Part 3 out of 5
"Jean is--a sort of guardian," ventured Philip.
"More than that. Sometimes I think he is a spirit," said Adare
impressively. "I have known him for twenty years. Since the day
Josephine was born he has been her watch-dog. He came in the heart
of a great storm, years and years ago, nearly dead from cold and
hunger. He never went away, and he has talked but little about
Adare went to a shelf and returned with a bundle of manuscript.
"Jean gave me the idea for this," he went on.
There are two hundred and eighty pages here. I call it 'The
Aristocracy of the North.' It is true--and it is wonderful!
"You have seen a spring or New Year's gathering of the forest
people at a Company's post--the crowd of Indians, half-breeds, and
whites who follow the trap-lines? And would you guess that in that
average foregathering of the wilderness people there is better
blood than you could find in a crowded ballroom of New York's
millionaires? It is true. I have given fish to hungry half-breeds
in whose veins flows the blood of royalty. I have eaten with
Indian women whose lineage reaches back to names that were mighty
before the first Astors and the first Vanderbilts were born. The
descendant of a king has hunted me caribou meat at two cents a
pound. In a smoke-blackened tepee, over beyond the Gray Loon
waterway, there lives a girl with hair and eyes as black as a
raven's wing who could go to Paris to-morrow and say: 'I am the
descendant of a queen,' and prove it. And so it is all over the
"I have hunted down many curious facts, and I have them here in my
manuscript. The world cannot sneer at me, for records have been
kept almost since the day away back in the seventeenth century
when Prince Rupert landed with his first shipload of gentlemen
adventurers. They intermarried with our splendid Crees--those
first wanderers from the best families of Europe. They formed the
English-Cree half-breed. Prince Rupert himself had five children
that can be traced to him. Le Chevalier Grosselier had nine. And
so it went on for a hundred years, the best blood in England
giving birth to a new race among the Crees, and the best of France
sowing new generations among the Chippewyans on their way up from
"And for another hundred years and more the English-Cree half-
breed and the French-Chippewyan half-breed have been meeting and
intermarrying, forming the 'blood,' until in all this Northland
scarce a man or a woman cannot call back to names that have long
become dust in history.
"From the blood of some mighty king of France--of some splendid
queen--has come Jean Croisset. I have always felt that, and yet I
can trace him no farther than a hundred years back, to the
quarter-strain wife of the white factor at Monsoon. Jean has lost
interest in himself now--since his wife died three years ago. Has
Josephine told you of her?"
"Very little," said Philip.
The flush of enthusiasm faded from Adare's eyes. It was replaced
by a look that was grief deep and sincere.
"Iowaka's death was the first great blow that came to Adare
House," he said gently. "For nine years they were man and wife
lovers. God's pity they had no children. She was French--with a
velvety touch of the Cree, lovable as the wild flowers from which
she took her name. Since she went Jean has lived in a dream. He
says that she is constantly with him, and that often he hears her
voice. I am glad of that. It is wonderful to possess that kind of
a love, Philip!--the love that lives like a fresh flower after
death and darkness. And we have it--you and I."
Philip murmured softly that it was so. He felt that it was
dangerous to tread upon the ground which Adare was following. In
these moments, when this great bent-shouldered giant's heart lay
like an open book before him, he was not sure of himself. The
other's unbounded faith, his happiness, the idyllic fulness of his
world as he found it, were things which added to the heaviness and
fear at Philip's heart instead of filling him with similar
emotions. Of these things he was not a part. A voice kept
whispering to him with maddening insistence that he was a fraud.
One by one John Adare was unlocking for him hallowed pictures in
which Jean had told him he could never share possession. His
desire to see Josephine again was almost feverish, and filled him
with a restlessness which he knew he must hide from Adare. So when
Adare's eyes rested upon him in a moment's silence, he said:
"Last night Jean and I were standing beside her grave. It seemed
then as though he would have been happier if he had lain near her
--under the cross."
"You are wrong," said Adare quickly. "Death is beautiful when
there is a perfect love. If my Miriam should die it would mean
that she had simply gone from my SIGHT. In return for that loss
her hand would reach down to me from Heaven, as Iowaka reaches
down to Jean. I love life. My heart would break if she should go.
But it would be replaced by something almost like another soul.
For it must be wonderful to be over-watched by an angel."
He rose and went to the window, and with a queer thickening in his
throat Philip stared at his broad back. He thought he saw a
moment's quiver of his shoulders. Then Adare's voice changed.
"Winter brings close to our doors the one unpleasant feature of
this country," he said, turning to light a second cigar. "Thirty-
five miles to the north and west of us there is what the Indians
call 'Muchemunito Nek'--the Devil's Nest. It's a Free Trader's
house. A man down in Montreal by the name of Lang owns a string of
them, and his agent over at the Devil's Nest is a scoundrel of the
first water. His name is Thoreau. There are a score of half-breeds
and whites in his crowd, and not a one of them with an honest hair
in his head. It's the one criminal rendezvous I know of in all
this North country. Bad Indians who have lost credit at the
Hudson's Bay Company's posts go to Thoreau's. Whites and half-
breeds who have broken the laws are harboured there. A dozen
trappers are murdered each winter for their furs, and the
assassins are among Thoreau's men. One of these days there is
going to be a big clean-up. Meanwhile, they are unpleasant
company. There is a deep swamp between our house and Thoreau's, so
that during the open water seasons it means we are a hundred miles
away from them by canoe. When winter comes we are only thirty-five
miles, as the sledge-dogs run. I don't like it. You can snow-shoe
the distance in a few hours."
"I know of such a place far to the west," replied Philip. "Both
the Hudson's Bay Company and Reveillon Freres have threatened to
put it out of business, but it still remains. Perhaps that is
owned by Lang, too."
He had joined Adare at the window. The next moment both men were
staring at the same object in a mutual surprise. Into the white
snow space between the house and the forest there had walked
swiftly the slim, red-clad figure of Josephine, her face turned to
the forest, her hair falling in a long braid down her back.
The master of Adare chuckled exultantly.
"There goes our little Red Riding Hood!" he rumbled. "She beat us
after all, Philip. She is going after the dogs!"
Philip's heart was beating wildly. A better opportunity for seeing
Josephine alone could not have come to him. He feared that his
voice might betray him as he laid a hand on Adare's arm.
"If you will excuse me I will join her," he said. "I know it
doesn't seem just right to tear off in this way, but--you see--"
Adare interrupted him with one of his booming laughs.
"Go, my lad. I understand. If it was Miriam instead of Mignonne
running away like that, John Adare wouldn't be waiting this long."
Philip turned and left the room, every pulse in his body throbbing
with an excitement roused by the knowledge that the hour had come
when Josephine would give herself to him forever, or doom him to
that hopelessness for which Jean Croisset had told him to prepare
In his eagerness to join Josephine Philip had reached the outer
door before it occurred to him that he was without hat or coat and
had on only a pair of indoor moccasin slippers. He would still
have gone on, regardless of this utter incongruity of dress, had
he not known that John Adare would see him through the window. He
partly opened the hall door and looked out. Josephine was halfway
to the forest. He turned swiftly back to his room, threw on a
coat, put his moccasins on over the soft caribou skin slippers,
caught up his cap, and hurried back to the door. Josephine had
disappeared into the edge of the forest. He held himself to a walk
until he reached the cover of the spruce, but no sooner was he
beyond Adare's vision than he began to run. Three or four hundred
yards in the forest he overtook Josephine.
He had come up silently in the soft snow, and she turned, a little
startled, when be called her name.
"You, Philip!" she exclaimed, the colour deepening quickly in her
cheeks. "I thought you were with father in the big room."
She had never looked lovelier to him. From the top of her hooded
head to the hem of her short skirt she was dressed in a soft and
richly glowing red. Her eyes shone gloriously this morning, and
about her mouth there was a tenderness and a sweetness which had
not been there the night before. The lines that told of her strain
and grief were gone. She seemed like a different Josephine now,
confessing in this first thrilling moment of their meeting that
she, too, had been living in the memory of what had passed between
them a few hours before. And yet in the gentle welcome of her
smile there was a mingling of sadness and of pathos that tempered
Philip's joy as he came to her and took her hands.
"My Josephine," he cried softly.
She did not move as he bent down. Again he felt the warm, sweet
thrill of her lips. He would have kissed her again, have clasped
her close in his arms, but she drew away from him gently.
"I am glad you saw me--and followed, Philip," she said, her clear,
beautiful eyes meeting his. "It is a wonderful thing that has
happened to us. And we must talk about it. We must understand. I
was on my way to the pack. Will you come?"
She offered him her hand, so childishly confident, so free of her
old restraint now, that he took it without a word and fell in at
her side. He had rushed to her tumultuously. On his lips had been
a hundred things that he had wanted to say. He had meant to claim
her in the full ardour of his love--and now, quietly, without
effort, she had worked a wonderful change in him. It was as if
their experience had not happened yesterday, but yesteryear; and
the calm, sweet yielding of her lips to him again, the warm
pressure of her hand, the illimitable faith in him that shone in
her eyes, filled him with emotions which for a space made him
speechless. It was as if some wonderful spirit had come to them
while they slept, so that now there was no necessity for
explanation or speech. In all the fulness of her splendid
womanhood Josephine had accepted his love, and had given him her
own in return. Every fibre in his being told him that this was so.
And yet she had uttered no word of love, and he had spoken none of
the things that had been burning in his soul.
They had gone but a few steps when Josephine paused close to the
fallen trunk of a huge cedar. With her mittened hands she brushed
off the snow, seated herself, and motioned Philip to sit beside
"Let us talk here," she said. And then she asked, a little
anxiously, "You left my father believing in you--in us?"
"Fully," replied Philip. He took her face between his two hands
and turned it up to him. Her fingers clasped his arms. But they
made no effort to pull down the hands that held her eyes looking
straight into his own.
"He believes in us," he repeated. "And you, Josephine, you love
He saw the tremulous forming of a word on her lips, but she did
not speak. A deeper glow came into her eyes. Gently her fingers
crept to his wrists, and she took down his hands from her face,
and drew him to the seat at her side.
"Yes, Philip," she said then, in a voice so low and calm that it
roused a new sense of fear in him. "There can be no sin in telling
you that--after last night. For we understand each other now. It
has filled me with a strange happiness. Do you remember what you
said to me in the canoe? It was this: 'In spite of all that may
happen, I will receive more than all else in the world could give
me. For I will have known you, and you will be my salvation.'
Those words have been ringing in my heart night and day. They are
there now. And I understand them; I understand you. Hasn't some
one said that it is better to have loved and lost than never to
have loved at all? Yes, it is a thousand times better. The love
that is lost is often the love that is sweetest and purest, and
leads you nearest Heaven. Such is Jean's love for his lost wife.
Such must be your love for me. And when you are gone my life will
still be filled with the happiness which no grief can destroy. I
did not know these things--until last night. I did not know what
it meant to love as Jean must love. I do now. And it will be my
salvation up in these big forests, just as you have said that it
will be yours down in that other world to which you will go."
He had listened to her like one stricken by a sudden grief. He
understood her, even before she had finished, and his voice came
in a sudden broken cry of protest and of pain.
"Then you mean--that after this--you will still send me away?
After last night? It is impossible! You have told me, and it makes
no difference, except to make me love you more. Become my wife. We
can be married secretly, and no one will ever know. My God, you
cannot drive me away now, Josephine! It is not justice. If you
love me--it is a crime!"
In the fierceness of his appeal he did not notice how his words
were driving the colour from her face. Still she answered him
calmly, in her voice a strange tenderness. Strong in her faith in
him, she put her hands to his shoulders, and looked into his eyes.
"Have you forgotten?" she asked gently. "Have you forgotten all
that you promised, and all that I told you? There has been no
change since then--no change that frees me. There can be no
change. I love you, Philip. Is that not more than you expected? If
one can give one's soul away, I give mine to you. It is yours for
all eternity. Is it not enough? Will you throw that away--because
--my body--is not free?"
Her voice broke in a dry sob; but she still looked into his eyes,
waiting for him to answer--for the soul of him to ring true. And
he knew what must be. His hands lay clenched between them. Jean
seemed to rise up before him again at the grave-sides, and from
his lips he forced the words:
"Then there is something more--than the baby?"
"Yes," she replied, and dropped her hands from his shoulders.
"There is that of which I warned you--something which you could
not know if you lived a thousand years."
He caught her to him now, so close that his breath swept her face.
"Josephine, if it was the baby alone, you would give yourself to
me? You would be my wife?"
Strength leaped back into him, the strength that made her love
him. He freed her and stood back from the log, his face ablaze
with the old fighting spirit. He laughed, and held out his arms
without taking her.
"Then you have not killed my hope!" he cried.
His enthusiasm, the strength and sureness of him as he stood
before her, sent the flush back into her own face. She rose, and
reached to one of his outstretched hands with her own.
"You must hope for nothing more than I have given you," she said.
"A month from to-day you will leave Adare House, and will never
"A month!" He breathed the words as if in a dream.
"Yes, a month from to-day. You will go off on a snowshoe journey.
You will never return, and they will think that you have died in
the deep snows. You have promised me this. And you will not fail
"What I have promised I will do," he replied, and his voice was
now as calm as her own. "And for this one month--you are mine!"
"To love as I have given you love, yes."
For a moment he folded her in his arms; and then he drew back her
hood so that he might lay a hand on her shining hair, and his eyes
were filled with a wonderful illumination as he looked into her
"A month is a long time, my Josephine," he whispered. "And after
that month there are other months--years and years of them, and
through years, if it must be, my hope will live. You cannot
destroy it, and some day, somewhere, you will send word to me.
Will you promise to do that?"
"If such a thing becomes possible, yes."
"Then I am satisfied," he said. "I am going to fight for you,
Josephine. No man ever fought for a woman as I am going to fight
for you. I don't know what this strange thing is that separates
us. But I can think of nothing terrible enough to frighten me. I
am going to fight, mentally and physically, day and night--until
you are my own. I cannot lose you now. That will be what God never
meant to be. I shall keep all my promises to you. You have given
me a month, and much can happen in that time. If at the end of the
month I have failed--I will go. But you will not send me away. For
I shall win!"
So sure was he, so filled with the conviction of his final
triumph, so like a god to her in this moment of his greatest
strength, that Josephine drew slowly away from him, her breath
coming quickly, her eyes filled with the star-like pride and glory
of the Woman who has found a Master. For a moment they stood
facing each other in the white stillness of the forest, and in
that moment there came to them the low and mourning wail of a dog
beyond them. And then the full voice of the pack burst through the
wilderness, a music that was wild and savage, and yet through
which there ran a strange and plaintive note for Josephine.
"They have caught us in the wind," she said, holding out her hand
to him. "Come, Philip. I want you to love my beasts."
After a little the trail through the thick spruce grew narrow and
dark, and Josephine went ahead of Philip. He followed so close
that he could reach out a hand and touch her. She had not replaced
her hood. Her face was flushed and her lips parted and red when
she turned to him now and then. His heart beat with a tumultuous
joy as he followed. A few moments before he had not spoken to her
boastfully, or to keep up a falling spirit. He had given voice to
what was in his heart, what was there now, telling him that she
belonged to him, that she loved him, that there could be nothing
in the world that would long stand between them.
The voice of the pack came to them stronger each moment, yet for a
space it was unheard by him. His mind--all the senses he
possessed--travelled no farther than the lithesome red and gold
figure ahead of him. The thick strands of her braid had become
partly undone, covering her waist and hips in a shimmering veil of
gold. He wanted to touch that rare treasure with his hands. He was
filled with the desire to stop her, and hold her close in his
arms. And yet he knew that this was a thing which he must not do.
For him she had risen above a thing merely physical. The touching
of her hair, her lips, her face, were no longer the first passions
of love with him. And because Josephine knew these things rose the
joyous flush in her face and the wonder-light in her eyes. The
still, deep forests had long ago brought her dreams of this man.
And these same forests seemed to whisper to Philip that her beauty
was a part of her soul, and that it was not to be desecrated in
such moments of desire as he was fighting back in himself now.
Suddenly she ran a little ahead of him, and then stopped. A moment
later he stood at her side. They were peering into what looked
like a great, dimly lighted and carpeted hall. For the space of a
hundred feet in diameter the spruce had been thinned out. The
trees that remained were lopped of their lower branches, leaving
their upper parts crowding in a dense shelter that shut out cold
and storm. No snow had filtered through their tops, and on the
ground lay cedar and balsam needles two inches deep, a brown and
velvety carpet that shone with the deep lustre of a Persian rug.
The place was filled with moving shapes and with gleaming eyes
that were half fire in the gloom. Here were leashed the forty
fierce and wolfish beasts of the pack. The dogs had ceased their
loud clamour, and at sight of Josephine and sound of her voice, as
she cried out greeting to them, there ran through the whole space
a whining and a clinking of chains, and with that a snapping of
jaws that sent a momentary shiver up Philip's back.
Josephine took him by the hand now. With him she ran in among
them, calling out their names, laughing with them, caressing the
shaggy heads that were thrust against her--until it seemed to
Philip that every beast in the pit was straining at the end of his
chain to get at them and rend them into pieces. And yet, above
this thought, the nervousness that he could not fight it out of
himself, rose the wonder of it all.
Philip had seen a husky snap off a man's hand at a single lunge;
he knew it was a creature of the whip and the club, with the
hatred of men inborn in it from the wolf. What he looked on now
filled him with a sort of awe--and a fear for Josephine. He gave a
warning cry and half drew his pistol when she dropped on her knees
and flung her arms about the shaggy head of a huge beast that
could have torn the life from her in an instant. She looked up at
him, laughing, the inch-long fangs of Captain, the lead-dog,
gleaming in brute happiness close to her soft, flushed face.
"Don't be afraid, Philip!" she cried. "They are my pets--all of
them. This is Captain, who leads my sledge team. Isn't he
"Good God!" breathed Philip, looking about him. "I know something
of sledge-dogs, Josephine. These are not from mongrel breeds.
There are no hounds, no malemutes, none of the soft-footed breeds
here. They are WOLF!"
She rose and stood beside him, panting, triumphant, glorious.
"Yes--they've all got the strain of wolf," she said. "That is why
I love them, Philip. They are of the forests. AND I HAVE MADE THEM
A yellow beast, with small, dangerous eyes, was leaping fiercely
at the end of his chain close to them. Philip pointed to him.
"And you would trust yourself THERE?" he exclaimed, catching her
by the arm.
"That is Hero," she said. "Once his name was Soldier. Three years
ago a man from Thoreau's Place offered me an insult in the woods,
and Soldier almost killed him. He would have killed him if I had
not dragged him off. From that day I called him Hero. He is a
She went to the husky, and the yellow giant leaped up against her,
so that her arms were about him, with his wolfish muzzle reaching
for her face. Under the cedars Philip's face was as white as the
snow out in the open. Josephine saw this, and came and put her arm
through his fondly.
"You are afraid for me, Philip?" she asked, with a little laugh of
pleasure at his anxiety. "You mustn't be, for you must love them--
for my sake. I have brought them all up from puppyhood. And they
would fight for me--just as you would fight for me, Philip. Once I
was lost in a storm. Father turned the dogs loose. And they found
me--miles and miles away. When you hear the wonderful stories I
have to tell about them you will love them. They will not harm
you. They will harm nothing that I have touched. I have taught
them that. I am going to unleash them now. Metoosin is coming
along the trail with their frozen fish."
Before she had moved, Philip went straight up to the yellow
creature that she had told him was a quarter wolf.
"Hero," he spoke softly. "Hero--"
He held out his hands. The giant husky's eyes burned a deeper
glow; for an instant his upper lip drew back, baring his stiletto-
like fangs, and the hair along his neck and back stood up like a
brush. Then, inch by inch, his muzzle drew nearer to Philip's
steady hands, and a low whine rose in his throat. His crest
drooped, his ears shot forward a little, and Philip's hand rested
on the wolfish head.
"That is proof," he laughed, turning to Josephine. "If he had
snapped off my hand I would say that you were wrong."
She passed quickly from one dog to another now, with Philip close
at her side, and from the collar of each dog she snapped the
chain. After she had freed a dozen, Philip began to help her. A
few of the huskies snarled at him. Others accepted him already as
a part of her. Yet in their eyes he saw the smouldering menace,
the fire that wanted only a word from her to turn them into a
horde of tearing demons.
At first he was startled by Josephine's confidence in them. Then
he was only amazed. She was not only unafraid herself; she was
unafraid for him. She knew that they would not touch him. When
they were all free the pack gathered in close about them, and then
Josephine came and stood at Philip's side, and put her hands to
his shoulders. Thus she stood for a few moments, half facing the
dogs, calling their names again; and they crowded up still closer
about them, until Philip fancied he could feel their warm breath.
"They have all seen me with you now," she cried after that. "They
have seen me touch you. Not one of them will snap at you after
The dogs swept on ahead of them in a great wave as they left the
spruce shelter. Out in the clear light Philip drew a deep breath.
He had never seen anything like this pack. They crowded shoulder
to shoulder, body to body, in the open trail. Most of them were
the tawny dun and gray and yellow of the wolf. There were a few
blacks, and a few pure whites, but none that wore the mongrel
spots of the soft-footed and softer-throated dogs from the south.
He shivered as he measured the pent-up power, the destructive
possibilites of the whining, snapping, living sea of sinew and
fang ahead of them. And they were Josephine's! They were her
slaves! What need had she of his protection? What account would be
the insignificant automatic at his side in the face of this wild
horde that awaited only a word from her? What could there be in
these forests that she feared, with them at her command? Ten men
with rifles could not have stood in the face of their first mad
rush--and yet she had told him that everything depended upon his
protection. He had thought that meant physical protection. But it
could not be. He spoke his thoughts aloud, pointing to the dogs:
"What danger can there be in this world that you need fear--with
them?" he asked. "I don't understand. I can't guess."
She knew what he meant. The hand on his arm pressed a little
closer to him.
"Please don't try to understand," she answered in a low voice.
"They would fight for me. I have seen them tear a wolf-pack into
shreds. And I have called them back from the throat of a wind-run
deer, so that not a hair of her was harmed. But, Philip, I guess
that sometimes mistakes were made in the creation of things. They
have a brain. But it isn't REASON!"
"You mean--" he cried.
"That you, a man, unarmed, alone, are still their master," she
interrupted him. "In the face of reason they are powerless. See,
there comes Metoosin with the frozen fish! What if he were a
stranger and the fish were poisoned?"
"I understand," he replied. "But others drive them besides you?"
"Only those very near to the family. Twenty of them are used in
the traces. The others are my companions--my bodyguard, I call
Metoosin approached them now, weighted down under a heavy load in
a gunny-sack, and Philip believed that he recognized in the silent
Indian the man whom he had first seen at the door of Adare House
with a rifle in his hands. At a few commands from Josephine the
dogs gathered about them, and Metoosin opened the bag.
"I want you to throw them the fish, Philip," said Josephine.
"Their brains comprehend the hand that feeds them. It is a sort of
pledge of friendship between you and them."
With Metoosin she drew a dozen steps back, and Philip found that
he had become the centre of interest for the pack. One by one he
pulled out the fish. Snapping jaws met the frozen feast in midair.
There was no fighting--no vengeful jealousy of fang. Once when a
gray and yellow husky snapped at a fish already in the jaws of
another, Josephine reprimanded him sharply, and at the sound of
his name he slunk back. One by one Philip threw out the fish until
they were all gone. Then he stood and looked down upon the flat-
bellied pack, listening to the crunching of bones and frozen
flesh, and Josephine came and stood beside him again.
Suddenly he felt her start. He looked up, and saw that her face
was turned down the trail. He had caught the quick change in her
eyes, the swift tenseness that flashed for an instant in her
mouth. The vivid colour in her face had paled. She looked again as
he had seen her for that short space at the door in Miriam's room.
He followed the direction of her eyes.
A hundred yards away two figures were advancing toward them. One
was her father, the master of Adare. And on his arm was Miriam his
The strange effect upon Josephine of the unexpected appearance of
Adare and his wife passed as quickly as it had come. When Philip
looked at her again she was waving a hand and smiling. Adare's
voice came booming up the trail. He saw Miriam laughing. Yet in
spite of himself--even as he returned Adare's greeting--he could
not keep himself from looking at the two women with curious
"This is rank mutiny!" cried Adare, as they came up. "I told them
they must sleep until noon. I have already punished Miriam. And
you, Mignonne? Does Philip let you off too easily?"
Adare's wife had given Philip her hand. A few hours' rest had
brightened her eyes and brought colour into her face. She looked
still younger, still more beautiful. And Adare was riotous with
joy because of it.
"Look at your mother, Josephine," he commanded in a hoarse
whisper, meant for all to hear. "I said the forests would do more
than a thousand doctors in Montreal!"
"You do look splendid, Mikawe," said Josephine, slipping an arm
about her mother's waist.
Adare had turned into a sudden volley of greetings to the feasting
dogs, and for another moment Philip's eyes were on mother and
daughter. Josephine was the taller of the two by half a head. She
was more like her father. He noted that the colour had not
returned fully into her cheeks, while the flush in Miriam's face
had deepened. There was something forced in Josephine's laugh, a
note that was unreal and make-believe, as she turned to Philip.
"Isn't my mother wonderful, Philip? I call her Mikawe because that
means a little more than Mother in Cree--something that is almost
undying and spirit-like. You will never grow old, my little
"Ponce de Leon made a great mistake when he didn't search in these
forests for his fountain of eternal youth," said Adare, laying a
hand on Philip's shoulder. "Would you guess that it was twenty-two
years ago a month from to-day that she came to be mistress of
Adare House? And you, Ma Cheri," added Adare tenderly, taking his
wife by the hand, "Do you remember that it was over this same
trail that we took our first walk--from home? We went to the
"Yes, I remember."
"And here--where we stand--the wood violets were so thick they
left perfume on our boots."
"And you made me a wreath of them--with the red bakneesh," said
"And braided it in your hair."
She was breathing a little more quickly. For a moment it seemed as
if these two had forgotten Philip and Josephine. Their eyes had
turned to each other.
"Twenty-two years ago--A MONTH FROM TO-DAY!" repeated Josephine.
It seemed as if she had spoken the words that Philip might catch
their hidden meaning.
Adare straightened with a sudden idea:
"On that day we shall have a great anniversary feast," he
declared. "We will ask every soul--red and white--for a hundred
miles about, with the exception of the rogues over at Thoreau's
Place! What do you say, Philip?"
"Splendid!" cried Philip, catching triumphantly at this straw in
the face of Josephine's plans for him. He looked straight into her
eyes as he spoke. "A month from to-day these forests shall ring
with our joy. And there will be a reason for it--MORE THAN ONE!"
She could not misunderstand that! And Philip's heart beat joyously
as Josephine turned quickly to her mother, the colour flooding to
the tips of her ears.
The dogs had eaten their fish and were crowding about them. For
the first time Adare seemed to notice Metoosin, who had stood
motionless twenty paces behind them.
"Where is Jean?" he asked.
Josephine shook her head.
"I haven't seen him since last night."
"I had almost forgotten what I believe he intended me to tell
you," said Philip. "He has gone somewhere in the forest. He may be
away all day."
Philip saw the anxious look that crept into Josephine's eyes. She
looked at him closely, questioningly, yet he guessed that beyond
what he had said she wanted him to remain silent. A little later,
when Adare and his wife were walking ahead of them, she asked:
"Where is Jean? What did he tell you last night?"
Philip remembered Jean's warning.
"I cannot tell you," he replied evasively. "Perhaps he has gone
out to reconnoitre for--game."
"You are true," she breathed softly. "I guess I understand. Jean
doesn't want me to know. But after I went to bed I lay awake a
long time and thought of you--out in the night with that gun in
your hand. I can't believe that you were there simply because of a
noise, as you said. A man like you doesn't hunt for a noise with a
pistol, Philip. What is the matter with your arm?"
The directness of her question startled him.
"Why do you ask that?" he managed to stammer.
"You have flinched twice when I touched it--this arm."
"A trifle," he assured her. "It should have healed by this time."
She smiled straight up into his eyes.
"You are too true to tell me fairy stories in a way that I must
believe them, Philip. Day before yesterday your sleeves were up
when you were paddling, and there was nothing wrong with this arm
--this forearm--then. But I'm not going to question you. You don't
want me to know." In the same breath she recalled his attention to
her father and mother. "I told you they were lovers. Look!"
As if she had been a little child John Adare had taken his wife up
in his arms and sat her high on the trunk of a fallen tree that
was still held four or five feet above the ground by a crippled
spruce. Philip heard him laugh. He saw the wife lean over, still
clinging for safety to her husband's shoulders.
"It is beautiful," he said.
Josephine spoke as if she had not heard him.
"I do not believe there is another man in the world quite like my
father. I cannot understand how a woman could cease to love such a
man as he even for a day--an hour. She couldn't forget, could
There was something almost plaintive in her question. As if she
feared an answer, she went on quickly:
"He has made her happy. She is almost forty--thirty-nine her last
birthday. She does not look that old. She has been happy. Only
happiness keeps one young. And he is fifty. If it wasn't for his
beard, I believe he would appear ten years younger. I have never
known him without a beard; I like him that way. It makes him look
'beasty'--and I love beasts."
She ran ahead of him, and John Adare lifted his wife down from the
tree when they joined them. This time Josephine took her mother's
arm. At the door to Adare House she turned to the two men, and
"Mother and I have a great deal to talk over, and we are scheming
not to see you again until dinner time. Little Daddy, you can go
to your foxes. And please keep Philip out of mischief."
The dogs had followed her close to the door. As the men entered
after Josephine and her mother, Philip paused for a moment to look
at the pack. A dozen of them had already settled themselves upon
their bellies in the snow.
"The Grand Guard," chuckled Adare, waiting for him. "Come, Philip.
I'm going to follow Mignonne's suggestion and do some work on my
foxes. Jean had a splendid surprise for me when I returned--a
magnificent black. This is the dull season, when I can amuse
myself only by writing and experimenting. A little later, when the
furs begin to come in, there will be plenty of life at Adare
"Do you buy many furs?" asked Philip.
"Yes. But not because I am in the business for money. Josephine
got me into it because of her love for the forest people." He led
the way into his big study; and added, as he threw off his cap and
"You know in all the world no people have a harder struggle than
these men, women, and little children of the trap-lines. From
Labrador westward to the Mackenzie it is the land of the caribou,
the rabbit, and the fur-bearing animals, but the land is not
suitable for farming. It has been, it will always be, the country
of the hunter.
"To the south the Ojibway may grow a little corn and wheat. To the
north the Eskimo might seem to dwell in a more barren land, but
not so, for he has an ever abundant supply of game from the sea,
seal in winter, fish in summer, but here are only the rabbit, the
caribou, and small game. The Indians would starve if they could
not trade their furs for a little flour, traps, guns, and cloth to
fight the cold and aid the hunter. Even then it is hard. The
Indians cannot live in villages, except at a post, like Adare
House. Such a large number of people living in one spot could not
feed themselves, and in the winter each family goes to its own
allotted hunting grounds. From father to son for generations the
same district has been handed down, each territory rich enough in
fur to support one family. One--not two, for two would starve, and
if a strange trapper poaches the fight is to the death, even in
the normal year when game is plentiful and fur prime.
"But every seventh year there may be famine. Here in the North it
is the varying hare, the rabbit, that feeds the children of the
trap-lines and the marten and fox they trap, and every seventh
year there comes a mysterious disease. One year there are rabbits
in millions, the next there are none. The lynx and the wolf and
the fox starve, there are no fur bearers in the traps, the trapper
faces the blizzard and the cold to find empty deadfalls day after
day, and however skillfully he may hunt there is no game for his
gun. What would he do, but starve, if it were not for the fur
trader and the post, where there is flour, a little food to help
John the Trapper through the winter? The people about us are not
thin in the waist. Josephine has made a little oasis of plenty
where John the Trapper is safe in good years and bad. That's why I
The giant's eyes were flushed with enthusiasm again. He pushed the
cigars across the table to Philip, and one of his fists was
"She wants me to publish a lot of these things," he went on. "She
says they are facts which would interest the whole world. Perhaps
that is so. Fur is gotten with hardship and danger and suffering.
It may be there are not many people who know that up here at the
top end of the world there is a country of forest and stream
twenty times as large as the State of Ohio, and in which the
population per square mile is less than that of the Great African
Desert. And it's all because everyone must live off the game.
Everything goes back to that. Let something happen, some little
thing--a migration of game, a case of measles. The Indians will
die if there are not white men near to help them. That's why
Josephine makes me buy fur."
He pointed to the wall behind Philip. Over the door through which
they had just come hung a huge, old-fashioned flint-lock six feet
in length. There was something like the snarl of an animal in John
Adare's voice when he spoke again.
"That's the tool of the Northland," he said. "That is the only
tool John the Trapper knows, all he can know in a land where even
trees are stunted and there are no plows. His clothes and the
blankets he weaves of twisted strips of rabbit fur are adapted to
the cold, he is a master of the canoe and the most skilful trapper
in the world, but in all else he must be looked after like a
child. He is still largely one of God's men, this John the
Trapper. He hasn't any measurements of value. He doesn't know what
the dollar means. He measures his wealth in 'skins,' and when he
trades the basis for whatever mental calculations he may make is
in the form of lead bullets taken from one tin-pan and transferred
to another. He doesn't keep track of figures. He trusts alone to
the white man's word, and only those who understand him, who have
dealt with him for years, can be trusted not to take advantage of
his faith. That's why I buy fur--to give John his chance to live."
Adare laughed, and ran a hand through his shaggy hair as if
rousing himself from thought of a relentless struggle. "But this
isn't working on my foxes, is it? On second thought I think I
shall postpone that until to-morrow, Philip. I have promised
Miriam that I will have Metoosin trim my hair and beard before
dinner. Shall I send him to you?"
"A hair cut would be a treat," said Philip, rising. He was
surprised at the sudden change in the other's mood. But he was not
sorry Adare had given him the opportunity to go. He had planned to
say other things to Josephine that morning if they had not been
interrupted, and he did not believe that she would be long with
In this, however, he was doomed to disappointment. When he
returned to his room he found that Josephine had not forgotten the
condition of his wardrobe, and he guessed immediately why she had
surprised them all by rising so early. On his bed were spread
several changes of shirts and underwear, a pair of new corduroy
trousers, a pair of caribou skin leggings, and moccasins. In a box
were a dozen linen handkerchiefs and a number of ties for the
blue-gray soft shirts Josephine had chosen for him. He was not
much ahead of Metoosin, who came in a few minutes later and
clipped his hair. When this was done and he had clad himself in
his new raiment he looked at himself in the mirror. Josephine had
shown splendid judgment. Everything fitted him.
For an hour he listened for footsteps in the hall, and
occasionally looked out of the window. He wondered if Josephine
had seen the small round hole with its myriad of out-shooting
cracks where the bullet had pierced the glass. He had made up his
mind that she had not, for no one could mistake it, and she would
surely have spoken to him of it. He found that the hole was so
high up on the pane that he could draw the curtain over it without
shutting out much light. He did this.
Later he went outside, and found that the dogs regarded him with
certain signs of friendship. In him was a growing presentiment
that something had happened to Jean. He was sure that Croisset had
taken up the trail of the man who had shot at him soon after they
had separated at the gravesides. He was equally certain that the
chase would be short. Jean was quick. Dogs and sledge would be an
impediment for the other in the darkness of the night. Before
this, hours ago, they must have met. If Jean had come out of that
meeting unharmed, it was time for him to be showing up at Adare
House. Still greater perturbation filled Philip's mind when he
recalled the unpleasant skill of the mysterious forest man's
fighting. He had been more than his equal in swiftness and
trickery; he was certainly Jean's.
Should he make some excuse and follow Jean's trail? He asked
himself this question a dozen times without arriving at an answer.
Then it occurred to him that Jean might have some definite reason
for not returning to Adare House immediately. The longer he
reasoned with himself the more confident he became that Croisset
had been the victor. He knew Jean. Every advantage was on his
side. He was as watchful as a lynx. It was impossible to conceive
of him walking into a trap. So he determined to wait, at least
until that night.
It was almost noon when Adare sent word by Metoosin asking Philip
to rejoin him in the big room. A little later Josephine and her
mother came in. Again Philip noticed that in the face of Adare's
wife was that strange look which he had first observed in her
room. The colour of the morning had faded from her cheeks. The
glow in her eyes was gone. Adare noted the change, and spoke to
Miriam and Josephine went ahead of them to the dining-room, and
with his hand on Philip's arm John Adare whispered:
"Sometimes I am afraid, Philip. She changes so suddenly. This
morning her cheeks and lips were red, her eyes were bright, she
laughed--she was the old Miriam. And now! Can you tell me what it
means? Is it some terrible malady which the doctors could not
"No, it is not that," Philip felt his heart beat a little faster.
Josephine had fallen a step behind her mother. She had heard
Adare's words, and at Philip she flung back a swift, frightened
look. "It is not that," he repeated. "See how much better she
looks to-day than yesterday! You understand, Mon Pere, that
oftentimes there comes a period of nervousness--of a sickness that
is not sickness--in a woman's life. The winter will build her up."
The dinner passed too swiftly for Philip. They sat at a long
table, and Josephine was opposite him. For a time he forgot the
strain he was under, that he was playing a part in which he must
not strike a single false key. Yet in another way he was glad when
it came to an end, for it gave him an opportunity of speaking a
few words with Josephine. Adare and Miriam went out ahead of them.
At the door Philip held Josephine back.
"You are not going to leave me alone this afternoon?" he asked.
"It is not quite fair, or safe, Josephine. I am travelling on thin
"You are doing splendidly, Philip," she protested. "To-morrow I
will be different. Metoosin says there is a little half-breed girl
very sick ten miles back in the forest, and you may go with me to
visit her. There are reasons why I must be with my mother all of
to-day. She has had a long journey and is worn out and nervous.
Perhaps she will not want to appear at supper. If that is so, I
will remain with her. But we will be together to-morrow. All day.
Is that not recompense?"
She smiled up into his face as they followed Adare and his wife.
"You may help Metoosin with the dogs," she suggested. "I want you
to be good friends--you and my beasts."
The hours that followed proved to be more than empty ones for
Philip. Twice he went to the big room and found that Adare himself
had yielded to the exhaustion of the long trip up from
civilization, and was asleep. He accompanied Metoosin to the pit
and assisted in chaining the dogs, but Metoosin was taciturn and
uncommunicative. Josephine and her mother send down their excuses
at supper time, and he sat down alone with Adare, who was
delighted when he received word that they had been sleeping most
of the afternoon, and would join them a little later. His face
clouded, however, when he spoke of Jean.
"It is unusual," he said. "Jean is very careful to leave word of
his movements. Metoosin says it is possible he went after fresh
caribou meat. But that is not so. His rifle is in his room. He
left during the night, or he would have spoken to us. I saw him as
late as midnight, and he made no mention of it then. It has been
snowing for two or three hours or I would send Metoosin on his
"What possible cause for worry can you have?" asked Philip.
"Thoreau's cutthroats," replied Adare, a sudden fire in his eyes.
"This winter may see--things happen. The force behind Thoreau's
success in trade is whisky. That damnable stuff is his lure, or
all the fur in this country would come to Adare House. If he could
drive me out he would have nothing to fight against--his hands
would be at the throat of every living soul in these regions, and
all through whisky. Among those who were killed or turned up
missing last winter were four of my best hunters. Twice Jean was
shot at on the trail. I fear for him because he is my right arm."
When Philip left Adare he went to his room, put on heavier
moccasins, and went quietly from the house. Three inches of fresh
snow had fallen, and the air was thick with the white deluge. He
hurried into the edge of the forest. A few minutes futile
searching convinced him of the impossibility of following the
trail made by Jean and the man he had pursued. Through the
thickening darkness he returned to Adare House.
Again he changed his moccasins, and waited for the expected word
from Josephine or Adare. Half an hour passed, and during this time
his mind became still more uneasy. He had hoped that Croisset was
hanging in the edge of the forest, waiting for darkness. Each
minute now added to his fear that all had not gone well with the
half-breed. He paced up and down his room, smoking, and looking at
his watch frequently. After a time he went to the window and tried
to peer out into the white swirl of the night. The opening of his
door turned him about. He expected to see Adare. Words that were
on his lips froze in a moment of speechless horror.
He knew that it was Jean Croisset who stood before him. But it did
not look like Jean. The half-breed's cap was gone. He was swaying,
clutching at the partly opened door to support himself. His face
was disfigured with blood, the front of his coat was spattered
with frozen clots of it. His long hair had fallen in ropelike
strands over his eyes and frozen there. His lips were terrible.
"Good God!" gasped Philip.
He sprang forward and caught Jean as the half-breed staggered
toward him. Jean's body hung a weight in his arms. His legs gave
way under him, but for a moment the clutch of his fingers on
Philip's shoulder were viselike.
"A little help, M'sieur," he gasped. "I am faint, sick. Whatever
happens, as you love Our Lady, let no one know of this to-night!"
With a rattling breath his head dropped upon Philip's arm.
Scarcely had Jean uttered the few words that preceded his lapse
into unconsciousness than Philip heard the laughing voice of Adare
at the farther end of the hall. Heavy footsteps followed the
voice. Impulse rather than reason urged him into action. He
lowered Jean to the floor, sprang to the partly open door, closed
it and softly locked it. He was not a moment too soon. A few steps
more and Adare was beating on the panel with his fist.
"What, ho!" he cried in his booming voice. "Josephine wants to
know if you have forgotten her?" Adare's hand was on the latch.
"I am--undressed," explained Philip desperately. "Offer a thousand
apologies for me, Mon Pere. I will finish my bath in a hurry!"
He dropped on his knees beside Jean as the master of Adare moved
away from the door. A brief examination showed him where Croisset
was hurt. The half-breed had received a scalp wound from which the
blood had flowed down over his face and breast. He breathed easier
when he discovered nothing beyond this. In a few minutes he had
him partially stripped and on his bed. Jean opened his eyes as he
bathed the blood from his face. He made an effort to rise, but
Philip held him back.
"Not yet, Jean," he said.
Jean's glance shifted in a look of alarm toward the door.
"I must, M'sieur," he insisted. "It was the last few hundred yards
that made me dizzy. I am better now. And there is no time to lose.
I must get into my room--into other clothes!"
"We will not be interrupted," Philip assured him. "Is this your
only hurt, Jean?"
"That alone, M'sieur. It was not bad until an hour ago. Then it
broke out afresh, and made me so dizzy that with my last breath I
stumbled into your room. The saints be praised that I managed to
Philip left him, to return in a moment with a flask. Jean had
pulled himself to a sitting posture on the side of the bed.
"Here's a drop of whisky, Jean. It will stir up your blood."
"Mon Dieu, it has been stirred up enough this night, tanike,"
smiled Jean feebly. "But it may give me voice, M'sieur. Will you
get me fresh clothes? They are in my room--which is next to this
on the right. I must be prepared for Josephine or Le M'sieur
before I talk."
Philip went to the door and opened it cautiously. He could hear
voices coming from the room through which he had first entered
Adare House. The hall was clear. He slipped out and moved swiftly
to Jean's room. Five minutes later he reentered his own room with
an armful of Jean's clothes. Already Croisset was something like
himself. He quickly put on the garments Philip gave him, brushed
the tangles from his hair, and called upon Philip to examine him
to make sure he had left no spot of blood on his face or neck.
"You have the time?" he asked then.
Philip looked at his watch.
"It is eight o'clock."
"And I must see Josephine--alone--before ten," said Jean quickly.
"You must arrange it, M'sieur. No one must know that I have
returned until I see her. It is important. It means--"
"The great God alone can answer that," replied Jean in a strange
voice. "Perhaps it will mean that to-morrow, or the next day, or
the day after that M'sieur Weyman will know the secret we are
keeping from him now, and will fight shoulder to shoulder with
Jean Jacques Croisset in a fight that the wilderness will remember
so long as there are tongues to tell of it!"
There was nothing of boastfulness or of excitement in his words.
They were in the voice of a man who saw himself facing the final
arbiter of things--a voice dead to visible hope, yet behind which
there trembled a thing that made Philip face him with a new fire
in his eyes.
"Why to-morrow or the next day?" he demanded. "Why shroud me in
this damnable mystery any longer, Jean? If there is fighting to be
done, let me fight!"
Jean's hollowed cheeks took on a flush.
"I would give my life if we two could go out and fight--as I want
to fight," he said in a low, tense voice, "It would be worth your
life and mine--that fight. It would be glorious. But I am a
Catholic, M'sieur. I am a Catholic of the wilderness. And I have
taken the most binding oath in the world. I have sworn by the
sweet soul of my dead Iowaka to do only as Josephine tells me to
do in this. Over her grave I swore that, with Josephine kneeling
at my side. I have prayed that my Iowaka might come to me and tell
me if I am right. But in this her voice has been silent. I have
prayed Josephine to free me from my oath, and she has refused. I
am afraid. I dare reveal nothing. I cannot act as I want to act.
His voice sank to a whisper. His fingers gripped deep into the
flesh of Philip's hand.
"To-night may mean--something," he went on, his voice filled with
an excitement strange to him. "The fight is coming, M'sieur. We
cannot much longer evade what we have been trying to evade! It is
coming. And then, shoulder to shoulder, we will fight!"
"And until then, I must wait?"
"Yes, you must wait, M'sieur."
Jean freed his hand and sat down in one of the chairs near the
table. His eyes turned toward the window.
"You need not fear another shot, M'sieur," he said quietly. "The
man who fired that will not fire again."
"You killed him?"
Jean bowed his head without replying. The movement was neither of
affirmation nor denial:
"He will not fire again."
"It was more than one against one," persisted Philip. "Does your
oath compel you to keep silent about that, too?"
There was a note of irritation in his voice which was almost a
challenge to Jean. It did not prick the half-breed. He looked at
Philip a moment before he replied:
"You are an unusual man, M'sieur," he said at last, as though he
had been carefully measuring his words. "We have known each other
only a few days, and yet it seems a long time. I had my suspicions
of you back there. I thought it was Josephine's beauty you were
after, and I have stood ready to kill you if I saw in you what I
feared. But you have won, M'sieur. Josephine loves you. I have
faith in you. And do you know why? It is because you have fought
the fight of a strong man. It does not take great soul in a man to
match knife against knife, or bullet against bullet. Not to keep
one's word, to play a hopeless part in the dark, to leap when the
numma wapew is over the eyes and you are blind--that takes a man.
And now, when Jean Jacques Croisset says for the first time that
there is a ray of hope for you, where a few hours ago no hope
existed, will you give me again your promise to play the part you
have been asked to play?"
"Hope!" Philip was at Jean's side in an instant. "Jean, what do
you mean? Is it that you, even YOU--now give me hope of
Slowly Jean rose from his chair.
"I am part Cree, M'sieur," he said. "And in our Cree there is a
saying that the God of all things, Kisamunito, the Great Spirit,
often sits on high and laughs at the tricks which he plays on men.
Perhaps this is one of those times. I am beginning to believe so.
Kisamunito has begun to run our destinies, not ourselves.
Yesterday we--our Josephine and I--had our hopes, our plans, our
schemes well laid. To-night they no longer exist. Before the night
is much older all that Josephine has done, all that she has made
you promise, will count for nothing. After that--a matter of
hours, perhaps of days--will come the great fight for you and me.
Until then you must know nothing, must see nothing, must ask
nothing. And when the crash comes--"
"It will give Josephine to me?" cried Philip eagerly.
"I did not say that, M'sieur," corrected Jean quietly. "Out of
fighting such as this strange things may happen. And where things
happen there is always hope. Is that not true?"
He moved to the door and listened. Quietly he opened it, and
"The hall is clear," he whispered softly. "Go to Josephine. Tell
her that she must arrange to see me within an hour. And if you
care for that bit of hope I have shown you, let it happen without
the knowledge of the master of Adare. From this hour Jean Jacques
Croisset sacrifices his soul. Make haste, M'sieur--and use
Without a word Philip went quietly out into the hall. Behind him
Jean closed and locked the door.
For a few moments Philip stood without moving. Jean's return and
the strange things he had said had worked like sharp wine in his
blood. He was breathing quickly. He was afraid that his appearance
just now would betray the mental excitement which he must hide. He
drew back deeper into the shadow of the wall and waited, and while
he waited he thought of Jean. It was not the old Jean that had
returned this night, the Jean with his silence, his strange
repression, the mysterious something that had seemed to link him
with an age-old past. Out of that spirit had risen a new sort of
man--the fighting man. He had seen a new fire in Jean's eyes and
face; he had caught new meaning in his words, Jean was no longer
the passive Jean--waiting, watching, guarding. Out in the forest
something had happened to rouse in him what a word from Josephine
would set flaming in the savage breasts of her dogs. And the
excitement in Philip's blood was the thrill of exultation--the
joy of knowing that action was close at hand, for deep in him had
grown the belief that only through action could Josephine be freed
Suddenly, softly, there came floating to him the low, sweet tones
of the piano, and then, sweeter still, the voice of Josephine.
Another moment and Miriam's voice had joined her in a song whose
melody seemed to float like that of spirit-voices through the
thick fog walls of Adare House. Soundlessly he moved toward the
room where they were waiting for him, a deeper flush mounting into
his face now. He opened the door without being heard, and looked
Josephine was at the piano. The great lamp above her head flooded
her in a mellow light in which the rich masses of her hair
shimmered in a glorious golden glow. His heart beat with the
knowledge that she had again dressed for him to-night. Her white
neck was bare. In her hair he saw for a second time a red rose.
For a space he saw no one but her. Then his eyes turned for an
instant to Miriam. She was standing a little back, and it seemed
to him that he had never seen her so beautiful. Against the wall,
in a great chair, sat the master of Adare, his bearded chin in the
palm of his hand, looking at the two with a steadiness of gaze
that was more than adoration. Philip entered. Still he was
unheard. He stood silent until the song was finished, and it was
Josephine, turning, who saw him first.
"Philip!" she cried.
Adare started, as if awakening from a dream. Josephine came to
Philip, holding out both her hands, her beautiful face smiling
with welcome. Even as their warm touch thrilled him he felt a
sudden chill creep over him. A swift glance showed him that Adare
had gone to Miriam. Instead of words of greeting, he whispered low
in Josephine's ear:
"I would have come sooner, but I have been with Jean. He returned
a few minutes ago. Strange things have happened, and he says that
he must see you within an hour, and that your father must not
know. He is in my room. You must get away without rousing
Her fingers gripped his tightly. The soft glow in her eyes faded
away. A look of fear leapt into them and her face went suddenly
white. He drew her nearer, until her hands were against his
"Don't look like that," he whispered. "Nothing can hurt you.
Nothing in the world. See--I must do this to bring your colour
back, or they will guess something is wrong!"
He bent and kissed her on the lips.
Adare's voice burst out happily:
"Good boy, Philip! Don't be bashful when we're around. That's the
first time I've seen you kiss your wife!"
There was none of the white betrayal in Josephine's cheeks now.
They were the colour of the rose in her hair. She had time to look
up into Philip's face, and whisper with a laughing break in her
"Thank you, Philip. You have saved me again."
With Philip's hand in hers she turned to her father and mother.
"Philip wants to scold me, Mon Pere," she said. "And I cannot
blame him. He has seen almost nothing of me to-day."
"And I have been scolding Miriam because they have given me no
chance with the baby," rumbled Adare. "I have seen him but twice
to-day--the little beggar! And both times he was asleep. But I
have forced them to terms, Philip. From to-morrow I am to have him
as much as I please. When they want him they will find him in the
Josephine led Philip to her mother, who had seated herself on one
of the divans.
"I want you to talk with Philip, Mikawe," she said. "I have
promised father that he should have a peep at the baby. I will
bring him back very soon."
Philip seated himself beside Miriam as Adare and Josephine left
the room. He noticed that her hair was dressed like Josephine's,
and that in the soft depths of it was partly buried a rose.
"Do you know--I sometimes think that I am half dreaming," he said.
"All this seems too wonderful to be true--you, and Josephine,
almost a thousand miles out of the world. Even flowers like that
which you wear in your hair--hot-house flowers!"
There was a strange sweetness in Miriam's smile, a smile softened
by something that was almost pathetic, a touch of sadness.
"That is the one thing we keep alive out of the world I used to
know--roses," she said. "The first roots came from my babyhood
home, and we have grown them here for more than twenty years. Of
course Josephine has shown you our little hot-house?"
"Yes." lied Philip. Then he added, finding her dear eyes resting
on him steadily. "And you have never grown lonesome up here?"
"Never. I am sorry that we ever went back into that other world,
even for a day. This has been paradise. We have always been happy.
And you?" she asked suddenly. "Do you sometimes wish for that
"I have been out of it four years--with the exception of a short
break. I never want to go back. Josephine has made my paradise, as
you have made another man's."
He fancied, as she turned her face from him, that he heard a
little catch in her breath. But she faced him again quickly.
"We have been happy. No woman in the world has been happier than
I. And you--four years? In that time you have not heard much
music. Shall I play for you?"
She rose and went to the piano without waiting for him to reply.
Philip leaned back and partly closed his eyes as she began to
play. The spell of music held him silent, and neither spoke until
Josephine and her father returned. Philip did not catch the
laughing words Adare turned to his wife. In the door Josephine had
stopped. To his surprise she was dressed in her red coat and hood,
and her feet were moccasined. She made a quick little signal to
"I am ready, Philip," she said.
He arose, fearing that his tongue might betray him if he replied
to her in words. Adare came unwittingly to his assistance.
"You'll get used to this before the winter is over, Philip," he
exclaimed banteringly. "Metoosin once called Josephine
'Wapikunoo'--the White Owl, and the name has stuck ever since. I
haven't known Mignonne to miss a walk on a moonlit winter night
since I can remember. But I prefer my airings in the day. Eh,
"And there is no moon to-night," laughed his wife.
"Hush--but there is Philip!" whispered Adare loudly. "It may be
that our Josephine will prefer the darker nights after this. Can
Josephine was pulling Philip through the door, laughing back over
her shoulder. As soon as they were in the hall she caught his arm
"Let us hurry to your room," she urged. "You can dress and slip
out unseen, leaving Jean and me alone. You are sure--he wants to
There was a tremble in her voice now.
"Yes." They came to his door and he tapped on it lightly.
Instantly it was opened. Josephine stared at Jean as she darted
"Jean--you have something to tell me?" she whispered, no longer
hiding the fear in her face. "You must see me--alone?"
"Oui, M'selle," murmured Jean, turning to Philip. "If M'sieur
Philip can arrange for us to be alone."
"I will be gone in a moment," said Philip, hastily beginning to
put on heavier garments. "Lock the door, Jean. It will not do to
be interrupted now."
When he was ready Josephine went to him, her eyes shining softly.
Jean turned to the window.
"You--your faith in me is beautiful," she said gratefully, so low
that only he could hear her. "I don't deserve it, Philip."
For a moment he pressed her hand, his face telling her more than
he could trust his lips to speak. Jean heard him turn the key in
the lock, and he turned quickly.
"I have thought it would be better for you to go out by the
"You are right," agreed Philip, relocking the door.
Jean raised the window. As Philip dropped himself outside the
"Go no farther than the edge of the forest, M'sieur. We will turn
the light low and draw the curtain. When the curtain is raised
again return to us as quickly as you can. Remember, M'sieur--and
go no farther than the edge of the forest."
The window dropped behind him, and he turned toward the dark wall
of spruce. There were six inches of fresh snow on the ground, and
the clouds were again drifting out of the sky. Here and there a
star shone through, but the moon was only a pallid haze beyond the
gray-black thickness above. In the first shelter of the spruce and
balsam Philip paused. He found himself a seat by brushing the snow
from a log, and lighted his pipe. Steadily he kept his eyes on the
curtained window. What was happening there now? To what was
Josephine listening in these tense minutes of waiting?
Even as he stared through the darkness to that one lighter spot in
the gloom he knew that the world was changing for the woman he
loved. He believed Jean, and he knew Jean was now telling her the
story of that day and the preceding night--the story which he had
said would destroy the hopes she had built up, throw their plans
into ruin, perhaps even disclose to him the secret which they had
been fighting to hide. What could that story be? And what effect
was it having on Josephine? The minutes passed slowly--with an
oppressive slowness. Three times he lighted matches to look at his
watch. Five minutes passed--ten, fifteen. He rose from the log and
paced back and forth, making a beaten path in the snow. It was
taking Jean a long time to tell the story!
And then, suddenly, a flood of light shot out into the night. The
curtain was raised! It was Jean's signal to him, and with a wildly
beating heart he responded to it.
The window was open when Philip came to it, and Jean was waiting
to give him an assisting hand. The moment he was in the room he
turned to look at Josephine. She was gone. Almost angrily he
whirled upon the half-breed, who had lowered the window, and was
now drawing the curtain. It was with an effort that he held back
the words on his lips. Jean saw that effort, and shrugged his
shoulders with an appreciative gesture.
"It is partly my fault that she is not here, M'sieur," he
explained. "She would have told you nothing of what has passed
between us--not as much, perhaps, as I. She will see you in the
"And there's damned little consolation at the present moment in
that," gritted Philip, with clenched hands. "Jean--I'm ready to
fight now! I feel like a rat must feel when it's cornered. I've
got to jump pretty soon--in some direction--or I'll bust. It's
Jean's hand fell softly upon his arm.
"M'sieur, you would cut off this right arm if it would give you
"I'd cut off my head!" exploded Philip.
"Do you remember that it was only a few hours ago that I said she
could never be yours in this world?" Croisset reminded him, in the
same quiet voice. "And now, when even I say there is hope, can you
not make me have the confidence in you that I must have--if we
Philip's face relaxed. In silence he gripped Jean's hand.
"And what I am going to tell you--a thing which Josephine would
not say if she were here, is this, M'sieur," went on Jean. "Before
you left us alone in this room I had a doubt. Now I have none. The
great fight is coming. And in that fight all the spirits of
Kisamunito must be with us. You will have fighting enough. And it
will be such fighting its you will remember to the end of your
days. But until the last word is said--until the last hour, you
must be as you have been. I repeat that. Have you faith enough in
me to believe?"
"Yes, I believe," said Philip. "It seems inconceivable, Jean--but
Jean moved to the door.
"Good-night, M'sieur," he said.
For a few moments after Croisset had left him Philip stood
motionless. Then he locked the door. Until he was alone he did not
know what a restraint he had put upon himself. Jean's words, the
mysterious developments of the evening, the half promise of the
fulfilment of his one great hope--had all worked him into a white
heat of unrest. He knew that he could not stay in his room, that
it would be impossible for him to sleep. And he was not in a
condition to rejoin Adare and his wife. He wanted to walk--to find
relief in physical exertion, Of a sudden his mind was made up. He
extinguished the light. Then he reopened the window, and dropped
out into the night again.
He made his way once more to the edge of the forest. He did not
stop this time, but plunged deeper into its gloom. Moon and stars
were beginning to lighten the white waste ahead of him. He knew he
could not lose himself, as he could follow his own trail back. He
paused for a moment in the shelter of a spruce to fill his pipe
and light it. Then he went on. Now that he was alone he tried to
discover some key to all that Jean had said to him. After all, his
first guess had not been so far out of the way: it was a physical
force that was Josephine's deadliest menace. What was this force?
How could he associate it with the baby back in Adare House?
Unconsciously his mind leaped to Thoreau, the Free Trader, as a
possible solution, but in the same breath he discarded that as
unreasonable. Such a force as Thoreau and his gang would be dealt
with by Adare himself, or the forest people. There was something
more. Vainly he racked his brain for some possible enlightenment.
He walked ten minutes without noting the direction he was taking
when he was brought to a standstill with a sudden shock. Not
twenty paces from him he heard voices. He dodged behind a tree,
and an instant later two figures hurried past him. A cry rose to
his lips, but he choked it back. One of the two was Jean. The
other was Josephine!
For a moment he stood staring after them, his hand clutching at
the bark of the tree. A feeling that was almost physical pain
swept over him as he realized the truth. Josephine had not gone to
her room. He understood now. She had purposely evaded him that she
might be with Jean alone in the forest. Three days before Philip
would not have thought so much of this. Now it hurt. Josephine had
given him her love, yet in spite of that she was placing greater
confidence in the half-breed than in him. This was what hurt--at
first. In the next breath his overwhelming faith in her returned
to HIM. There was some tremendous reason for her being here with
Jean. What was it? He stepped out from behind the tree as he
stared after them.
His eyes caught the pale glow of something that he had not seen
before. It was a campfire, the illumination of it only faintly
visible deeper in the forest. Toward this Josephine and Jean were
hurrying. A low exclamation of excitement broke from his lips as a
still greater understanding dawned upon him. His hand trembled.
His breath came quickly. In that camp there waited for Josephine
and Croisset those who were playing the other half of the game in
which he had been given a blind man's part! He did not reason or
argue with himself. He accepted the fact. And no longer with
hesitation his hand fell to his automatic, and he followed swiftly
after Josephine and the half-breed.
He began to see what Jean had meant. In the room he had simply
prepared Josephine for this visit. It was in the forest--and not
in Adare House, that the big test of the night was to come.
It was not curiosity that made him follow them now. More than ever
he was determined to keep his faith with Jean and the girl, and he
made up his mind to draw only near enough to give his assistance
if it should become necessary. Roused by the conviction that
Josephine and the half-breed were not making this mysterious tryst
without imperilling themselves, he stopped as the campfire burst
into full view, and examined his pistol. He saw figures about the
fire. There were three, one sitting, and two standing. The fire
was not more than a hundred yards ahead of him, and he saw no
tent. A moment later Josephine and Jean entered the circle of
fireglow, and the sitting man sprang to his feet. As Philip drew
nearer he noticed that Jean stood close to his companion, and that
the girl's hand was clutching his arm. He heard no word spoken,
and yet he could see by the action of the man who had been sitting
that he was giving the others instructions which took them away
from the fire, deeper into the gloom of the forest.
Seventy yards from the fire Philip dropped breathlessly behind a
cedar log and rested his arm over the top of it. In his hand was
his automatic. It covered the spot of gloom into which the two men
had disappeared. If anything should happen--he was ready.
In the fire-shadows he could not make out distinctly the features
of the third man. He was not dressed like the others. He wore
knickerbockers and high laced boots. His face was beardless.
Beyond these things he could make out nothing more. The three drew
close together, and only now and then did he catch the low murmur
of a voice. Not once did he hear Jean. For ten minutes he crouched
motionless, his eyes shifting from the strange tableau to the spot
of gloom where the others were hidden. Then, suddenly, Josephine
sprang back from her companions. Jean went to her side. He could
hear her voice now, steady and swift--vibrant with something that
thrilled him, though he could not understand a word that she was
speaking. She paused, and he could see that she was tense and
waiting. The other replied. His words must have been brief, for it
seemed he could scarcely have spoken when Josephine turned her
back upon him and walked quickly out into the forest. For another
moment Jean Croisset stood close to the other. Then he followed.
Not until he knew they were safe did Philip rise from his
concealment. He made his way cautiously back to Adare House, and
reentered his room through the window. Half an hour later, dressed
so that he revealed no evidence of his excursion in the snow, he
knocked at Jean's door. The half-breed opened it. He showed some
surprise when he saw his visitor.
"I thought you were in bed, M'sieur," he exclaimed. "Your room was
"Sleep?" laughed Philip. "Do you think that I can sleep to-night,
"As well as some others, perhaps," replied Jean, offering him a
chair. "Will you smoke, M'sieur?"
Philip lighted a cigar, and pointed to the other's moccasined
feet, wet with melting snow.
"You have been out," he said. "Why didn't you invite me to go with
"It was a part of our night's business to be alone," responded
Jean. "Josephine was with me. She is in her room now with the
"Does Adare know you have returned?"
"Josephine has told him. He is to believe that I went out to see a
trapper over on the Pipestone."
"It is strange," mused Philip, speaking half to himself. "A
strange reason indeed it must be to make Josephine say these false
"It is like driving sharp claws into her soul," affirmed Jean.
"I believe that I know something of what happened to-night, Jean.
Are we any nearer to the end--to the big fight?"
"It is coming, M'sieur. I am more than ever certain of that. The
third night from this will tell us."
"And on that night--"
Philip waited expectantly.
"We will know," replied Jean in a voice which convinced him that
the half-breed would say no more. Then he added: "It will not be
strange if Josephine does not go with you on the sledge-drive to-
morrow, M'sieur. It will also be curious if there is not some
change in her, for she has been under a great strain. But make as
if you did not see it. Pass your time as much as possible with the
master of Adare. Let him not guess. And now I am going to ask you
to let me go to bed. My head aches. It is from the blow."
"And there is nothing I can do for you, Jean?'
At the door Philip turned.
"I have got a grip on myself now, Jean," he said. "I won't fail
you. I'll do as you say. But remember, we are to have the fight at
In his room he sat up for a time and smoked. Then he went to bed.
Half a dozen times during the night he awoke from a restless
slumber. Twice he struck a match to look at his watch. It was
still dark when he got up and dressed. From five until six he
tried to read. He was delighted when Metoosin came to the door and
told him that breakfast would be ready in half an hour. This gave
him just time to shave.
He expected to eat alone with Adare again this morning, and his
heart jumped with both surprise and joy when Josephine came out
into the hall to meet him. She was very pale. Her eyes told him
that she had passed a sleepless night. But she was smiling
bravely, and when she offered him her hand he caught her suddenly
in his arms and held her close to his breast while he kissed her
lips, and then her shining hair.
"Philip!" she protested. "Philip--"
He laughed softly, and for a moment his face was close against
"My brave little darling! I understand," he whispered. "I know
what a night you've had. But there's nothing to fear. Nothing
shall harm you. Nothing shall harm you, nothing, nothing!"
She drew away from him gently, and there was a mist in her eyes.
But he had brought a bit of colour into her face. And there was a
glow behind the tears. Then, her lip quivering, she caught his
"Philip, the baby is sick--and I am afraid. I haven't told father.
He went with her to the room at the end of the hall. The Indian
woman was crooning softly over a cradle. She fell silent as
Josephine and Philip entered, and they bent over the little
flushed face on the pillow. Its breath came tightly, gaspingly,
and Josephine clutched Philip's hand, and her voice broke in a
"Feel, Philip--its little face--the fever--"
"You must call your mother and father," he said after a moment.
"Why haven't you done this before, Josephine?"
"The fever came on suddenly--within the last half hour," she
whispered tensely. "And I wanted you to tell me what to do,
Philip. Shall I call them--now?"
In an instant she was out of the room. A few moments later she
returned, followed by Adare and his wife. Philip was startled by
the look that came into Miriam's face as she fell on her knees
beside the cradle. She was ghastly white. Dumbly Adare stood and
gazed down on the little human mite he had grown to worship. And
then there came through his beard a great broken breath that was
half a sob.
Josephine lay her cheek against his arm for a moment, and said:
"You and Philip go to breakfast, Mon Pere. I am going to give the
baby some of the medicine the Churchill doctor left with me. I was
frightened at first. But I'm not now. Mother and I will have him
out of the fever shortly."
Philip caught her glance, and took Adare by the arm. Alone they
went into the breakfast-room. Adare laughed uneasily as he seated
himself opposite Philip.
"I don't like to see the little beggar like that," he said, taking
to shake off his own and Philip's fears with a smile. "It was
Mignonne who scared me--her face. She has nursed so many sick
babies that it frightened me to see her so white. I thought he
"Cutting teeth, mebby," volunteered Philip.
"Too young," replied Adare.
"Or a touch of indigestion, That brings fever."
"Whatever it is, Josephine will soon have him kicking and pulling
my thumb again," said Adare with confidence. "Did she ever tell
you about the little Indian baby she found in a tepee?"
"It was in the dead of winter. Mignonne was out with her dogs, ten
miles to the south. Captain scented the thing--the Indian tepee.
It was abandoned--banked high with snow--and over it was the
smallpox signal. She was about to go on, but Captain made her go
to the flap of the tepee. The beast knew, I guess. And Josephine--
my God, I wouldn't have let her do it for ten years of my life!
There had been smallpox in that tent; the smell of it was still
warm. Ugh! And she looked in! And she says she heard something
that was no louder than the peep of a bird. Into that death-hole
she went--and brought out a baby. The parents, starving and half
crazed after their sickness, had left it--thinking it was dead.
"Josephine brought it to a cabin close to home, in two weeks she
had that kid out rolling in the snow. Then the mother and father
heard something of what had happened, and came to us as fast as
their legs could bring them. You should have seen that Indian
mother's gratitude! She didn't think it so terrible to leave the
baby unburied. She thought it was dead. Pasoo is the Indian
father's name. Several times a year they come to see Josephine,
and Pasoo brings her the choicest furs of his trap-line. And each
time he says: 'Nipa tu mo-wao,' which means that some day he hopes
to be able to kill for her. Nice, isn't it--to have friends who'll
murder your enemies for you if you just give 'em the word?"
"One never can tell," began Philip cautiously. "A time might come
when she would need friends. If such a day should happen--"
He paused, busying himself with his steak. There was a note of
triumph, of exultation, in Adare's low laugh.
"Have you ever seen a fire run through a pitch-dry forest?" he
asked. "That is the way word that Josephine wanted friends would
sweep through a thousand square miles of this Northland. And the
answer to it would be like the answer of stray wolves to the cry
of the hunt-pack!"
All over Philip there surged a warm glow.
"You could not have friends like that down there, in the cities,"
Adare's face clouded.
"I am not a pessimist," he answered, after a moment. "It has been
one of my few Commandments always to look for the bright spot, if
there is one. But, down there, I have seen so many wolves, human
wolves. It seems strange to me that so many people should have the
same mad desire for the dollar that the wolves of the forest have
for warm, red, quivering flesh. I have known a wolf-pack to kill
five times what it could eat in a night, and kill again the next
night, and still the next--always more than enough. They are like
the Dollar Hunters--only beasts. Among such, one cannot have solid
friends--not very many who will not sell you for a price. I was
afraid to trust Josephine down among them. I am glad that it was
you she met, Philip. You were of the North--a foster-child, if not
That day was one of gloom in Adare House. The baby's fever grew
steadily worse, until in Josephine's eyes Philip read the terrible
fear. He remained mostly with Adare in the big room. The lamps
were lighted, and Adare had just risen from his chair, when Miriam
came through the door. She was swaying, her hands reaching out
gropingly, her face the gray of ash that crumbles from an ember.
Adare sprung to meet her, a strange cry on his lips, and Philip
was a step behind her. He heard her moaning words, and as he
rushed past them into the hall he knew that she had fallen
fainting into her husband's arms.
In the doorway to Josephine's room he paused. She was there,
kneeling beside the little cradle, and her face as she lifted it
to him was tearless, but filled with a grief that went to the
quick of his soul. He did not need to look into the cradle as she
rose unsteadily, clutching a hand at her heart, as if to keep it
from breaking. He knew what he would see. And now he went to her
and drew her close in his strong arms, whispering the pent-up
passion of the things that were in his heart, until at last her
arms stole up about his neck, and she sobbed on his breast like a
child. How long he held her there, whispering over and over again
the words that made her grief his own, he could not have told; but
after a time he knew that some one else had entered the room, and
he raised his eyes to meet those of John Adare. The face of the
great, grizzled giant had aged five years. But his head was erect.
He looked at Philip squarely. He put out his two hands, and one
rested on Josephine's head, the other on Philip's shoulder.
"My children," he said gently, and in those two words were
weighted the strength and consolation of the world.
He pointed to the door, motioning Philip to take Josephine away,
and then he went and stood at the crib-side, his great shoulders
hunched over, his head bowed down.
Tenderly Philip led Josephine from the room. Adare had taken his
wife to her room, and when they entered she was sitting in a
chair, staring and speechless. And now Josephine turned to Philip,
taking his face between her two hands, and her soul looking at him
through a blinding mist of tears.
"My Philip," she whispered, and drew his face down and kissed him.
"Go to him now. We will come--soon."
He returned to Adare like one in a dream--a dream that was grief
and pain, with its one golden thread of joy. Jean was there now,
and the Indian woman; and the master of Adare had the still little
babe huddled up against his breast. It was some time before they
could induce him to give it to Moanne. Then, suddenly, he shook
himself like a great bear, and crushed Philip's shoulders in his
"God knows I'm sorry for you, Boy," he cried brokenly. "It's hurt
me--terribly. But YOU--it must be like the cracking of your soul.
And Josephine, Mignonne, my little flower! She is with her
"Yes," replied Philip. "Come. Let us go. We can do nothing here.
And Josephine and her mother will be better alone for a time."
"I understand," said Adare almost roughly, in his struggle to
steady himself. "You're thinking of ME, Boy. God bless you for
that. You go to Josephine and Miriam. It is your place. Jean and I
will go into the big room."
Philip left them at Adare's room and went to his own, leaving the
door open that he might hear Josephine if she came out into the
hall. He was there to meet her when she appeared a little later.
They went to Moanne. And at last all things were done, and the
lights were turned low in Adare House. Philip did not take off his
clothes that night, nor did Jean and Metoosin. In the early dawn
they went out together to the little garden of crosses. Close to
the side of Iowaka, Jean pointed out a plot.
"Josephine would say the little one will sleep best there, close
to HER," he said. "She will care for it, M'sieur. She will know,
and understand, and keep its little soul bright and happy in
And there they digged. No one in Adare House heard the cautious
fall of pick and spade.
With morning came a strangely clear sun. Out of the sky had gone
the last haze of cloud. Jean crossed himself, and said:
"She knows--and has sent sunshine instead of storm."
Hours later it was Adare who stood over the little grave, and said
words deep and strong, and quivering with emotion, and it was Jean
and Metoosin who lowered the tiny casket into the frozen earth.
Miriam was not there, but Josephine clung to Philip's side, and
only once did her voice break in the grief she was fighting back.
Philip was glad when it was over, and Adare was once more in his
big room, and Josephine with her mother. He did not even want
Jean's company. In his room he sat alone until supper time. He
went to bed early, and strangely enough slept more soundly than he
had been able to sleep for some time.
When he awoke the following morning his first thought was that
this was the day of the third night. He had scarcely dressed when
Adare's voice greeted him from outside the door. It was different
now--filled with the old cheer and booming hopefulness, and
Philip smiled as he thought how this stricken giant of the
wilderness was rising out of his own grief to comfort Josephine
and him. They were all at breakfast, and Philip was delighted to
find Josephine looking much better than he had expected. Miriam
had sunk deepest under the strain of the preceding hours. She was
still white and wan. Her hands trembled. She spoke little.
Tenderly Adare tried to raise her spirits.
During the rest of that day Philip saw but little of Josephine,
and he made no effort to intrude himself upon her. Late in the
afternoon Jean asked him if he had made friends with the dogs, and
Philip told him of his experience with them. Not until nine
o'clock that night did he know why the half-breed had asked.
At that hour Adare House had sunk into quiet. Miriam and her
husband had gone to bed, the lights were low. For an hour Philip
had listened for the footsteps which he knew he would hear to-
night. At last he knew that Josephine had come out into the hall.
He heard Jean's low voice, their retreating steps, and then the
opening and closing of the door that let them out into the night.
There was a short silence. Then the door reopened, and some one
returned through the hall. The steps stopped at his own door--a
knock--and a moment later he was standing face to face with
"Throw on your coat and cap and come with me, M'sieur," he cried
in a low voice. "And bring your pistol!"