Part 7 out of 7
with a serene consciousness of self-mastery.
"I am glad to see you, Miss Fairbanks," he said, taking her hand. "I
am glad that we meet here, for it was here, in this house, that you
gave such loving and tender care to my dear mother. However long I
may live, whatever may come to me, I shall never forget what you did
for her through all the year, and at the last."
His quiet dignity restored to Helen her self-possession.
"I did all I could for her. I was glad to do it, because I loved
her. But she did more for me than ever I could have done for her.
Her last illness was very brief, and her death was full of peace."
"Tell me," said Shock, placing a chair for her. "I want to know
With gentle, sweet sympathy the story was told in all its beautiful
details, till the very end. Instinctively Helen seemed to know the
points that Shock would desire to hear, and he listened to her with
his heart shining through his eyes.
"Thank you, thank you," he said. "Never can thank you enough for all
that you have done. And you, too, have had your great sorrow. Brown
told me about it all."
At this Brown rose hastily, and looking out of the window,
exclaimed, "I say, there's Boyle. Wait for me."
"Yes," said Helen, when Brown had gone, "it was a terrible grief,
and mother has never recovered from it, nor will she. Betty was the
life of our house. She was so bright."
"Oh, bright, indeed. How well I remember her brightness that night
in your home."
"I remember," said Helen. "And Mr. Balfour," she continued, "The
Don. He has been with you?"
"Yes, indeed, poor chap. And nobly he has done," and Shock told of
The Don and of his work in the Pass.
"How good you have been," exclaimed Helen, "and how much you have
done. I am so thankful, and so proud. We are all so proud of you."
"No," said Shock gravely, "that is not the word, Miss Fairbanks.
There is no room for pride."
"Well, we think so," replied Helen. "You will come to see us? Mother
will be so glad."
Helen was wondering at her own calmness. She could hardly make
herself believe that she was talking to Shock, and so quietly, in
this room where so short a time ago he had held her in his arms.
"I do not know," replied Shock. "It may be as well not to--not to
see much--to see you."
Shock became unexpectedly conscious of their previous relations. The
memory of that scene in which they had been the chief actors came
vividly, before him. For weeks he had dreaded this interview, and
now it was almost over. He felt like a man who, in the hour of
victory, is unexpectedly threatened with defeat. Well, sooner or
later he must speak his mind plainly; there would never be a better
chance than now, and though he wished he could get back that perfect
self-mastery of the past few minutes, he resolved to go through with
it now. He took hold of himself with a stern grip.
Helen saw it in his face. A great fear seized her; She started up.
"Oh, I must run!" she exclaimed. "You will be sure to come and see
us, Mr. Macgregor. Indeed, you must come."
Her manner was light, almost frivolous. Shock felt the change
instinctively, read her fear, and decided that the moment for speech
"Good-by," he said, looking steadily into her eyes. "Good-by. God
bless you for your kindness to--to us both."
The little catch in his voice reached the girl's heart, and the
tears sprang to her eyes.
"Good-by," she said hurriedly. "Good-by," and was gone.
A little way down the street she met Brown.
"Well, it is all over. I am thankful, too. Yes, so thankful."
"Well, I'll be--" Brown left his sentence unfinished and turned away
from her impatiently.
He found Shock still sitting at the table, unspeakable misery
showing in his eyes.
"Well, old chap," Brown said kindly, putting his hand upon his
"That is over, thank God!" said Shock. "I was afraid of it, but it
is over now."
"It is, eh?" said Brown crossly. "Well, let's go. You're two of a
kind. Come on. You'll have to get at your speech now."
"My speech?" said Shock, rising wearily. "No speech for me."
"I tell you what, Shock," said Brown, with a touch of impatience,
"you think too much of yourself."
"Do I, Brown? Well, perhaps so," said Shock, humbly.
"Oh, confound your old carcass!" cried Brown, throwing his arm round
Shock's neck. "You'll be my death yet. At the same time, you ought
to speak, and I believe you will. If I know your conscience it won't
let you rest."
It turned out that Brown was right, for when the Superintendent
wrote a note to Shock asking him formally on behalf of the Committee
to address the Assembly on Home Mission night, the last sentence in
his letter determined Shock to accept.
"I know what this will cost you," the Superintendent wrote, "but the
cause is not yours nor mine. It is His. And for His sake I believe
you will do this."
"I knew you would, old chap," said Brown exultantly. "If a fellow
could get the combination of your conscience he could do what he
liked with you."
"Well, I suppose if they wish me to make an exhibition of myself I
should not refuse, and after all, what matter how I speak? I will
fail, I know, but I will do my best."
"Never a fail," cried Brown. "Don't preach at them. Tell them yarns.
That's what your chief does. Now you hear me."
This proved to be good advice, for when the chairman introduced
Shock as the Prospector from Loon Lake, Shock simply began, as Brown
said, to "yarn."
"That is what Perault and Ike called me," were his first words, and
from that moment till the close of his speech he had his audience
leaning forward and listening with ears and eyes and heart. He made
no attempt at fine speaking, but simply told them of his friends in
the West, of the men he had come to love as brothers, and who had
come to love him.
As they came down the steps of the Park Church, where the meeting
was held, Brown could hardly keep pace with Helen as she danced
along beside him.
"Oh, wasn't he splendid!" she cried, "wasn't he splendid!"
"Splendid?" said Brown. "There's not a word big enough left."
"Oh, I am so happy," sang Helen.
"Why, what's the matter with you?" cried Brown.
"Oh, nothing, nothing," and she bubbled over with happy laughter
until Brown grew gloomy and cross. But Helen deigned him no further
explanation of her overflowing joy, and left him, still sullen and
somewhat indignant, at her door.
Her radiant face caught her mother's eye as she entered the room.
"Well, my child, you are looking very happy. I have not seen you
look so bright for months. You are very beautiful, my daughter,"
said her mother, putting her arm around her daughter as Helen
stooped to kiss her.
"Oh, mother," cried Helen, "I am very happy."
"Well, darling, it makes me happy to hear you say so. Has--has Mr.
Lloyd spoken to you?"
"Mr. Lloyd?" Helen laughed gleefully. "No, mother, he knows better
than that. Oh, mother, Shock loves me."
"What! Has he dared to speak-after promising--"
"No, mother, he has not spoken, not with his lips. But I know it, I
know it, and oh, I am so glad."
"What of his plain declaration to me that he had given you up? "
"Oh, I don't care, mother. He has not changed," cried the happy
girl. "He loves me just the same as ever."
"And what of the girl Mr. Ambherg told us of?"
"No, mother, there is no other girl," cried Helen. "I don't care who
"Helen, I am ashamed of you," exclaimed her mother, angrily. "Dear
mother," said Helen, falling on her knees and putting her arms about
her mother, "I cannot help loving him, and I cannot help being
happy. Oh, mother, he is splendid. You ought to have heard him to-
night, and you ought to have seen the people. Why, the ministers
almost hugged him. And oh, mother, mother, as he came down and
passed my seat, he turned and looked at me. He did not expect to see
me, and he was off his guard, and then I knew, oh, I knew. He is
just the same. Oh, mother, be happy with me."
Her mother burst into tears.
"Oh," she sobbed, "I thought I was to have one child left. I am
"Hush, mother," cried Helen. "I will not leave you."
"But you love him?"
"Yes, yes. With all my heart."
"He will not give up his work in that awful country?"
"No," said the girl proudly, "he will not, not even for me. But he
will love me always and I will love him, and that is enough just
"Helen, listen to me. You will never marry him with my consent,"
said Mrs. Fairbanks, determinedly.
"And he would never marry me without," replied Helen.
"What, then, is your future to be?"
"Oh, I will stay with you, mother darling."
"And he?" inquired Mrs. Fairbanks.
"He? Oh, I don't know, but he will always love me, mother."
In desperation Mrs. Fairbanks sent next day for Shock. Her one hope,
lay in his fine sense of honour, and in his generosity.
"Mr. Macgregor," she said, when Shock stood before her, "I want to
appeal to your generosity. You will not stand in the way of my
"Mrs. Fairbanks, I thought I had made myself clear. What more can I
say or do?"
"She fancies you still love her. Could not you disabuse her of her
"Tell her I do not love her?" asked Shock. "That I cannot do. It
would be false."
"Oh, Mr. Macgregor," cried Mrs. Fairbanks, weeping, "if you force my
child from me I will die."
Shock was greatly disturbed at her tears.
"Mrs. Fairbanks, I could never force your daughter away from you,
but I shall always love her. Can I say more?"
"I have told her," said Mrs. Fairbanks between her sobs, "I will
never consent to her marriage with you."
Shock's heart gave a leap.
"And what did she say?" he inquired in an unsteady voice.
"She said you would not marry her without my consent."
"And that is true," said Shock.
"And what, then, will you do?" inquired Mrs. Fairbanks.
Shock threw up his head, with joy illumining his face.
"I--we--" changing the pronoun with a sudden ecstasy of rapture, "we
"And how long, pray?" inquired Mrs. Fairbanks, scornfully.
"How long?" He paused as if pondering the question. "Forever!"
He turned quickly. There at the door, in all her glorious beauty,
her eyes luminous with the light of love, stood Helen.
"Helen!" he cried aloud, in his surprise. "You heard! Can you? Can
With a movement of ineffable grace she was at his side. He put his
strong arms about her. She looked into his eyes.
"Yes, Shock, we can wait--now."