Part 6 out of 7
"Well," said Ike, "when I hear him speak in meetin', and see him git
on one of them smiles of his, I come purty nigh makin' a fool of
myself. I guess I'll have to quit goin' to church."
"No, I do not think you will quit, Ike, my boy," said the doctor.
"You have become thoroughly well inoculated. You could not, if you
"Well, I surmise it would be difficult, but I wish somethin' would
THE DON'S RECOVERY
Ike had his wish; for, when one day his business took him to the
Fort, the stage brought a stranger asking the way to Mr. Macgregor's
house, and immediately Ike undertook to convoy him thither. It was
Shock's shout of welcome did Ike good, but the meeting between the
two men no one saw. After the first warm greeting Shock began to be
aware of a great change in his friend. He was as a man whose heart
has been chilled to the core, cold, hard, irresponsive. Toward Shock
himself The Don was unchanged in affection and admiration, but
toward all the world he was a different man from the one Shock had
known in college days.
In Shock's work he was mildly interested, but toward all that stood
for religion he cherished a feeling of bitterness amounting to
hatred. True, out of respect he attended Shock's services, but he
remained unmoved through all; so that, after the first joy in his
friend's companionship, the change in him brought Shock a feeling of
pain, and he longed to help him.
"We will have to get him to work," he said to the doctor, to whom he
had confided The Don's history in part, not omitting the great grief
that had fallen upon him.
"A wise suggestion," replied the doctor, who had been attracted by
his young brother in the profession, "a wise suggestion. This
country, however, is painfully free from all endemic or epidemic
"Well, doctor, you know we ought to get that hospital going in the
Pass. Let us talk it over with him."
At the first opportunity Shock set forth his plans for the physical
and moral redemption of the lumbermen and miners of the Pass.
"I have seen the most ghastly cuts and bruises on the chaps in the
lumber camps," he said, "and the miners are always blowing
themselves up, and getting all sorts of chest troubles, not to speak
of mountain fever, rheumatism, and the like. There is absolutely no
place for them to go. Hickey's saloon is vile, noisy, and full of
bugs. Ugh! I'll never forget the night I put in there. I can feel
them yet. And besides, Hickey has a gang about him that make it
unsafe for any man to go there in health, much less in sickness.
Why, the stories they tell are perfectly awful. A fellow goes in
with his month's pay. In one night his fifty or sixty dollars are
gone, no one knows how. The poor chap is drunk, and he cannot tell.
When a prospector comes down from the hills and sells a prospect for
a good figure, from a hundred to five hundred dollars, and sometimes
more, these fellows get about him and roll him. In two weeks he is
kicked out, half dead. Oh, Hickey is a villain, and he is in league
with the red-light houses, too. They work together, to the physical
and moral damnation of the place. We want a clean stopping-place, a
club-room, and above everything else a hospital. Why, when the
miners and lumbermen happen to get off the same night the blood
flows, and there is abundant practice for any surgeon for a week or
"Sounds exciting," said The Don, mildly interested. "Why don't you
go up, doctor? "
"It is not the kind of practice I desire. My tastes are for a
gentler mode of life. The dangers of the Pass are too exciting for
me. They are a quaint people," the doctor continued, "primitive in
their ideas and customs, pre-historic, indeed, in their practice of
our noble art. I remember an experience of mine, some years ago now,
which made a vivid impression upon me at the time, and indeed, I
could not rid myself of the effects for many days, for many days."
"What was that, doctor?" enquired Shock, scenting a story.
"Well, it is a very interesting tale, a very interesting tale.
Chiefly so as an illustration of how, in circumstances devoid of the
amenities of civilised life, the human species tends toward
barbarism. A clear case of reversion to type. There was a half-breed
family living in the Pass, by the name of Goulais, and with the,
family lived Goulais' brother, by name Antoine, or, if you spelled
it as they pronounced it, it would be 'Ontwine.' The married one's
name was Pierre. Antoine was a lumberman, and in the pursuit of his
avocation he caught a severe cold, which induced a violent
inflammation of the bowels, causing very considerable distension and
a great deal of pain. Being in the neighbourhood attending some
cases of fever, I was induced by some friends of the Goulais to call
and see the sick man."
"The moment I opened the door I was met by a most pungent odour, a
most pungent odour. Indeed, though I have experienced most of the
smells that come to one in the practice of our profession, this
odour had a pungency and a nauseating character all its own. Looking
into the room I was startled to observe the place swimming with
blood, literally swimming with blood. Blood on the floor, blood upon
the bed, and dripping from it."
"'What does this mean? Is someone being murdered? Whence this
"'Non! non!" exclaimed Mrs. Goulais. "There is no one keel. It is
one cat blood.'"
"Approaching the bed to obtain a nearer view of the patient, I
discovered the cause. Turning down the bed quilt to make an
examination, you may imagine my surprise and horror to observe a
ghastly and bloody object lying across the abdomen of the sick man.
A nearer examination revealed this to be an immense cat which had
been ripped up from chin to tail, and laid warm and bleeding, with
all its appurtenances, upon the unhappy patient. All through the day
the brother, Pierre; had been kept busily engaged in hunting up
animals of various kinds, which were to be excised in this manner
and applied as poultice."
"In uncivilised communities the animal whose healing virtues are
supposed to be most potent is the cat, and the cure is most
certainly assured if the cat be absolutely black, without a single
white hair. In this community, however, deprived of many of the
domestic felicities, the absence of cats made it necessary for poor
Pierre to employ any animal on which he could lay his hands; so,
throughout the day, birds and beasts, varied in size and character,
were offered upon this altar. The cat which I discovered, however,
was evidently that upon which their hopes most firmly rested; for,
upon the failure of other animals, recourse would be had to the cat,
which had been kept in reserve. The state of preservation suggested
"A very slight examination of the patient showed me that there was
practically no hope of his recovery, and that it would be almost
useless in me to attempt to change the treatment, and all the more
that I should have to overcome not only the prejudices of the
patient and of his sister-in-law, but also of his very able-bodied
brother, whose devotion to his own peculiar method of treatment
amounted to fanaticism. However, I determined to make an attempt. I
prepared hot fomentations, removed the cat, and made my first
application. But no sooner had I begun my treatment than I heard
Pierre returning with a freshly slaughtered animal in his hand. The
most lively hope, indeed, triumph, was manifest in his excited
bearing. He bore by the tail an animal the character of which none
of us were in doubt from the moment Pierre appeared in sight. It was
the mephitis mephitica, that mephitine musteloid carnivore with
which none of us desire a close acquaintance, which announces its
presence without difficulty at a very considerable distance; in
short, the animal vulgarly known as the skunk."
"'Voila!' exclaimed Pierre, holding the animal up for our
admiration. 'Dis feex him queek."
"'Ah! Mon Dieu!' exclaimed his wife, covering her face with her
apron. But, whether from devotion to his art or from affection for
his brother, Pierre persisted in carrying out his treatment. He laid
the animal, cleft and pungently odorous, upon the patient. Needless
to say, I surrendered the case at once."
The doctor's manner of telling the story was so extremely droll that
both The Don and Shock were convulsed with laughter.
"Yes, they need a hospital, I should say," said The Don, when they
"Well," said Shock, "we shall go up and have a look at it."
The result of their visit to the Pass was that within a few weeks a
rough log building was erected, floored, roofed in, chinked with
moss, and lined with cotton, lumbermen and miners willingly
assisting in the work of building.
The Don became much interested in the whole enterprise. He visited
the various lumber camps, laid the scheme before the bosses and the
men, and in a short time gathered about two hundred dollars for
furnishing and equipment.
Shock left him to carry out the work alone, but after two weeks had
passed he was surprised to receive a message one day that the young
doctor was cutting things loose up in the Pass. With a great fear at
his heart Shock rode up the next day. The first man whom he met in
the little, straggling village was Sergeant Crisp of the North-West
Mounted Police, a man of high character, and famed in the
Territories alike for his cool courage and unimpeachable integrity.
"Up to see the young doctor?" was the Sergeant's salutation. "You
will find him at Nancy's, I guess," pointing to where a red light
shone through the black night. "Do you want me along?"
"No, thank you," said Shock. "I think I had better go alone."
For a moment he hesitated.
"How does one go in?" he enquired.
"Why, turn the handle and walk right in," said the Sergeant, with a
laugh. "You don't want to be bashful there."
With a sickening feeling of horror at his heart Shock strode to the
red-light door, turned the handle, and walked in.
In the room were a number of men, and two or three women in all the
shameless dishabille of their profession. As Shock opened the door a
young girl, with much of her youthful freshness and beauty still
about her, greeted him with a foul salutation.
Shock shrank back from her as if she had struck him in the face. The
girl noticed the action, came nearer to him, and offered him her
hand. Shock, overcoming his feeling of shame, took the hand offered
him, and holding it for a moment, said: "My dear girl, this is no
place for you. Your home waits for you. Your Saviour loves you."
In the noise that filled the room no one save the girl herself heard
his words; but two or three men who knew Shock well, amazed at his
appearance in that place, exclaimed: "It's the preacher!"
Nancy, the keeper of the house, who was sitting at one of the tables
gambling with some men, sprang to her feet and, seeing Shock, poured
out a torrent of foul blasphemy.
"Get out of this house! Get out, I say! You've no business here. Go,
blank your blank soul! Take yourself out of this!"
She worked herself into a raging fury. Shock stood quietly looking
"Here, Tom! Pat! Put this blank, blank out, or you'll go yourselves.
What do I keep you for?"
Three or four men, responding to her call, approached Shock.
Meantime The Don, who had been sitting at one of the tables with
three others, a pile of money before him, stood gazing in amazement
at Shock, unable to believe his eyes.
As the men approached Shock The Don came forward.
"Stop!" he said. "This man is my friend."
"Friend or no friend," shrieked Nancy, beside herself with rage,
"out he goes. He called me names in this town. He threatened to
drive me out of the town."
"Come, Don," said Shock, ignoring Nancy. "I want you."
"Wait one moment and I am with you," replied The Don, going back to
the table where he had been sitting." We will finish this game
again, gentlemen," he said. "Hickey, that's my money. Hand it over."
"You lie!" said Hickey. "Curse you for a blank, blank swell! You
can't come that game over us. It aint your money, anyway, and you
know it. That's money you raised for the hospital. Come on, boys,
let's clean them out. They don't belong to us."
With these words he sprang at The Don, but The Don's training in the
'Varsity gymnasium had not been in vain, and he met Hickey with a
straight left-hander that sent him into the corner upon his
shoulders, with his feet in the air.
Simultaneously with Hickey's attack, Nancy, shrieking "Kill him!
kill him!" flew at Shock, and fastening her fingers in his hair
dragged his head downward. Taking advantage of this attack a man
from the crowd rushed in and struck him a heavy blow on the neck,
and as he was falling kicked him full in his face. Immediately
another, jumping on Shock's prostrate form, began kicking him
savagely with his heavy calked boots.
"Give it to him!" yelled Nancy, dancing about like a fiend.
"Stop! Stop! You have killed him!" shrieked the young girl, Nellie
by name, throwing herself upon Shock and covering him with her body.
"Get up, you blank fool!" yelled Nancy, seizing her by the hair.
At this moment, however, The Don, freed from Hickey, sprang to
Shock's side, seized Nancy by the back of the neck and hurled her
across the room, caught the man who was still trying to kick Shock
to death, by the throat, and holding him at half arm struck him a
terrific blow and threw him like a log against his companion, who
came rushing to his assistance.
Meantime Nancy, still shrieking her refrain, "Kill him! kill him!"
was dragging forward Hickey, who had partially recovered from The
Don's blow, to renew the attack.
"Come on, you cowards!" she cried to the other men. "What are you
afraid of? Come on."
Stung by her taunts the men, led by Hickey, prepared to rush, when
the door opened and Sergeant Crisp appeared. Immediately the men who
had attacked Shock vanished through the back door.
"Hickey, I want you. Stand where you are. You too, Nancy, and every
man of you. What's this? Someone hurt? Why, it's the preacher. This
may be serious," he continued, drawing his revolver. "Don't move.
Not a man of you. What does this mean?" he asked, addressing The
"My friend there," said The Don, "came for me. We were going out
when they attacked us."
"Go and get help," replied the Sergeant. "We will carry him to the
hospital. You would, eh?" to one of the men who started for the
door. "Here, put up your hands. Quick!" There was a flash and a
click, and the man stood handcuffed.
In a few moments The Don came back with help, and they carried
Shock, groaning and bleeding, to the hospital, while the Sergeant,
putting a man in charge of Nancy and her gang, accompanied The Don.
In an agony of remorseful solicitude for his friend, and cursing
himself for his folly, The Don directed the movements of the
In the darkness behind them came the girl Nellie, following to the
door of the hospital.
"What are you after?" said Sergeant Crisp sharply. "We don't want
"I want to see the doctor," she said earnestly.
"Well?" said The Don, facing round to her.
"Let me nurse him," she said in a hurried, timid voice. "I have had
training. You can depend upon me."
The Don hesitated, glancing at her dishevelled, gaudy attire,
painted cheeks, and frowsy hair.
"Well," he said, "you may come."
The girl disappeared, and in a very few minutes returned dressed
modestly and quietly, the paint and pencilling washed from her face,
her hair smoothed behind her ears. The Don looked her over, and
nodding approval said: "That is better. Now, hold the light for me."
His examination revealed serious injuries about the head and face,
three ribs broken, one piercing the lungs. With Nellie's assistance
he managed to dress the wounds and set the broken bones before Shock
regained full consciousness.
As they were finishing. Shock opened his eyes and fixed them
enquiringly upon The Don's face.
"Well, how do you feel, old chap? Pretty sore, I guess," enquired
Shock tried to speak, but his attempt ended in a groan. Still his
eyes remained fastened enquiringly upon The Don's face. The Don bent
"The money, Don," he said with great difficulty. "Hospital?"
The Don groaned. He understood only too well;, and unable to escape
the insisting eyes, replied: "Yes, Shock. But I will make it all
right. Hickey has it now."
Shock closed his eyes for a few minutes, and then, opening them
again, compelled The Don's attention.
"Send for Ike," he whispered. "Right away."
Next day Ike appeared in a cold, white rage at The Don. He had got
the whole story from the messenger, and blamed no one but The Don.
As Shock's eyes rested upon Ike's lean, hard face, bent over him so
anxiously, he smiled a glad welcome.
"Don't look like that, Ike," he said. "I'll soon be fit."
"Why, you just bet!" said Ike, with a loud laugh, deriding all
"Ike," whispered Shock. Ike bent over him. "I want two hundred
dollars at once. Don't tell."
Without a word of questioning Ike nodded, saying "In half an hour, I
guess." But in less time he appeared and, slipping the roll of bills
under Shock's pillow, said: "It's all there."
"Good old boy," said Shock, trying to offer his hand.
Ike took his hand carefully. "Is there anything else?" he said, his
voice grave and hoarse.
"No, old boy," said Shock. "Thank you."
"Then," said Ike, "you'll keep quieter without me, I guess. I'll be
on hand outside." And with a nod he strode out of the room, his face
working with grief and rage.
For a week Ike remained at the Pass in hourly attendance at the
hospital, looking in at every chance upon the sick man. In Shock's
presence he carried an exaggerated air of cheerful carelessness, but
outside he went about with a face of sullen gloom. Toward The Don,
with whom he had previously been on most friendly terms, he was
wrathfully contemptuous, disdaining even a word of enquiry for his
patient, preferring to receive his information from the nurse. In
Ike's contempt, more than in anything else, The Don read the
judgment of honourable men upon his conduct, and this deepened to a
degree almost unendurable his remorse and self-loathing.
One morning, when the report was not so favourable, Ike stopped him
with the question: "Will he git better.?"
"Well," said The Don gloomily, "I have not given up hope."
"Look here," replied Ike, "I want you to listen to me." His tone was
quiet, but relentlessly hard. "If he don't, you'll talk to me about
The Don looked at him steadily.
"Would you kill me?" he asked, with a quiet smile.
"Well," drawled Ike slowly, "I'd try to."
"Thank you," said The Don. "That would save me the trouble." And,
turning on his heel, he left the cowboy in a very puzzled state of
But Shock did not die. His splendid constitution, clean blood, and
wholesome life stood off the grim enemy, and after two weeks of
terrible anxiety The Don began to hope, and insisted on the nurse
allowing herself some relaxation from her long watch.
But as Shock grew stronger The Don's gloom deepened. He had
determined that once his friend was fit for work again he would
relieve him of the burden of his presence. He had only brought
trouble and shame to the man who was his most trusted, almost his
Life looked black to The Don in those days. Lloyd's treachery had
smitten him hard. Not only had it shaken his faith in man, but in
God as well, for with him Lloyd had represented all that was most
sacred in religion. Death, too, had robbed him of his heart's sole
treasure, and in robbing him of this it had taken from him what had
given worth to his life and inspiration to his work. Of what use now
was anything he had left?
He was confronted, too, with the immediate results of his recent
folly. The hospital funds, of which he was the custodian, had
disappeared. He knew that Hickey had robbed him of most of them, but
in order to recover them he would have to acknowledge his crime of
using them for his own ends. As he moved in and out among the men,
too, he had caught murmurs of a charge of embezzlement that in his
present condition filled him with shame and fear. If the thing could
be staved off for a month he could make it right, but he knew well
that the gang would give him as little respite as they could.
Indeed, it was only Sergeant Crisp's refusal to entertain any formal
charge while Shock's life was in danger, that had saved The Don so
far. But while Sergeant Crisp had stood between him and his enemies
thus far, he knew that a day of reckoning must come, far the
Seregant was not a man to allow considerations of friendship to
interfere with duty. With Sergeant Crisp duty was supreme.
But more than The Don was Shock anxious to have this matter of the
hospital funds cleared up, and he only waited an opportunity to
speak to The Don about it. The opportunity was forced on him
One day, as he lay apparently asleep, the Sergeant called The Don
into the next room. Through the paper and cotton partition their
voices came quite clearly.
"I have been wanting to speak to you about a matter," the Sergeant
said, with some degree of hesitation, "Hickey's friends are saying
nasty things about you."
"What do you mean?" said The Don, knowing only too well.
"About the hospital funds, you know. In fact, they are saying--"
At this point the nurse came running in.
"Mr. Macgregor wants you, doctor, at once," she cried, and The Don
hurried in to him.
"Go and tell the Sergeant to wait," Shock said to the nurse, and she
went out leaving The Don alone with him.
"Don," said Shock, "I know all about it. Don't speak. Here," taking
the roll of bills from under his pillow, "here is the hospital
money. Quick! Don't ask questions now. Go to the Sergeant. Go! go!"
"Nothing wrong?" asked the Sergeant anxiously, when The Don had
"Oh, no," said The Don. "Nothing serious. You were speaking about
some hospital funds?"
"Why, yes, the fact is, they are--it's an ugly thing to say--they
are charging you with misappropriation of those funds."
"Oh, they are?" said The Don, who had by this time got back his
nerve. "Well, Sergeant, let them come on. The accounts will be
ready. And, indeed, I shall be glad to turn over the funds to
yourself now. Excuse me a moment." He went to his desk and brought
out a pass book. "This shows all the subscriptions, about two
hundred dollars, I think. And here," he said, drawing the bills out
of his pocket, "you will find the whole amount."
"Not at all," said the Sergeant, "not at all, my dear fellow. I
thought it right you should know--be prepared, you understand."
"Thank you, Sergeant," said The Don. "Any time my books can be seen.
The Don went in to Shock, sent the nurse out for a walk, shut the
door, and then, returning to the bed, threw himself on his knees.
"Oh, Shock," he said, "this is too much. What can I say?"
"Nothing at all, old chap. Don't say anything What is that between
us? We have been through too many things together to have this
"Shock! Shock!" continued The Don, "I have been an awful fool, a
blank, cursed fool!"
"Don't swear, old chap," said Shock.
"No, no, I won't, but I curse myself. I have been waiting for this
chance to tell you. I don't want you to think too badly of me. This
thing began in Hickey's saloon some days before that night. He was
playing some fellows from the camp a skin game. I called him down
and he challenged me. I took him up, and cleaned him out easily
enough. You know my old weakness. The fever came back upon me, and I
got going for some days. That night I was called to visit a sick
girl at Nancy's. The gang came in, found me there, and throwing down
their money dared me to play. Well, I knew it was play or fight. I
took of my coat and went for them. They cleaned me out, I can't tell
how. I could not get on to their trick. Then, determined to find
out, I put up that--that other money, you know--and I was losing it
fast, too, when you came in."
As Shock listened to The Don's story his face grew brighter and
"My dear fellow," he said in a tone of relief, "is that all? Is that
the whole thing? Tell me, as God hears you!"
"That's the whole story, as God hears me!" said The Don solemnly.
"Oh, thank God!" said Shock. "I thought--I was afraid--" He paused,
unable to go on.
"What! You thought I had forgotten," cried The Don. "Well, I confess
things did look bad. But I want to tell you I am clean, and may God
kill me before I can forget! No, no woman shall ever touch my lips
while I live. Do you believe me, Shock?"
Shock put out his hand. He was still too much moved to speak.
At length he said: "Nothing else matters, Don. I could not bear the
For some minutes the friends sat in silence.
"But, Don," said Shock at length, "you can not go on this way. Your
whole life is being ruined. You cannot draw off from God. You have
been keeping Him at arm's length. This will not do."
"It is no use, Shock," said The Don bitterly. "My head is all right.
I believe with you. But I cannot get over the feeling I have for
that--" He broke off suddenly.
"I know, I know. I feel it, too, old chap, but after all, it is not
worth while. And besides, Don, forgive me saying this--if it had not
been true about you he could not have hurt you, could he?"
The Don winced.
"I am not excusing him, nor blaming you," continued Shock eagerly,
"but a man has got to be honest. Isn't that right?"
"Oh, yes, it is true enough, Shock. I was a beast, as you know, at
that time in my life, but I had put it all past me, and I believed
that God had forgiven me. And then those two raked it all up again,
and broke my darling's heart, and drove me away, an outcast. He is a
minister of the gospel, and she is a member of the Christian
"Don," said Shock gravely, "that won't do. You are not fair."
The door opened quietly, and the nurse came in and sat down out of
Shock's sight behind the bed.
"Now, Don, I want you to read for me that tale of the Pharisee and
the woman who was a sinner. For my sake, mind you, as well as for
yours, for I was wrong, too, on this matter. I confess I hated him,
for I cannot help thinking that he has done me a great wrongs and I
have found it hard enough to say the Lord's Prayer. Perhaps you had
better read this letter so that you may understand."
He took from under his pillow Mrs. Fairbanks' letter and gave it to
The Don, who read it in silence. Poor Shock! He was opening up
wounds that none had ever seen, or even suspected, and the mere
uncovering of them brought him keen anguish and humiliation.
As The Don read the letter he began to swear deep oaths.
"Stop, Don. You mustn't swear. Now listen to me. I think she has a
perfect right to do as she has been doing. But--Lloyd"--Shock seemed
to get the name out with difficulty,--"was my friend, and I think he
has not been fair."
"Fair!" burst out The Don. "The low down villain!"
"But listen. The question with me has been how to forgive him, for I
must forgive him or keep far from Him who has forgiven me, and that
I cannot afford to do. Now read." And The Don took up the Bible from
the little table beside Shock's bed, and read that most touching of
all tales told of the Saviour of the sinful.
"'Wherefore I say unto thee, her sins, which are many, are forgiven,
for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth
little. And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. Thy faith hath
saved thee; go in peace.'"
As The Don finished reading, a sound of sobbing broke the silence in
"Who is that? Is that you, Nell?" said Shock. "What is the matter,
Nell? That is for you, too. Now we will have Don read it again." And
once more, with great difficulty, The Don read the words, so
exquisitely delicate, so divinely tender.
"That is for you, too, Nell," said Shock.
"For me?" she cried. "Oh, no, not for me!"
"Yes, Nell, my sister, it is for you."
"Oh," she cried, with a tempest of sobs, "don't call me that. It
cannot be. I can never be clean again."
"Yes, Nell, He says it Himself. 'Her sins, which are many, are
forgiven,' and He can make you clean as the angels. We all need to
be made clean, and He has undertaken to cleanse us."
It was a very humble and chastened man that went out from Shock's
presence that evening. Through the days of the week that followed
The Don went about his work speaking little, but giving himself with
earnestness and in a new spirit, more gentle, more sympathetic, to
his ministry to the sick in the camps and shacks round about. But
still the gloom was unlifted from his heart. Day by day, however, in
response to Shock's request he would read something of the story of
that great loving ministration to the poor, and sick, and needy, and
of infinite compassion for the sinful and outcast, till one day,
when Shock had been allowed for the first time to sit in his chair,
and The Don was about to read, Shock asked for the story of the
debtors, and after The Don had finished he took from his pocket
Brown's letter and said:
"Now, Don, forgive me. I am going to read something that will make
you understand that story," and he read from Brown's letter the
words that described Betty's last hour.
The Don sat white and rigid until Shock came to the words, "God
forgives us all, and we must forgive," when his self-control gave
way and he abandoned himself to the full indulgence of his great
"It was not to grieve you, Don," said Shock, after his friend's
passion of grief had subsided. "It was not to grieve you, you know,
but to show you what is worth while seeing--the manner of God's
forgiveness; for as she forgave and took you to her pure heart again
without fear or shrinking, so God forgives us. And, Don, it is not
worth while. in the face of so great a forgiveness, to do anything
else but forgive, and it is a cruel thing, and a wicked thing, to
keep at a distance such love as that."
"No, no," said The Don, "it is not worth while. It is wicked, and it
is folly. I will go back. I will forgive."
THE REGIONS BEYOND
The visit of the Superintendent to a mission field varied according
to the nature of the field and the character of the work done,
between an inquisitorial process and a triumphal march. Nothing
escaped his keen eye. It needed no questioning on his part to become
possessed of almost all the facts necessary to his full information
about the field, the work, the financial condition, and the general
efficiency of the missionary. One or two points he was sure to make
inquiry about. One of these was the care the missionary had taken of
the outlying points. He had the eye of an explorer, which always
rests on the horizon. The results of his investigations could easily
be read in his joy or his grief, his hope or his disappointment, his
genuine pride in his missionary or his blazing, scorching rebuke.
The one consideration with the Superintendent was the progress of
the work. The work first, the work last, the work always.
The announcement to Shock through his Convener, that the
Superintendent purposed making a visit in the spring, filled him
with more or less anxiety. He remembered only too well his failure
at the Fort; he thought of that postscript in the Superintendent's
letter to his Convener; he knew that even in Loon Lake and in the
Pass his church organization was not anything to boast of; and
altogether he considered that the results he had to show for his
year's labour were few and meagre.
The winter had been long and severe. In the Pass there had been a
great deal of sickness, both among the miners and among the
lumbermen. The terrible sufferings these men had to endure from the
cold and exposure, for which they were all too inadequately
prepared, brought not only physical evils upon them, but reacted in
orgies unspeakably degrading.
The hospital was full. Nell had been retained by The Don as nurse,
and although for a time this meant constant humiliation and trial to
her, she bore herself with such gentle humility, and did her work
with such sweet and untiring patience, that the men began to regard
her with that entire respect and courteous consideration that men of
their class never fail to give to pure and high-minded women.
The Don was full of work. He visited the camps, treated the sick and
wounded there, and brought down to the hospital such as needed to be
moved thither, and gradually won his way into the confidence of all
who came into touch with him. Even Ike, after long hesitation and
somewhat careful observation, gave him once more his respect and his
The doctor was kept busy by an epidemic of diphtheric croup that had
broken out among the children of the Loon Lake district, and began
to take once more pride in his work, and to regain his self-respect
and self-control. He took especial pride and joy in the work of The
Don at the Pass, and did all he could to make the hospital and the
club room accomplish all the good that Shock had hoped for them.
But though the hospital and club room had done much for the men of
the Pass, there was still the ancient warfare between the forces
that make for manhood and those that make for its destruction.
Hickey still ran his saloon, and his gang still aided him in all his
nefarious work. Men were still "run" into the saloon or the red-
light houses, there to be "rolled," and thence to be kicked out, fit
candidates for the hospital. The hospital door was ever open for
them, and whatever the history, the physical or moral condition of
the patient, he was received, and with gentle, loving ministration
tended back to health, and sent out again to camp or mine, often
only to return for another plunge into the abyss of lust and
consequent misery; sometimes, however, to set his feet upon the
upward trail that led to pure and noble manhood. For The Don, while
he never preached, took pains to make clear to all who came under
his charge the results of their folly and their sin to body and to
mind, as well as to soul, and he had the trick of forcing them to
take upon themselves the full responsibility for their destiny,
whether it was to be strength, soundness of mind, happiness, heaven,
or disease, insanity, misery, hell. It was heart-breaking work, for
the disappointments were many and bitter, but with now and then an
achievement of such splendid victory as gave hope and courage to
keep up the fight.
At Loon Lake during the winter Shock had devoted himself to the
perfecting of his church organization A Communion Roll had been
formed and on it names entered of men and women whose last church
connection reached back for ten or fifteen or twenty years, and
along with those the names of some who had never before had a place
in that mystic order of the saints of God. And, indeed, with some of
these Shock had had his own difficulty, not in persuading them to
offer themselves as candidates, but in persuading himself to assume
the responsibility of accepting them. To Shock with his Highland
training it was a terribly solemn step to "come forward." The
responsibility assumed, bulked so largely in the opinion of those
whom Shock had always regarded as peculiarly men of God, that it
almost, if not altogether, obliterated the privilege gained.
When a man like Sinclair, whose reputable character and steady life
seemed to harmonize with such a step, he had little difficulty; and
had the Kid, with his quick intelligence, his fineness of spirit and
his winning disposition, applied for admission, Shock would have had
no hesitation in receiving him. But the Kid, although a regular
attendant on the services, and though he took especial delight in
the Sabbath evening gatherings after service, had not applied, and
Shock would not think of bringing him under pressure; and all the
more because he had not failed to observe that the Kid's interest
seemed to be more pronounced and more steadfast in those meetings in
which Marion's singing was the feature. True, this peculiarity the
Kid shared with many others of the young men in the district, to
Shock's very considerable embarrassment, though to the girl's
innocent and frank delight; and it is fair to say that the young
men, whom Shock had put upon their honor in regard to one who was
but a child, never by word or look failed in that manly and
considerate courtesy that marks the noble nature in dealing with the
weak and unprotected.
The truth about the Kid was that that gay young prince of broncho
busters, with his devil-may-care manner and his debonair appearance,
was so greatly sought after, so flattered and so feted by the
riotous and reckless company at the Fort, of which the Inspector and
his wife were the moving spirits, that he was torn between the two
sets of influences that played upon him, and he had not yet come to
the point of final decision as to which kingdom he should seek.
It was with Ike and men like Ike, however, that Shock had his
greatest difficulty, for when the earnest appeal was made for men to
identify themselves with the cause that stood for all that was
noblest in the history of the race, and to swear allegiance to Him
who was at once the ideal and the Saviour of men, Ike without any
sort of hesitation came forward and to Shock's amazement, and,
indeed, to his dismay, offered himself. For Ike was regarded through
all that south country as the most daringly reckless of all the
cattle-men, and never had he been known to weaken either in "takin'
his pizen," in "playin' the limit" in poker, or in "standin' up agin
any man that thought he could dust his pants." Of course he was
"white." Everyone acknowledged that. But just how far this quality
of whiteness fitted him as a candidate for the communion table Shock
was at a loss to say.
He resolved to deal with Ike seriously, but the initial difficulty
in this was that Ike seemed to be quite unperplexed about the whole
matter, and entirely unafraid. Shock's difficulty and distress were
sensibly increased when on taking Ike over the "marks" of the
regenerate man, as he had heard them so fully and searchingly set
forth in the "Question Meetings" in the congregation of his
childhood, he discovered that Ike was apparently ignorant of all the
deeper marks, and what was worse, seemed to be quite undisturbed by
While Shock was proceeding with his examination he was exceedingly
anxious lest he should reveal to Ike any suspicion as to his
unfitness for the step he proposed to take. At the same time, he was
filled with anxiety lest through any unfaithfulness of his on
account of friendship a mistake in so solemn a matter should be
made. It was only when he observed that Ike was beginning to grow
uneasy under his somewhat searching examination, and even offered to
withdraw his name, that Shock decided to cast to the winds all his
preconceived notions of what constituted fitness for enrollment in
the Church of the living God, and proceeded to ask Ike some plain,
common sense questions.
"You are sure you want to join this church, Ike?"
"That's what," said Ike.
"Why do you want to join?"
"Well, you gave us a clear invite, didn't you?"
"But I mean, is it for my sake? Because I asked you?"
"Why, sure. I want to stand at your back"
Shock was puzzled. He tried another line of approach.
"Do you know, Ike, what you are joining?"
"Well, it's your church, you said."
"Supposing I was not here at all, would you join?"
"Can't say. Guess not."
Shock felt himself blocked again.
"Ike, do you think you are really fit to do this?"
"Fit? Well, you didn't say anything about bein' fit. You said if
anyone was willin' to take it up, to stay with the game, to come
"Yes, yes, I know, Ike. I did say that, and I meant that," said
Shock. "But, Ike, you know that the Apostle calls those who belong
to the church 'saints of God.'"
"Saints, eh? Well, I aint no saint, I can tell you that. Guess I'm
out of this combination. No, sir, I aint no paradox--paragon, I
mean." Ike remembered the Kid's correction.
His disappointment and perplexity were quite evident. After hearing
Shock's invitation from the pulpit it had seemed so plain, so
His answer rendered Shock desperate.
"Look here, Ike, I am going to be plain with you. You won't mind
"Wade right in."
"Well, you sometimes swear, don't you?"
"Yes, that's so. But I've pretty much quit, unless there's some
"Well, you drink, don't you?"
"Why, sure. When I can git it, and git it good, which aint easy in
this country now."
"And you sometimes fight?"
"Well," in a tone almost of disappointment, "there aint nobody
wantin' to experiment with me in these parts any longer."
"And you gamble? Play poker for money, I mean?"
"Oh, well, I don't profess to be the real thing," replied Ike
modestly, as if disclaiming an excellence he could hardly hope to
attain, "but I ginerally kin stay some with the game."
"Now, Ike, listen to me. I'm going to give it to you straight."
Ike faced his minister squarely, looking him fair in the eyes.
"You have been doing pretty much as you like all along. Now, if you
join the church you are swearing solemnly to do only what Jesus
Christ likes. You give your word you will do only what you think He
wants. You see? He is to be your Master."
"Yes," said Ike. "Yes, that's so. That's right."
"In everything, remember."
"Why, sure." That seemed quite simple to Ike.
"Swearing, drinking, fighting, gambling," Shock continued.
"Why, you don't suppose He would mind a little thing like a smile
with the boys now and then, or a quiet game of poker, do you?"
"What I say, Ike, is this--if you thought He did mind, would you
"Why, sure. You just bet! I said so."
"Well, Ike, supposing some--one of those chaps from the Pass, say
Hickey, should walk up and hit you right the face, what would you
"What? Proceed to eddicate him. Preject him into next week. That is,
if there was anything left."
Shock opened his Bible and read, "'But I say unto you, That ye
resist not evil; but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek
turn to him the other also.' That is what Jesus Christ says, Ike."
"He does, eh? Does it mean just that?" Ike felt that this was a
"Yes, it means just that."
"Are all you fellers like that?"
This wrought in Shock sudden confusion.
"Well, Ike, I am afraid not, but we ought to be, and we aim to be."
"Well," said Ike slowly, "I guess I aint made that way."
Then Shock turned the leaves of his Bible, and read the story of the
cruel bruising of the Son of Man, and on to the words, "Father,
forgive them." Ike had heard this story before, but he had never
seen its bearing upon practical life.
"I say," he said, with reverent admiration in his voice, "He did it,
didn't He? That's what I call pretty high jumpin', aint it? Well,"
he continued, "I can't make no promises, but I tell you what, I'll
aim at it. I will, honest. And when you see me weaken, you'll jack
me up, won't you? You'll have to stay with me, for it's a mighty
Then Shock took his hands. "Ike, you are a better man than I am, but
I promise you I will stay all I can with you. But there will be days
when you will be all alone except that He will be with you. Now
listen," and Shock, turning over the leaves of his Bible, read, "Lo,
I am with you always," and a little further over and read again, "I
can do all things through Christ that strengtheneth me."
"That is His solemn promise, Ike. He has promised to save us from
our sins. Do you think you can trust Him to do that?"
"Why, sure," said Ike, as if nothing else was possible. "That's His
game, aint it? I guess He'll stay with it. He said so, didn't He?"
"Yes," said Shock, with a sudden exaltation of faith, "He said so,
and He will stay with it. Don't you be afraid, Ike. He will see you
The Communion Roll when it was completed numbered some eighteen
names, and of these eighteen none were more sorely pressed to the
wall in God's battle than Ike, and none more loyally than he stayed
with the game.
Owing to miscarriage in arrangements, when the Superintendent
arrived at the Fort he was surprised to find no one to meet him.
This had an appearance of carelessness or mismanagement that
unfavorably impressed the Superintendent as to the business capacity
of his missionary. He was too experienced a traveller, however, in
the remote and unformed districts of the West, to be at all
disconcerted at almost any misadventure.
He inquired for Mr. Macfarren, and found him in Simmons' store,
redolent of bad tobacco and worse whiskey, but quite master of his
mental and physical powers. The Superintendent had business with Mr.
Macfarren, and proceeded forthwith to transact it.
After his first salutation he began, "When I saw you last, Mr.
Macfarren, you professed yourself keenly desirous of having services
established by our church here."
"Why this sudden change, represented by your letter to the
Committee, and the petition, which I judge was promoted by yourself?
I placed a man here, with every expectation of success. How can you
explain this change in you and in the people you represent?"
The Superintendent's bodily presence was anything but weak, and men
who could oppose him when at a distance, when confronted with him
found it difficult to support their opposition. Macfarren found it
so. He began in an apologetic manner, "Well, Doctor, circumstances
have changed. Times have been none too good. In fact, we are
suffering from financial stringency at present."
"Mr. Macfarren, be specific as to your reasons. Your letter and your
petition were instrumental in persuading the Committee to a complete
change of policy. This should not be without the very best of
"Well, as I was saying," answered Macfarren, "finances were--"
"Tut! tut! Mr. Macfarren. You do not all become poor in six months.
Your cattle are still here. Your horses have suffered from no
"Well," said Mr. Macfarren, "the people have become alienated."
"Alienated? From the church?"
"Well, yes. They seem to be satisfied with--to prefer, indeed, the
"Mr. Macfarren, do you mean to tell me that the Presbyterians of
this country prefer any church to their own? I fear they are a
different breed from those I have known, and unworthy to represent
the church of their fathers."
"Well, the truth is, Doctor," said Macfarren, considerably nettled
at the Superintendent's manner, "the people consider that they were
not well treated in the supply you sent them."
"Ah! Now we have it. Well, let us be specific again. Is Mr.
Macgregor not a good preacher?"
"No, he is not. He is not such a preacher as many of us have been
"By the way, Mr. Macfarren, what do your people pay toward this
man's salary? Five hundred? Three hundred? We only asked you two
hundred, and this you found difficult. And yet you expect a two-
"Well, his preaching was not his only fault," said Macfarren. "He
was totally unsuited to our people. He was a man of no breeding, no
manners, and in this town we need a man--"
"Wait a moment, Mr. Macfarren. You can put up with his preaching?"
"Did he visit his people?"
"Yes, goodness knows, he did that enough."
"Was his character good?"
"Then I understand you to say that as a preacher he was passable, as
a pastor and as a man all that could be desired?"
"Oh, yes, certainly. But he was--well, if you have met him you must
know what I mean. In short, he was uncouth and boorish in his
The Superintendent drew himself up, and his voice began to burr in a
way that his friends would have recognized as dangerous.
"Boorish, Mr. Macfarren? Let me tell you, sir, that he is a Highland
gentleman, the son of a Highland gentlewoman, and boorishness is
impossible to him."
"Well, that may be too strong, Doctor, but you do not understand our
society here. We have a large number of people of good family from
the old country and from the East, and in order to reach them we
require a man who has moved in good society."
"Well, sir," said the Superintendent, "Jesus Christ would not have
suited your society here, for He was a man of very humble birth, and
moved in very low circles." And without further word he turned from
Macfarren to greet Father Mike, who had entered the store.
"Delighted to see you again, Bishop," said Father Mike. "We are
always glad to see you even though you are outside the pale."
"Depends upon which pale you mean, Father Mike," said the
Superintendent, shaking him warmly by the hand.
"True, sir. And I, for one, refuse to narrow its limits to those of
any existing organization."
"Your principles do you credit, sir," said the Superintendent,
giving his hand an extra shake. "They are truly Scriptural, truly
modern, and truly Western."
"But, Doctor, I want to ask you, if I may without impertinence, why
did you do so great an injury to our community as to remove your
missionary from us?"
"Ah, you consider that a loss, Father Mike?"
"Undoubtedly, sir. A great and serious loss. He was a high type of a
man. I will quote as expressing my opinions, the words of a
gentleman whose judgment would, I suppose, be considered in this
community as final on all such matters--General Brady, sir. I think
you know him. This is what I heard him say. 'He is an able preacher
and a Christian gentleman.'"
"Thank you, sir. Thank you, sir," said the Superintendent. "I thank
you for your warm appreciation of one whom, after short
acquaintance, I regard as you do."
It was Father Mike who drove the Superintendent to Loon Lake next
day, only to find Shock away from home.
"We will inquire at the stopping-place," said Father Mike.
"Let us see," said the Superintendent, who never forgot a name or a
face, "does Carroll keep that still? He did five years ago."
"Yes, and here he is," said Father Mike. "Hello, Carroll. Can you
tell me where your minister is?"
"By japers, it's a search warrant you'll need for him I'm thinkin'.
Ask Perault there. Perault, do you know where the preacher is?"
"Oui. He's go 'way for prospect sure."
"Prospecting?" inquired Father Mike.
"Oui," grinned Perault, "dat's heem, one prospector. Every day,
every day he's pass on de trial, over de hill, down de coulee, all
"He does, eh?" said Father Mike, delighted at the description of his
friend. "What is he after? Coal?"
"Coal!" echoed Perault with contempt. "Not mouche. He's go for find
de peep. He's dig 'em up on de church, by gar."
"You see, Doctor," said Father Mike, "no one has any chance here
with your fellow. There's Carroll, now, and Perault, they are
properly Roman Catholic, but now they are good Presbyterians."
"Bon, for sure. Eh, Carroll, mon garcon?"
"Bedad, an' it's thrue for ye," said Carroll.
It was no small tribute to Shock's influence that the ancient feud
between these two had been laid to rest.
"Well, do you know when he will be home?" asked Father Mike.
"I go for fin' out," said Perault, running into his house, and
returning almost immediately. "Tomorrow for sure. Mebbe to-night."
"Well, Carroll, this is your minister's bishop. I suppose you can
look after him till Mr. Macgregor comes home."
"An' that we can, sir. Come right in," said Carroll readily. "Anny
friend of the Prospector, as we call him, is welcome to all in me
house, an' that he is."
That afternoon and evening the Superintendent spent listening in the
pauses of his letter writing to the praises of the missionary, and
to a description, with all possible elaboration and ornament, of the
saving of little Patsey's life, in which even the doctor's skill
played a very subordinate part.
"An' there's Patsey himself, the craythur," said Mrs. Carroll, "an'
will he luk at his father or meself when his riverince is by? An'
he'll follie him out an' beyant on that little pony of his."
The Superintendent made no remark, but he kept quietly gathering
information. In Perault's house it was the same. Perault, Josie, and
Marion sang in harmony the praises of Shock.
Late at night Shock returned bringing the doctor with him, both
weary and spent with the long, hard day's work. From Perault, who
was watching for his return, he heard of the arrival of the
Superintendent. He was much surprised and mortified that his
Superintendent should have arrived in his absence, and should have
found no one to welcome him.
"Tell Josie and Marion," he said to Perault, "to get my room ready,"
and, weary as he was, he went to greet his chief.
He found him, as men were accustomed to find him, busy with his
correspondence. The Superintendent rose up eagerly to meet his
"How do you do, sir, how do you do? I am very glad to see you," and
he gripped Shock's hand with a downward pull that almost threw him
off his balance.
"I wish to assure you," said the Superintendent, when the greetings
were over, "I wish to assure you," and his voice took its deepest
tone, "of my sincere sympathy with you in your great loss. It was my
privilege to be present at your mother's funeral, and to say a few
words. You have a great and noble heritage in your mother's memory.
She was beautiful in her life, and she was beautiful in death."
Poor Shock! The unexpected tender reference to his mother, the
brotherly touch, and the vision that he had from the
Superintendent's words of his mother, beautiful in death, were more
than he could bear. His emotions overwhelmed him. He held the
Superintendent's hand tight in his, struggling to subdue the sobs,
that heaved up from his labouring breast.
"I suppose," continued the Superintendent, giving him time to
recover himself, "my last letter failed to reach you. I had expected
to be here two weeks later, but I wrote changing my arrangements so
as to arrive here to-day."
"No, sir," said Shock, "no letter making any change reached me. I am
very sorry indeed, not to have met you, and I hope you were not much
"Not at all, sir, not at all. Indeed, I was very glad to have the
opportunity of spending a little time at the Fort, and meeting some
of your friends. By the way, I met a friend of yours on my journey
down, who wished to be remembered to you, Bill Lee of Spruce Creek.
You remember him?"
"Oh, perfectly. Bill is a fine fellow," said Shock,
"Yes, Bill has his points. He has quit whiskey selling, he said, and
he wished that you should know that. He said you would know the
But Shock knew of no reason, and he only replied, "Bill was very
kind to me, and I am glad to know of the change in him."
"Yes," continued the Superintendent, "and I spent some time at the
Fort meeting with some of the people, but upon inquiries I am more
puzzled than ever to find a reason for the withdrawal of our
services, and I am still in the dark about it."
Shock's face flushed a deep red.
"I am afraid," he said, in a shamed and hesitating manner, "that I
was not the right man for the place. I think I rather failed at the
"I saw Macfarren," continued the Superintendent, ignoring Shock's
remark. "He tried to explain, but seemed to find it difficult." The
Superintendent omitted to say that he had heard from Father Mike
what might have explained in a measure Macfarren's opposition. But
Shock remained silent.
"Well," continued the Superintendent, "now that I am here, what do
you wish me to do?"
"First," said Shock, "come over to my house. Come to the manse.
Carroll will not mind."
The Superintendent put his papers together, and Shock, shouldering
his valise and coat, led the way to the manse.
As they entered the big room the Superintendent paused to observe
its proportions, noted the library shelves full of books, the organ
in the corner, the pictures adorning the walls, and without much
comment passed on upstairs to Shock's own room. But he did not fail
to detect a note of pride in Shock's voice as he gave him welcome.
"Come in, come in and sit down. I hope you will be comfortable. It
is rather rough."
"Rough, sir," exclaimed the Superintendent. "It is palatial. It is
truly magnificent. I was quite unprepared for anything like this.
Now tell me how was this accomplished?"
"Oh," said Shock, diffidently, "they all helped, and here it is."
"That is all, eh?"
And that was all Shock would tell. The rest of the story, however,
the Superintendent heard from others. And so, throughout his whole
visit the Superintendent found it impossible to get his missionary
to tell of his own labours, and were it not that he carried an
observant and experienced eye, and had a skilful and subtle
inquisitorial method, he might have come and gone knowing little of
the long, weary days and weeks of toil that lay behind the things
that stood accomplished in that field.
It was the same at the Pass. There stood the hospital equipped,
almost free from debt, and working in harmony with the camps and the
miners. There, too, was the club room and the library.
"And how was all this brought about?" inquired the Superintendent.
"Oh, The Don and the doctor took hold, and the men all helped."
The Superintendent said nothing, but his eyes were alight with a
kindly smile as they rested on his big missionary, and he took his
arm in a very close grip as they walked from shack to shack.
All this time Shock was pouring into his Superintendent's ear tales
of the men who lived in the mountains beyond the Pass. He spoke of
their hardships, their sufferings, their temptations, their terrible
vices and their steady degradation.
"And have you visited them?" inquired the Superintendent.
He had not been able to visit them as much as he would have liked,
but he had obtained information from many of the miners and
lumbermen as to their whereabouts, and as to the conditions under
which they lived and wrought. Shock was talking to a man of like
mind. The Superintendent's eye, like that of his missionary, was
ever upon the horizon, and his desires ran far ahead of his vision.
It was from The Don that the Superintendent learned of all Shock's
work in the past, and of all that had been done to counteract the
terrible evils that were the ruin of the lumbermen and miners. Won
by the Superintendent's sympathy, The Don unburdened his heart and
told him his own story of how, in his hour of misery and despair,
Shock had stood his friend and saved him from shame and ruin.
"Yes, sir," The Don concluded, "more than I shall ever be able to
repay he has done for me, and," he added humbly, "if I have any hope
for the future, that too I owe to him."
"You have cause to thank God for your friend, sir," said the
Superintendent, "and he has no reason to be ashamed of his friend.
You are doing noble work, sir, in this place, noble work."
A visit to the nearest lumber camp and mines, a public meeting in
the hospital, and the Superintendent's work at the Pass for the time
As he was leaving the building The Don called him into his private
"I wish to introduce you to our nurse," he said. "We think a great
deal of her, and we owe much to her," and he left them together.
"I asked to see you," said Nellie, "because I want your advice and
help. They need to have more nurses here than one, and no one will
come while I am here."
The Superintendent gazed at her, trying to make her out. She tried
to proceed with her tale but failed, and, abandoning all reserve,
told him with many tears the story of her sin and shame.
"And now," she said, "for the sake of the hospital and the doctor I
must go away, and I want to find a place where I can begin again."
As the Superintendent heard her story his eyes began to glisten
under his shaggy brows.
"My dear child," he said at length, "you have had a hard life, but
the Saviour has been good to you. Come with me, and I will see what
can be done. When can you come?"
"When the doctor says," she replied.
"Very well," said the Superintendent, "I shall arrange it with him,"
and that was the beginning of a new life for poor Nellie.
The last meeting of the Superintendent's visit was at Loon Lake,
after the Sunday evening service. The big room was crowded with
people gathered from the country far and near, from the Fort to the
Pass, to hear the great man. And he was worth while hearing that
day. His imagination kindled by his recent sight of the terrible
struggle that men were making toward cleanness, and toward heaven
and God, and the vision he had had through the eyes of his
missionary of the regions beyond, caused his speech to glow and
For an hour and more they listened with hearts attent, while he
spoke to them of their West, its resources, its possibilities, and
laid upon them their responsibility as those who were determining
its future for the multitudes that were to follow. His appeal for
men and women to give themselves to the service of God and of their
country, left them thrilling with visions, hopes and longings.
In the meeting that always followed the evening service, the people
kept crowding about him, refusing to disperse. Then the
Superintendent began again.
"Your minister has been telling me much about the men in the
mountains. He seems to have these men upon his heart."
"Sure," said Ike. "He's a regular prospector, he is."
"So I have heard, so I have heard," said the Superintendent,
smiling, "and so I should judge from what I have seen. Now, what are
you going to do about it?"
They all grew quiet.
"You know about these men, no one else does. Are you going to let
them go to destruction without an attempt to prevent it?"
The silence deepened.
"Now, listen to me. This will cost money. How much can you give to
send a man to look them up? Two hundred and fifty dollars?"
"Count me," said Ike.
"Me, too," echoed Perault. "And me, and me," on all sides. In ten
minutes the thing was arranged.
"Now, there is something else," said the Superintendent, and his
voice grew deep and solemn. "Can you spare me your man?"
"No, sir!" said the Kid, promptly.
"Not much!" echoed Perault, and in this feeling all emphatically
"Do you know where we can get such a man?" said the Superintendent,
"such a prospector?"
There was no answer. "I do not either. Now, what are you going to
Then Sinclair spoke up.
"Do you mean, Doctor, to remove Mr. Macgregor from us? That would
seem to be very hard upon this field."
"Well, perhaps not; but can you spare him for six months, at least?"
For some minutes no one made reply. Then Ike spoke.
"Well, I surmise we got a good deal from our Prospector. In fact,
what we aint got from him don't count much. And I rather opine that
we can't be mean about this. It's a little like pullin' hair, but I
reckon we'd better give him up."
"Thank you, sir," said the Superintendent, who had learned much from
Ike throughout the day. "Your words are the best commentary I have
ever heard upon a saying of our Lord's, that has inspired men to all
unselfish living, 'Freely ye have received, freely give.'"
THE NEW POLICY
It was still early spring when Shock received a letter from Brown, a
letter full of perplexity, and love and wrath.
"Something has gone wrong," he wrote. "You have got to come down
here and straighten it out. I can plainly see that Mrs. Fairbanks is
at the bottom of it, but just what she is at I cannot discover.
Helen I do not now see much. The changes in our life, you see, have
been very great. I cannot bear to go to the house now. The
associations are too much for me. Besides, Lloyd seems to have taken
possession of the whole family. The old lady flatters and fondles
him in a manner that makes my gorge rise. It is quite evident she
wants him for her son-in-law, and more than evident that he entirely
"Just what Helen thinks of it I am at a loss to know, but I cannot
believe she can stand Lloyd any more than I can. Up till recently
she was very open with me and very loyal to you, but of late a
change has taken place, and what in thunder is the matter, I cannot
make out. Have you done or said anything? Have you been guilty of
any high-falutin' nonsense of giving her up, and that sort of thing?
I fear she is avoiding me just now, and I feel certain she has been
misled in some way, so you must come down. You really must. Of
course you will say you cannot afford it, but this is too serious a
thing for any excuse like that. Will not your confounded Highland
pride let me loan you enough to bring you down. Anyway, come, if you
have to walk."
It must be confessed that Brown's letter produced little effect upon
Shock's mind. The bitterness of his surrender was past, so, at
least, he thought. The happy dream he had cherished for a year was
gone forever. He was quite certain that it was not Brown's but the
Superintendent's letter that determined him to accept appointment as
a delegate to the General Assembly.
"I have no right to command you in this," the Superintendent wrote.
"I wish I had. But I need you, and for the sake of the men you and I
know, I wish you to come down to the Assembly and meet the
It was undoubtedly the Superintendent's letter, and yet that sudden
leap of his heart as he read his chief's entreaty startled him.
"Nonsense!" he said, shutting his jaws hard together. "That is all
done with." And yet he knew that it would be a joy almost too great
to endure to catch a glimpse of the face that still came to him
night by night in his dreams, to hear her voice, and to be near her.
So Shock came down, and his coming brought very different feelings
to different hearts, to Brown the very news of it brought mad, wild
delight. He rushed to find Helen.
"He is coming down," he cried.
"Is he?" replied Helen, eagerly. "Who?"
"I have seen his chief," continued Brown, ignoring the question. "He
has had a wire. He'll be here day after to-morrow. Oh, let me yell!
The dear old beast! If we could only get him into a jersey, and see
"Don't, Brownie," said Helen, using her pet name for her friend.
They had grown to be much to each other during the experiences of
the past year. "It suggests too much."
"I forgot," said Brown, penitently. "Forgive me. It will be hard for
"And for him. Poor Shock," said Helen. "Don't let him go to his
"Not if I can help it," replied Brown.
"And don't--don't--talk about me--much."
"Not if I can help it," replied Brown again, this time with a
suspicion of a smile.
"Now, Brownie, I want you to help me," said Helen. "It is hard
enough. There is nothing between us now. He wishes it to be so, and
after all, I do too."
"You do? Look me in the face and say you do."
Helen looked him steadily in the face, and said, quietly, "Yes, I
do. In all sincerity I believe it is far better so. Mother is quite
determined, and she has only me. It is the only thing possible, so I
want you to help me."
"And all that--that--that thing last spring was a farce--a mistake,
"Yes, a mistake. An awful mistake. You see," explained Helen,
hurriedly, "I was dreadfully excited, and--well, you know, I made a
fool of myself. And so, Brownie, you must help me."
"Help you--how? To keep him off? That won't be hard. Tell him it was
all a mistake last spring and that you regret it, and you won't need
to do anything else, if I know him."
"I have--at least mother has told him."
"Your mother?" gasped Brown. "Then that settles it. Good-by. I did
not expect this of you."
"Come back, Brownie. You know you are unkind, and you must not
"Well, what in heaven's name do you want me to do? Keep him off?"
"Oh, I do not know," said Helen, breaking through her calm. "I don't
know. What can I do?"
"Do?" said Brown. "Let him tell you." He had great faith in Shock's
But the next two days were days of miserable anxiety to Brown. If
Shock would only do as he was told and act like an ordinary man,
Brown had no doubt of the issue.
"Oh, if he'll only play up," he groaned to himself, in a moment of
desperation. "If he'll only play up he'll take all that out of her
in about three minutes."
The only question was, would he play. Brown could only trust that in
some way kind Providence would come to his aid. On the afternoon of
the second day, the day of Shock's arrival, his hope was realized,
and he could not but feel that Fortune had condescended to smile a
little upon him.
Shock's train was late. The Superintendent had sought Brown out, and
adjured him by all things sacred to produce his man at the committee
meeting at the earliest possible moment, and this commission Brown
had conscientiously fulfilled.
Toward evening he met Helen downtown, and was escorting her homeward
when they fell in with Tommy Phillips, a reporter for the Times. He
was evidently in a state of considerable excitement.
"I have just had a great experience," he exclaimed. "I was down this
afternoon at your church committee, and I tell you I had a circus.
There was a big chap there from the wild and woolly, and he made 'em
sit up. Why, you know him, I guess. He's that 'Varsity football chap
the fellows used to rave about."
"Oh, yes, I know," said Brown. "Macgregor. Shock, we used to call
"Yes, of course. I remember I saw him last year at the McGill
"Well, what was up?" said Brown, scenting something good. "Let us
have it. Do the reporter act."
"Well, it's good copy, let me tell you, but I don't want to allow my
professional zeal to obliterate my sense of the decencies of polite
"Go on," said Brown, "I want to hear. You know, I played quarter
behind him for three years, and Miss Fairbanks is interested, I
"You did? Well, if he bucked up as he did this afternoon, you must
have had good hunting. Well, then, when that committee met you never
saw a more solemn-looking bunch in your life. You would think they
had all lost their mothers-in-law. And when they broke up they
didn't know but they were standing on their heads."
"What was the matter?"
"Oh, there was a big deficit on, and they had to go up to your big
council--conference--what do you call it in your pagan outfit?
Assembly? Yes, that's it--and take their medicine. Twenty thousand
dollars of a debt. Well, sir, on the back of all that didn't their
Grand Mogul--archbishop--you know, from the West--no, not Macgregor-
-their chief pusher. Superintendent? Yes--come in and put an ice
pack on them in the shape of a new scheme for exploration and
extension in the Kootenay country, the Lord knows where, some place
out of sight. Well, you ought to have heard him. He burned red fire,
you bet. Pardon my broken English, Miss Fairbanks."
"Go on," said Helen, "I like it," and Brown gave himself a little
"I am glad you do," continued Tommy, "for it is bad enough to write
copy without having to speak it. Well, the war began, some in favour
of the scheme, some against, but all hopeless in view of the present
state of finances. Better wait a little, and that sort of talk.
Then, let's see what happened. Oh, yes. The question of the man came
up. Who was the man? The Superintendent was ready for 'em. It was
Macgregor of some place. Frog Lake? No, Loon Lake. Then the
opposition thought they had him with a half-nelson. Old Dr.
Macfarren jumped on to the chief with both feet. His man was no
good, a flat failure in his field, no tact. Beg your pardon, Miss
Fairbanks. What did you say?"
"Oh, never mind," said Helen. "Go on."
"He appealed for corroboration to his friend, the chap up at Park
Church, you know, that sleek, kid-gloved fellow."
"Burns?" asked Brown, innocently, delighted in the reporter's
description of Lloyd and desiring more of it.
"No. You know that orator chap, liquid eyes, mellifluous voice, and
all the rest of it."
"Yes. Well, he took a whirl and backed up Macfarren. Evidently
didn't think much of the Superintendent's choice. Remarked about his
being a Highlander, a man of visions and that sort of thing."
"What else did he say?" inquired Brown, who was in a particularly
"Oh, a lot of stuff, in his most lordly, patronizing tone. Macgregor
was a very good, earnest fellow, but he should judge him to be
lacking in tact or adaptability, fine sensibilities, and that sort
of rot. But never mind. Didn't he catch it! Oh, no. My Sally Ann!
Boiling lard and blue vitriol, and all in the chief's most sweet-
scented lavender style, though all the time I could see the danger
lights burning through his port-holes. I tell you I've had my
diminished moments, but I don't think I was ever reduced to such a
shade as the Park Church chap when the Superintendent was through
with him. Serve him right, too"
"What did the Superintendent say?" continued Brown, delighted to
find somebody who would express his own sentiments with more force
and fulness than he could command.
"Say! Well, I wish I could tell you. 'Mr. Lloyd says he is a
Highlander. Yes, he is, thank God. So am I. He is a man of visions.
Yes, he has vision beyond the limits of his own congregation and of
his own native cross-roads, vision for what lies beyond the horizon,
vision for those men in the mountains who are going to the devil.' A
quotation, Miss Fairbanks, I assure you. 'These miners and
lumbermen, forgotten by all but their mothers, and God.' Say, it was
great. If I could reproduce it there would be a European trip in it.
Then he turned on Dr. Macfarren. It seems that Macgregor somehow had
to quit some place in the West on the plea that he was not
adaptable, and that sort of thing. 'Dr. Macfarren says he was a
failure,' went on the old chief, using at least five r's, 'Mr. Lloyd
says he is not adaptable, he is lacking in fine sensibilities. It is
true God did not make him with sleek hair'--which, by Jove, was true
enough--'and dainty fingers. And a good thing it was, else our
church at Loon Lake, built by his own hands, the logs cut, shaped
and set in place, sir, by his own hands, would never have existed.
He was a failure at the Fort, we are told. Why? I made inquiries
concerning that. I was told by a gentleman who calls himself a
Presbyterian--I need not mention his name--that he was not suitable
to the peculiarly select and high-toned society of that place. No,
sir, our missionary could not bow and scrape, he was a failure at
tennis, he did not shine at card parties,' and here you could smell
things sizzling. 'He could not smile upon lust. No, thank God!' and
the old chap's voice began to quiver and shake. 'In all this he was
a failure, and would to God we had more of the same kind!' 'Amen,'
'Thank God,' 'That's true,' the men around the table cried. I
thought I had struck a Methodist revival meeting."
"What else did he say?" said Brown, who could hardly contain himself
for sheer delight.
"Well, he went on then to yarn about Macgregor's work--how a church
and club house had been built in one place, and a hospital and all
that sort of thing, in another, and then he told us stories of the
different chaps who had been apparently snatched from the mouth of
hell by Macgregor, and were ready to lie down and let him walk over
them. It was great. There was an Irishman and a Frenchman, I
remember, both Roman Catholics, but both ready to swallow the
Confession of Faith if the Prospector ordered them. Yes, that was
another point. Macgregor, it seems, was a regular fiend for hunting
up fellows and rooting them out to church, and so they dubbed him
'the Prospector.' The old chief stuck that in, I tell you. Then
there was a doctor and, oh, a lot of chaps,--a cowboy fellow named
Ike, who was particularly good copy if one could reproduce him. And
then--" here Tommy hesitated--"well, it's worth while telling. There
was a girl who had gone wrong, and had been brought back. To hear
the chief tell that yarn was pretty fine. I don't turn the
waterworks on without considerable pressure, but I tell you my tanks
came pretty near overflowing when he talked about that poor girl.
And then, at the most dramatic moment--that old chap knows his
business--he brought on Macgregor, announcing him as 'the Prospector
of Frog Lake, no, Loon Lake.' Well, he was not much to look at. His
hair was not slick, and his beard looked a little like a paint
brush, his pants ran up on his boots, and bagged at the knees."
"He had just come off the train," hastily interposed Brown, "He
hadn't a moment to dress himself."
"Well, as I say, he wasn't pretty to look at, and they gave him a
kind of frosty reception, too."
"Well, what happened?" inquired Brown, anxious to get over this part
of the description.
"Well, they began firing questions at him hot and fast. He was a
little rattled for a while, but after a bit he got into his stride,
put down his map, laid out his country and began pouring in his
facts, till when they let him out they looked for all the world like
a lot of men who had been struck by a whirlwind and were trying to
get back their breath and other belongings."
"Well, what did they do then?"
"Oh, the thing passed, I guess. I left 'em and went after the man
from the West. I thought I had struck oil. I had visions too."
"Well, did you get him?"
"I did, but there was not any oil. It was rock, hard, cold Scotch
granite. I'm something of a borer, but I tell you what, he turned my
edge. It was no use. He wouldn't talk."
"Good by. Come around and see your man at my rooms," said Brown
heartily. "I'll pump him for you, and you can catch the oil."
"You will, eh? All right, set a mug for me."
"Great boy, that Tommy," said Brown, who was smitten with a sudden
enthusiastic admiration for the reporter. "Clever chap. He'll make
his mark yet."
Helen walked for some distance in silence. "Is--is he--is Mr.
Macgregor with you?" she inquired at length.
"Yes, Mr. Macgregor is with me," mimicked Brown. "Will you send him
"Now, Brownie, stop," said Helen in distress. "He has not been home
yet, has he?"
"Could you keep him away till about eleven tomorrow?"
"Yes, I suppose I might. He has got to get some clothes and get some
of the wool off him. But why do you ask?"
"Well, I thought I would just run in and dust, and put some flowers
up, and, you know, make it a little more homelike."
"Helen, you're a brick. I had decided to drop you because I didn't
love you, but I am changing my mind."
"Well, do not let him go before eleven. Everything will be right by
"Good!" said Brown, with an ebullition of rapture, which he
immediately suppressed as Helen's eyes were turned inquiringly upon
him. "You see," he explained hurriedly, "he has been in the West and
will need to get a lot of things, and that will give you plenty of
time. There's my car. Good-by. We have had a happy afternoon, eh?"
"Oh, yes, very happy, thank you," said Helen, but she could not
quite suppress a little sigh.
"Well, good-by," said Brown, and he went off, jubilant to his car.
He sat down in a corner, and thought hard till he came to his
street. "If he'll only play up we'll win, sure thing. But will he,
confound him, will he? Well, the kick-off will be to-morrow."
He found Shock waiting in his rooms, with a face so grave and so sad
that Brown's heart grew sore for him.
"Come on, old chap, we'll go to grub. But first I am going to groom
you a bit. We'll take a foot or two off your hair since the football
season is over; and I think," examining him critically, "we can
spare that beard, unless you are very fond of it."
Shock protested that he had no particular love for his beard; it was
better for the cold weather, and it was not always convenient for
him to shave.
When the barber had finished with Shock, Brown regarded him with
"You are all right, old chap. I say, you've got thin, haven't you?"
"No, I am pretty much in my playing form."
"Well, there is something different." And there was. The boyish
lines of his face had given place to those that come to men with the
cares and griefs and responsibilities of life. And as Brown looked
over Shock's hard, lean face, he said again, with emphasis, "You'll
After dinner Shock wandered about the rooms uneasily for a time, and
finally said, "I say, Brown, I would like to go up home, if you
don't mind." They had not yet spoken of what each knew was uppermost
in the other's mind.
"All right, Shock. But wouldn't it be better in the morning?"
"I want to go to-night," said Shock.
"Well, if you are bound to, we will go up in an hour or two. There's
a lot of things I want to talk about, and some things to arrange,"
replied Brown hoping that in the meantime something might turn up to
postpone the visit till the morning.
For a second time that day Fortune smiled upon Brown, for hardly had
they settled down for a talk when the Superintendent appeared.
"I am glad to find you in," he said, giving Shock's hand a vigorous
shake. "I came to offer you my congratulations upon your appearance
this afternoon, and also to tell you that the Committee have
appointed you to address the Assembly on Home Mission night."
"Hooray!" cried Brown. "Your Committee, Doctor, is composed of men
who evidently know a good thing when they see it."
"Sometimes, Mr. Brown, sometimes," said the Superintendent,
But Shock refused utterly and absolutely.
"I am no speaker," he said. "I am a failure as a speaker."
"Well, Mr. Macgregor, I will not take your refusal to-night. It is
the Committee's request, and you ought to hesitate before refusing
"A man can do no more than his best," said Shock, "and I know I
"Well, think it over," said the Superintendent, preparing to go.
"Oh, sit down, sit down," cried Brown. "You must want to have a talk
with Shock here, and I want to hear all about this afternoon."
"Well," said the Superintendent, seating himself, "it is not often I
have a chance to talk with a Prospector, so I will accept your
invitation." And by the time the talk was done it was too late for
Shock to think of visiting his home, and Brown went asleep with the
happy expectation of what he called the "kick-off" next day.
THE WAITING GAME
Brown was early astir. He knew that he could not keep Shock so fully
employed as to prevent his going home long before ten o'clock, and
it was part of his plan that Shock's first meeting with Helen should
take place in his own mother's house.
"The first thing we must do," he announced, "is to see a tailor. If
you are going to address the General Assembly you have got to get
proper togs. And anyway, you may as well get a suit before you go
West again. I know a splendid tailor--cheap, too."
"Well, he will need to be cheap," said Shock, "for I cannot aford
much for clothes."
"Well, I will see about that," said Brown. So he did, for after some
private conversation with the tailor, the prices quoted to Shock
were quite within even his small means.
It was half-past nine before they reached Shock's home. Brown took
the key out of his pocket, opened the door, and allowed Shock to
enter, waiting outside for a few moments.
When he followed Shock in he found him still standing in the centre
of the little room, looking about upon the familiar surroundings,
the articles of furniture, the pictures on the wall, his mother's
chair beside the table, with her Bible and glasses at hand.
As Brown came in Shock turned to him and said, "Is this some more of
your kindness, Brown? Have you taken this care of everything?"
"No," said Brown, "that is not my work. Every, week since the house
was closed Helen has come over and kept things right."
Without any reply Shock passed into his mother's room, leaving Brown
When half an hour had passed, Brown, glancing out of the window, saw
"Thank goodness!" he exclaimed, "here she is at last."
He opened the door for her.
"Oh, good morning," she exclaimed in surprise. "I am sure this is
very kind of you."
"Yes, I thought I would help," said Brown in a loud voice. "You see,
Shock was anxious to come, and I thought I would come up with him.
He is in the next room. He will be out in a minute. We were coming
up last night, but could not get away. The Superintendent dropped
in, and we talked till it was too late." Brown kept the stream of
his remarks flowing as if he feared a pause.
Helen laid the bunch of flowers she was carrying in her hand upon
"Oh, Brown," she exclaimed, "how could you! This is very unkind."
She turned to go.
"Hold on," said Brown in a loud voice. "Shock will be here in a
minute. He'll be sorry to miss you, I am sure."
For a moment Helen stood irresolute, when the door opened and Shock,
pale, but quiet and self-controlled, appeared. He had just been face
to face for the first time with his great grief. The thought that
filled his mind, overwhelming all others, was that his mother had
passed forever beyond the touch of his hand and the sound of his
voice. Never till that moment had he taken in the full meaning of
the change that had come to his life.
During the minutes he had spent in his mother's room he had allowed
his mind to go back over the long years so full of fond memory, and
then he had faced the future. Alone henceforth he must go down the
long trail. By his mother's bed he had knelt, and had consecrated
himself again to the life she had taught him to regard as worthy,
and with the resolve in his heart to seek to be the man she would
desire him to be and had expected him to be, he rose from his knees.
When he opened the door the dignity of his great grief and of a
lofty purpose was upon him, and he greeted Helen unembarrassed and