Well, we had a glorious hunt, and by Jove, that man Raven is a
wonder. He brought us right to the bunch, walked in on them, cool
and quiet, pulled two guns and held them till we all got in place.
There will be no rebellion among these tribes this year, I am
And though it does not appear in the records it is none the less
true that to the influence of Missionary Macdougall among the
Stonies and to the vigilance of the North West Mounted Police was
it due that during the Rebellion of '85 Canada was spared the
unspeakable horrors of an Indian war.
It was this letter that deepened the shadow upon Cameron's face and
sharpened the edge on his voice as he looked in upon his hospital
friends one bright winter morning.
"You are quite unbearable!" said the little nurse after she had
listened to his grumbling for a few minutes. "And you are spoiling
"Spoiling you all?"
"Yes, especially me, and--Nurse Haley."
"Yes. You are disturbing her peace of mind."
"Disturbing her? Me?"
A certain satisfaction crept into Cameron's voice. Nothing is so
calculated to restore the poise of the male mind as a consciousness
of power to disturb the equilibrium of one of the imperious sex.
"And you must not do it!" continued the little nurse. "She has far
too much to bear now."
"And haven't I been just telling you that?" said Cameron savagely.
"She never gets off. Night and day she is on the job. I tell you,
I won't--it should not be allowed." Cameron was conscious of a
fine glow of fraternal interest in this young girl. "For instance,
a day like this! Look at these white mountains, and that glorious
sky, and this wonderful air, and not a breath of wind! What a day
for a walk! It would do her--it would do you all a world of good."
"Wait!" cried the little nurse, who had been on duty all night.
"I'll tell her what you say."
Apparently it took some telling, for it was a full precious quarter
of an hour before they appeared again.
"There, now, you see the effect of your authority. She would not
budge for me, but--well--there she is! Look at her!"
There was no need for this injunction. Cameron's eyes were already
fastened upon her. And she was worth any man's while to look at in
her tramping costume of toque and blanket coat. Tall, she looked,
beside the little nurse, lithe and strong, her close-fitting Hudson
Bay blanket coat revealing the swelling lines of her budding
womanhood. The dainty white toque perched upon the masses of gold-
brown hair accentuated the girlish freshness of her face. At the
nurse's words she turned her eyes upon Cameron and upon her face,
pale with long night watches, a faint red appeared. But her eyes
were quiet and steady and kind; too quiet and too kind for Cameron,
who was looking for other signals. There was no sign of disturbance
in that face.
"Come on!" he said impatiently. "We have only one hour."
"Oh, what a glorious day!" cried Nurse Haley, drawing a deep breath
and striding out like a man to keep pace with Cameron. "And how
good of you to spare me the time!"
"I have been trying to get you alone for the last two weeks," said
"Yes, for a month! I wanted to talk to you."
"To talk with me? About what?"
"About--well--about everything--about yourself."
"Yes. I don't understand you. You have changed so tremendously."
"Oh," exclaimed the girl, "I am so glad you have noticed that!
Have I changed much?"
"Much? I should say so! I find myself wondering if you are the
Mandy I used to know at all."
"Oh," she exclaimed, "I am so glad! You see, I needed to change so
"But how has it happened?" exclaimed Cameron. "It is a miracle to
"How a miracle?"
For a few moments they walked on in silence, the tote road leading
them into the forest. After a time the nurse said softly,
"It was you who began it."
"Yes, you--and then the nurse. Oh, I can never repay her! The day
that you left--that was a dreadful day. The world was all black.
I could not have lived, I think, many days like that. I had to go
into town and I couldn't help going to her. Oh, how good she was
to me that day! how good! She understood, she understood at once.
She made me come for a week to her, and then for altogether. That
was the beginning; then I began to see how foolish I had been."
"Yes, wildly foolish! I was like a mad thing, but I did not know
then, and I could not help it."
"Oh, everything! But the nurse showed me--she showed me--"
"Showed me how to take care of myself--to take care of my body--of
my dress--of my hair. Oh, I remember well," she said with a bright
little laugh, "I remember that hair-dresser. Then the doctor came
and gave me books and made me read and study--and then I began to
see. Oh, it was like a fire--a burning fire within me. And the
doctor was good to me, so very patient, till I began to love my
profession; to love it at first for myself, and then for others.
How good they all were to me those days!--the nurses in the
hospital, the doctors, the students--everyone seemed to be kind;
but above them all my own nurse here and my own doctor."
In hurried eager speech she poured forth her heart as if anxious to
finish her tale--her voice, her eyes, her face all eloquent of the
intense emotion that filled her soul.
"It is wonderful!" said Cameron.
"Yes," she replied, "wonderful indeed! And I wanted to see you and
have you see me," she continued, still hurrying her speech, "for I
could not bear that you should remember me as I was those dreadful
days; and I am so glad that you--you--are pleased!" The appeal in
her voice and in her eyes roused in Cameron an overwhelming tide of
"Pleased!" he cried. "Pleased! Great Heavens, Mandy! You are
wonderful! Don't you know that?"
"No," she said thoughtfully; "but," she drew a long breath, "I like
to hear you say it. That is all I want. You see I owe it all to
you." The face she turned to him so innocently happy might have
been a child's.
"Mandy," cried Cameron, stopping short in his walk, "you--I--!"
That frank childlike look in her eyes checked his hot words. But
there was no need for words; his eyes spoke for his faltering lips.
A look of fear leaped to her eyes, a flow of red blood to her
cheeks; then she stood, white, trembling and silent.
"I am tired, I think," she said after a moment's silence, "we will
"Yes, you are tired," said Cameron angrily. "You are tired to
death. Mandy, you need some one to take care of you. I wish you
would let me." They were now walking back toward the town.
"They are all good to me; they are all kind to me." Her voice was
quiet and steady. She had gained control of herself again. "Why,
even John the Chinaman," she added with a laugh, "spoils me. Oh,
no harm can come to me--I have no fear!"
"But," said Cameron, "I--I want to take care of you, Mandy. I want
the right to take care of you, always."
"I know, I know," she said kindly. "You are so good; you were
always so good; but I need no one."
Cameron glanced at the lithe, strong, upright figure striding along
beside him with easy grace; and the truth came to him in swift and
"You are right," he said as if to himself. "You need no one, and
you don't need me."
"But," she cried eagerly, "it was good of you all the same."
"Good!" he said impatiently. "Good! Nonsense! I tell you, Mandy,
I want you, I want you. Do you understand? I want to marry you."
"Oh, don't say that!" she cried, stopping short, her voice
disturbed, but kindly, gentle and strong. "Don't say that," she
repeated, "for, of course, that is impossible."
"Impossible!" he exclaimed angrily.
"Yes," she said, her voice still quiet and steady, "quite
impossible. But I love you for saying it, oh--," she suddenly
caught her breath. "Oh, I love you for saying it." Then pointing
up the road she cried, "Look! Some one for you, I am sure." A
horseman was galloping swiftly towards them.
"Oh hang it all!" said Cameron. "What the deuce does he want now?"
"We must talk this out again, Mandy," he said.
"No, no!" she cried, "never again. Please don't, ever again; I
could not bear it. But I shall always remember, and--I am so
glad." As she spoke, her hands, with her old motion, went to her
"Oh the deuce take it!" said Cameron as the Sergeant flung his
horse back on his heels at their side. "What does he want?"
"Constable Cameron," said the Sergeant in a voice of sharp command,
"there's a row on. Constable Scott has been very badly handled in
trying to make an arrest. You are to report at once for duty."
"All right, Sir," said Cameron, "I shall return immediately."
The Sergeant wheeled and was gone.
"You must go!" cried Mandy, quick fear springing into her eyes.
"Yes," said Cameron, "at once. Come, I shall take you home."
"No, never mind me!" she cried. "Go! Go! I can take care of
myself. I shall follow." Her voice rang out strong and clear; she
was herself once more.
"You are the right sort, Mandy," cried Cameron, taking her hand.
"Good bye!" she replied, her face suddenly pale and her lips
beginning to quiver. "I shall always remember--I--shall--always
be glad for--what you said today."
Cameron stood looking at her for a moment somewhat uncertainly,
"Good bye!" he said abruptly, and, turning, went at the double
towards his quarters.
The strikers had indeed broken loose, supported by the ruffianly
horde of camp followers who were egging them on to violence and
destruction of property. At present they were wild with triumph
over the fact that they had rescued one of their leaders, big Joe
Coyle, from Constable Scott. It was an exceedingly dangerous
situation, for the riot might easily spread from camp to camp.
Bruised and bloody, Constable Scott reported to Superintendent
Strong lying upon his sick bed.
"Sergeant," said the Superintendent, "take Constables Cameron and
Scott, arrest that man at once and bring him here!"
In the village they found between eight hundred and a thousand men,
many of them crazed with bad whiskey, some armed with knives and
some with guns, and all ready for blood. Big Joe Coyle they found
in the saloon. Pushing his way through, the Sergeant seized his
man by the collar.
"Come along, I want you!" he said, dragging him to the open door.
"Shut that there door, Hep!" drawled a man with a goatee and a
moustache dyed glossy black.
"All right, Bill!" shouted the man called Hep, springing to the
door; but before he could make it Cameron had him by the collar.
"Hold on, Hep!" he said, "not so fast."
For answer Hep struck hard at him and the crowd of men threw
themselves at Cameron and between him and the door. Constable
Scott, who also had his hand upon the prisoner, drew his revolver
and looked towards the Sergeant who was struggling in the grasp of
three or four ruffians.
"No!" shouted the Sergeant above the uproar. "Don't shoot--we have
no orders! Let him go!"
"Go on!" he said savagely, giving his prisoner a final shake. "We
will come back for you."
There was a loud chorus of derisive cheers. The crowd opened and
allowed the Sergeant and constables to pass out. Taking his place
at the saloon door with Constable Scott, the Sergeant sent Cameron
to report and ask for further orders.
"Ask if we have orders to shoot," said the Sergeant.
Cameron found the Superintendent hardly able to lift his head and
made his report.
"The saloon is filled with men who oppose the arrest, Sir. What
are your orders?"
"My orders are, Bring that man here, and at once!"
"Have we instructions to shoot?"
"Shoot!" cried the Superintendent, lifting himself on his elbow.
"Bring that man if you have to shoot every man in the saloon!"
"Very well, Sir, we will bring him," said Cameron, departing on a
At the door of the saloon he found the Sergeant and Constable white
hot under the jeers and taunts of the half drunken gang gathered
"What are the orders, Constable Cameron?" enquired the Sergeant in
a loud voice.
"The orders are, Shoot every man in the saloon if necessary!"
"Revolvers!" commanded the Sergeant. "Constable Cameron, hold the
door! Constable Scott, follow me!"
At the door stood the man named Hep, evidently keeping guard.
"Want in?" he said with a grin.
For answer, Cameron gripped his collar, with one fierce jerk lifted
him clear out of the door to the platform, and then, putting his
body into it, heaved him with a mighty swing far into the crowd
below, bringing two or three men to the ground with the impact of
"Come here, man!" cried Cameron again, seizing a second man who
stood near the door and flinging him clear off the platform after
the unlucky Hep.
Speedily the crowd about the door gave back, and before they were
aware the Sergeant and Constable Scott appeared with big Joe Coyle
"Take him!" said the Sergeant to Cameron.
Cameron seized him by the collar.
"Come here!" he said, and, clearing the platform in a spring, he
brought his prisoner in a heap with him. "Get up!" he roared at
him, jerking him to his feet as if he had been a child.
"Let him go!" shouted the man with the goatee, named Bill, rushing
"Take that, then," said Cameron, giving him a swift half-arm jab on
the jaw, "and I'll come back for you again," he added, as the man
fell back into the arms of his friends.
"Forward!" said the Sergeant, falling in with Constable Scott
behind Cameron and facing the crowd with drawn revolvers. The
swift fierceness of the attack seemed to paralyse the senses of the
"Come on, boys!" yelled the goatee man, bloody and savage with
Cameron's blow. "Don't let the blank blank blank rattle you like a
lot of blank blank chickens. Come on!"
At once rose a roar from eight hundred throats like nothing human
in its sound, and the crowd began to press close upon the Police.
But the revolvers had an ugly appearance to those in front looking
into their little black throats.
"Aw, come on!" yelled a man half drunk, running with a lurch upon
"Crack!" went the Sergeant's revolver, and the man dropped with a
bullet through his shoulder.
"Next man," shouted the Sergeant, "I shall kill!"
The crowd gave back and gathered round the wounded man. A stream
lay in the path of the Police, crossed by a little bridge.
"Hurry!" said the Sergeant, "let's make the bridge before they come
again." But before they could make the bridge the crowd had
recovered from their momentary panic and, with wild oaths and yells
and brandishing knives and guns, came on with a rush, led by
Already the prisoner was half way across the bridge, the Sergeant
and the constable guarding the entrance, when above the din was
heard a roar as of some animal enraged. Looking beyond the Police
the crowd beheld a fearsome sight. It was the Superintendent
himself, hatless, and with uniform in disarray, a sword in one
hand, a revolver in the other. Across the bridge he came like a
tornado and, standing at the entrance, roared,
"Listen to me, you dogs! The first man who sets foot on this
bridge I shall shoot dead, so help me God!"
His towering form, his ferocious appearance and his well-known
reputation for utter fearlessness made the crowd pause and, before
they could make up their minds to attack that resolute little
company headed by their dread commander, the prisoner was safe over
the bridge and well up the hill toward the guard room. Half way
up the hill the Superintendent met Cameron returning from the
disposition of his prisoner.
"There's another man down there, Sir, needs looking after," he
"Better let them cool off, Cameron," said the Superintendent.
"I promised I'd go for him, Sir," said Cameron, his face all ablaze
"Then go for him," said the Superintendent. "Let a couple of you
go along--but I am done--just now."
"We will see you up the hill, Sir," said the Sergeant.
"Come on, Scott!" said Cameron, setting off for the village once
The crowd had returned from the bridge and the leaders had already
sought their favourite resort, the saloon. Straight to the door
marched Cameron, followed by Scott. Close to the counter stood
goatee Bill, loudly orating, and violently urging the breaking in
of the guard room and the release of the prisoner.
"In my country," he yelled, "we'd have that feller out in about six
minutes in spite of all the blank blank Police in this blank
country. THEY ain't no good. They're scairt to death."
At this point Cameron walked in upon him and laid a compelling grip
upon his collar. Instantly Bill reached for his gun, but Cameron,
swiftly shifting his grip to his arm, wrenched him sharply about
and struck him one blow on the ear. As if held by a hinge, the
head fell over on one side and the man slithered to the floor.
"Out of the way!" shouted Cameron, dragging his man with him, but
just as he reached the door a heavy glass came singing through the
air and caught him on the head. For a moment he staggered, caught
hold of the lintel and held himself steady.
"Here, Scott," he cried, "put the bracelets on him."
With revolver drawn Constable Scott sprang to his side.
"Come out!" he said to the goatee man, slipping the handcuffs over
his wrists, while Cameron, still clinging to the lintel, was
fighting back the faintness that was overpowering him. Seeing his
plight, Hep sprang toward him, eager for revenge, but Cameron
covering him with his gun held him in check and, with a supreme
effort getting command of himself, again stepped towards Hep.
"Now, then," he said between his clenched teeth, "will you come?"
So terrible were his voice and look that Hep's courage wilted.
"I'll come, Colonel, I'll come," he said quickly.
"Come then," said Cameron, reaching for him and bringing him
forward with a savage jerk.
In three minutes from the time the attack was made both men,
thoroughly subdued and handcuffed, were marched off in charge of
"Hurry, Scott," said Cameron in a low voice to his comrade. "I am
With all possible speed they hustled their prisoners along over the
bridge and up the hill. At the hospital door, as they passed, Dr.
"Hello, Cameron!" he cried. "Got him, eh?" Great Caesar, man,
what's up?" he added as Cameron, turning his head, revealed a face
and neck bathed in blood. "You are white as a ghost."
"Get me a drink, old chap. I am nearly in," said Cameron in a
"Come into my tent here," said the doctor.