Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

The Doctor by Ralph Connor

Part 2 out of 6

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.7 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

her of the duty of getting to sleep little five-year-old Tom, with
whom he was first favourite, he would carry her off to the Fallows
household, whither Barney and Iola had preceded them.

Altogether the "young doctor," as Ben called him, had reason to be
proud of the success he was achieving with his first patient. The
amputation healed over and the bone knit at the first intention,
and in a few weeks Ben was far on the way to convalescence. He was
never weary in his praises of the "young doctor." It was the
"young doctor" who, by changing the bandages, had eased him of the
intolerable pain which followed the first dressing. It was the
"young doctor" who had changed the splints, shaping them cunningly
to fit the limb, bringing ease where there had been chafing pain.

"Let 'em 'ave the old doctor if they want," was Ben's final
conclusion, "but fer me, the young doctor, sez I."



The "good cheer" department, while ostensibly for Ben's benefit,
wrought profit and cheer for others besides. What Dick got of it
no one but himself knew, for that young man, with all his apparent
frankness, kept the veil over his heart drawn close. To Barney,
absorbed in his new work, with its wealth of new ideas and his new
ambitions, the "good cheer" department was chiefly valued as an
important factor in Ben's progress. To Iola it brought what to her
was the breath of life, admiration, gratitude, affection. But
Margaret perhaps more than any, not even excepting Ben himself,
gathered from this department what might be called its by-products.
The daily monotony of her household duties bore hard upon her young
heart. Ambitions long cherished, though cheerfully laid aside at
the sudden call of duty, could not be quite abandoned without a
sense of pain and loss. The break offered by the work of the
department in the monotony of her life, the companionship of its
members, and, as much as anything, the irresistible appeal to her
keen sense of humour by the genial, loquacious, dirty but
irresistibly cheery Mrs. Fallows, far more than compensated for the
extra effort which her membership in the department rendered

It was the evening following that of the school closing that Dick
with Margaret and Iola were making one of their customary calls at
the Fallows cottage. It would be for Iola the last visit for some
weeks, as she was about to depart to town for her holidays.

"I have come to say good-bye," she announced as she shook hands
with Mrs. Fallows.

"Good-bye, dear 'eart," said that lady, throwing up her hands
aghast; "art goin' to leave us fer good?"

"No, nothing so bad," said Dick; "only for a few weeks, Mrs.
Fallows. The section couldn't do without her, and the trustees
have decided that they wouldn't let her out of sight till they had
put a string on her."

"Goin' to come back again, be yeh? I did 'ear as 'ow yeh was goin'
to leave. My little Joe was that broken-'earted, an' 'e declared
to me as 'ow 'e wouldn't go to school no more."

"I don't wonder," said Dick. "Why, if the trustees hadn't engaged
her, as 'Maine Jabe' said, 'there'd be the dangdest kind of riot in
the section.'"

"Don't listen to him, Mrs. Fallows. I'm going in to sing to Ben,
if I may."

"An' that yeh may, bless yer 'eart!" said Mrs. Fallows, picking up
a twin from the doorway to allow Iola and Dick to pass into the
inner room. "Ther' now," she continued to Margaret, who was moving
about putting things to rights, "don't yeh go tirin' of yerself. I
know things is in a muss. Some'ow by Saturday night things piles
up terr'ble, an' I'm that tired I don't seem to 'ave no 'eart to
straighten 'em up. Jest look at that 'ouse! I sez to John, sez I,
'I cawn't do no 'ousekeepin' with all 'em children 'bout my feet.
An', bless their 'earts! it's all I kin do to put the bread in
their mouths an keep the rags on their backs.' But John sez to me,
sez 'e, 'Don't yeh worry, lass, 'bout the rags. Keep 'em full,'
sez 'e, 'a full belly never 'eeds a bare back,' sez 'e. That's 'is
way. 'E's halways a-comin' over somethin' cleverlike, is John.
Lard save us! will yeh listen to that, now!" she continued in an
awestruck undertone, as Iola's voice came in full rich melody from
the next room. "An' Ben is fair raptured with 'er. Poor Benny!
it's a sore calamity 'as overtaken 'im, a-breakin' of 'is leg an'
a-mutilatin' of 'isself. It does seem as if the Lard 'ad give me
som'at more'n my share. Listen to that ther'. Bless 'er dear
'eart; Benny fergits 'is hamputation an' 'is splits."

"His splints," cried Margaret; "are they all right now?"

"Yes. Since the young doctor--that's w'at Benny calls 'im--change
'em. Oh, that's a clever young man! Benney, 'e sez, 'Give me the
young doctor,' sez 'e. Yeh see," continued Mrs. Fallows
confidentially, and again lowering her voice impressively, "yeh
see, 'is leg 'urt most orful at first, an' Benny cried to me, 'It's
in me toes, mother, it's in me toes.' 'Why, Benny,' sez I to 'im,
'yeh hain't got no toes, Benny.' 'That's w'ere it 'urts,' sez 'e,
'toes or no toes.' An' father 'e wakes right up an' 'erd w'at
Benny was cryin', an' sez 'e, 'Benny's right enough. 'Is toes'll
'urt till they're rotted away in the ground.' An' 'e tells as 'ow
'is sister's holdest boy got 'is leg hamputated, poor soul! an' 'ow
'is toes 'urted till they was took an' buried an' rotted away.
Some doctors don't bury 'em, an' they do say," and here Mrs.
Fallows' voice dropped quite to a whisper, "as 'ow that keeps 'em
sore all the longer. Well, jest as father was speakin' in comes
the doctor 'isself, an' father 'e told 'im as 'ow Benny was feelin'
the pain in 'is toes. 'In yer toes, Benny?' sez the doctor
surprised-like. 'Tain't yer toes, Ben.' 'Well, I guess it's me as
is doin' the feelin',' sez Ben quite sharp, 'an' it's in me toes
the feelin' is.' Then father 'e spoke up. 'E's a terr'ble man fer
hargument, is father. 'Doctor,' sez 'e, 'is them toes buried,
if I might be so bold?' 'Cawn't say,' sez the doctor quite
hindifferent, though 'e must 'a' knowed. 'Well, my opinion is,'
sez father, ''e'll feel them toes till they're took an' buried an'
rotted away in the ground.' An' then 'e tells 'bout 'is sister's
boy. 'Nonsense,' sez the doctor, 'tain't 'is toes at all. 'Is
toes 'as nothin' to do with it.' 'W'at then?' asks father quite
polite. 'It's the feelin' of 'is toes 'e's feelin'.' ''Ow can 'e
'ave any feelin' of 'is toes if 'e hain't got no toes?' 'Well,'
sez the doctor, ''is feelin's hain't in 'is toes at all.' 'Well,
that's w'ere mine is,' sez father. 'W'en I 'urts my toes it's in
my toes I feel 'em. W'en I 'urts my 'and, it's my 'and.' 'My dear
sir,' sez the doctor calm-like, 'it hain't in yer 'and, nor yet in
yer toes, but in yer brain, in yer mind, yeh feel the pain.'
'P'raps,' sez Ben quite short again. My! 'e WAS short! 'But the
feelin' in my mind is that my toes is 'urtin' most orful, an' I'd
like to 'ave 'em buried if it's goin' to 'elp any.' 'Oh, come,
Benny, that's all nonsense, yeh know,' sez the doctor, puttin' 'im
off. But father is terr'ble persistent, an' 'e keeps on an' sez,
'Don't 'is mind know 'e hain't got no toes, doctor? 'Ow can 'is
mind feel 'is toes 'urt w'en 'is mind knows 'e hain't got no toes
to 'urt?' 'It hain't 'is toes, I tell yeh,' sez the doctor quite
short, 'jest the feelin' of 'is toes in 'is mind.' 'The feelin' of
'is toes in 'is mind?' sez father. 'But 'e hain't got no toes to
give 'im the feelin' of 'is toes in 'is mind or henywheres else.'
'Dummed old fool!' sez the doctor, quite losin' 'is temper, fer
father is terr'ble provokin'. 'It's the feelin' 'is toes used to
give 'im, an' that same feelin' of toes keeps up after 'is toes is
gone.' 'Well,' sez father, an' me tryin' to ketch 'is eye to make
'im stop, 'I don't git no feelin' of toes till me toes is 'urt. If
I don't 'urt 'em, I don't git no feelin' of toes. 'Ow are yeh
goin' to start that ther' toe feelin' 'thout no toes to start it?'
'Yeh don't need no toes to start it,' sez the doctor, 'it's the old
feelin' of toes a-keepin' up.' 'Ther' hain't no--' 'Look 'ere,'
sez 'e, 'I tell yeh it hain't toes, it's the nerves of the toes
reachin' up to the brain. Don't yeh see? W'en the toes are 'urt
the nerves sends word up to the brain jest like the telegraph.'
Then father 'e ponders aw'ile. 'W'ere's them nerves, doctor?' sez
'e. 'In the toes.' 'In the toes? Then w'en them toes is gone
them nerves is gone, hain't they?' 'Yes.' 'But the nerve feelin'
is ther' still.' This puzzles father some. 'Then,' sez 'e, 'the
feelin's in the nerves, an' if ther's no nerves, no feelin's.'
'That's so,' sez the doctor. 'W'en them toes is gone, doctor, the
nerves is gone. 'Ow could ther' be any feelin's?' 'Look 'ere,'
sez the doctor, an' I was feared 'e was gettin' real mad, 'jest
quit it right now.' 'Well, well. All right, doctor,' sez father
quite polite, 'I've got a terr'ble inquirin' mind, an' I jest
wanted to know.' Then the doctor 'e did seem a little ashamed of
'isself, an' 'e set right down an' sez 'e, 'Look a-'ere, Mr.
Fallows, I'll hexplain it to yeh. It's like the telegraph wire.
'Ere's a station we'll call Bradford, an' 'ere's a station we'll
call London. Hevery station 'as 'is own call. Bradford station,
we'll say, 'as a call X Y Z, an' w'enever X Y Z sounds yeh know
that's Bradford a-speakin'. So if yeh 'eerd X Y Z in London yeh'd
know somethin' was wrong with Bradford.' 'But if ther' hain't
any,' breaks in father, who was gettin' impatient. 'Shut up! will
yeh?' sez the doctor, 'till I git through. Well; all 'long that
Bradford line yeh can give that Bradford call. D'yeh see?' 'Can
yeh make that Bradford call houtside of Bradford?' sez father.
'Well,' sez the doctor, an' 'e seemed quite puzzled, 'e did, 'I
suppose yeh can. Any kind of a bang'll do along the line. Now
ther's Benny's toes, w'en they git 'urt they sounds up to the
brain, "Toes! Toes! Toes!" an' all 'long that toe line yeh can git
the same call to the brain.' This keeps father quiet a long time,
then sez 'e, 'I say, doctor, is ther' many of them nerves?'
''Undreds of 'em.' 'Hevery part of the body got nerves?' 'Yes.'
'Hankles? calves? shins?' 'Yes, all got nerves.' 'Well, doctor,'
sez father, quite triumphant, 'w'en yeh cut through hankles, shins,
an' heverythin', all them nerves begin to shout, don't they?'
'Yes,' sez the doctor, not seein' w'ere father was at. 'Then,' sez
'e quick-like, 'w'at makes 'em all shout "Toes?" W'y don't the
brain 'ear "Hankle" or "'Eel"?' Then the old doctor 'e did git mad
an' 'e did swear at father most orful. But father, 'e knows 'ow to
conduct 'isself, an' sez 'e quite dignified, 'I 'ope as 'ow I know
'ow to treat a gentleman.' This pulls the old doctor up an' 'e
sez, 'I beg yer pardon, Mr. Fallows,' sez 'e. 'Don't mention it,'
sez father. Then the doctor went on quite nice, 'Yeh see, Mr.
Fallows, the truth is, we don't hunderstand these things very
well,' sez 'e. 'Well, doctor,' sez father, 'it would 'a' saved a
lot of trouble if yeh'd said so at the first.' An' 'e said no
more, but I seed 'im thinkin' 'ard, an' w'en the doctor was goin'
'e speaks up sez, sez 'e, 'I think I know w'y it's the shoutin' of
toes keeps up an' not 'eels or hankles,' sez 'e. 'W'en my thirteen
gits a-shoutin' in this little 'ouse, yeh cawn't 'ear the old woman
or me. Ther's thirteen of 'em. An' I suppose w'en them toes gits
a-shoutin' yeh cawn't 'ear nothin' of hankle, or 'eel, but it's all
toes. Ther's five to one. But, doctor,' 'e sez, as 'e druv' away,
'if it's not too bold, would yeh mind buryin' them toes?'"

"But," said Mrs. Fallows, pulling herself up, "I do talk. But poor
Benny, 'e kep' a-cryin' with 'is toes till that ther' blessed young
lady come, the young doctor fetched 'er, an' the minit she begin to
sing, poor Benny 'e fergits 'is toes an' 'e soon falls off to
sleep, the first 'e 'ad fer two days an' two nights. Poor dear!
An 'e hain't ever done talkin' 'bout that very young lady an' the
young doctor. An' a lovely pair they'd make, poor souls."

Margaret was conscious of a sudden pang at this grouping of names
by Mrs. Fallows, but before she had time to analyse her feelings
Iola reappeared.

"Well, good-bye," said Mrs. Fallows. "Yeh'll come agin w'en yeh
git back. Good-bye, Miss," she said to Margaret. "It does seem to
give me a fresh start w'en yeh put things to rights."

It was not till that night when she was in her own room preparing
for bed that Margaret had time to analyse that sudden pang.

"It can't be that I am jealous," she said. "Of course, she is far
more attractive than I am and why shouldn't everyone like her
better?" She shook her fist at her reflection in the glass. "Do
you know, you are as mean as you can be," she said viciously.

At that moment there came from Iola's room the sound of soft

"It's no wonder," said Margaret as she listened to the exquisite
sound, "it's no wonder that she could catch poor Ben and his mother
with a voice like that. Yes, and--and the rest of them, too."

In a few minutes there was a tap at her door and Iola came in, her
hair hanging like a dusky curtain about her face. Margaret uttered
an involuntary exclamation of admiration.

"My! you are lovely!" she cried. "No wonder everyone loves you."
With a sudden rush of penitent feeling for her "mean thoughts" she
put her arms about Iola and kissed her warmly.

"Lovely! Nonsense!" she exclaimed, surprised at this display of
affection so unusual for Margaret, "I am not half so lovely as you.
When I see you at home here with all the things to worry you and
the children to care for, I think you are just splendid and I feel
myself cheap and worthless."

Margaret was conscious of a grateful glow in her heart.

"Indeed, my work doesn't amount to much, washing and dusting and
mending. Anybody could do it. No one would ever notice me.
Wherever you go the people just fall down and worship you." As she
spoke she let down her hair preparatory to brushing it. It fell
like a cloud, a golden-yellow cloud, about her face and shoulders.
Iola looked critically at her.

"You are beautiful," she said slowly. "Your hair is lovely, and
your big blue eyes, and your face has something, what is it? I
can't tell you. But I believe people would come to you in
difficulty. Yes. That's it," she continued, with her eyes on
Margaret's face, "I can please them in a way. I can sing. Yes, I
can sing. Some day I shall make people listen. But suppose I
couldn't sing, suppose I lost my voice, people would forget me.
They wouldn't forget you."

"What nonsense!" said Margaret brusquely. "It is not your voice
alone; it is your beauty and something I cannot describe, something
in your manner that is so fetching. At any rate, all the young
fellows are daft about you."

"But the women don't care for me," said Iola, with the same slow,
thoughtful voice. "If I wanted very much I believe I could make
them. But they don't. There's Mrs. Boyle, she doesn't like me."

"Now you're talking nonsense," said Margaret impatiently. "You
ought to have heard old Mrs. Fallows this evening."

"Now," continued Iola, ignoring her remark, "the women all like
you, and the men, too, in a way."

"Don't talk nonsense," said Margaret impatiently. "When you're
around the boys don't look at me."

"Yes, they do," said Iola, as if pondering the question. "Ben

Margaret laughed scornfully. "Ben likes my jelly."

"And Dick does," continued Iola, "and Barney." Here she shot a
keen glance at Margaret's face. Margaret caught the glance, and,
though enraged at herself, she could not prevent a warm flush
spreading over her fair cheek and down her bare neck.

"Pshaw!" she cried angrily, "those boys! Of course, they like me.
I've known them ever since I was a baby. Why, I used to go
swimming with them in the pond. They think of me just like--well--
just like a boy, you know."

"Do you think so? They are nice boys, I think, that is, if they
had a chance to be anything."

"Be anything!" cried Margaret hotly. "Why, Dick's going to be a
minister and--"

"Yes. Dick will do something, though he'll make a funny clergyman.
But Barney, what will he be? Just a miller?"

"Miller or whatever he is, he'll be a man, and that's good enough,"
replied Margaret indignantly.

"Oh, yes, I suppose so. But it's a pity. You know in this pokey
little place no one will ever hear of him. I mean he'll never make
any stir." To Iola there was no crime so deadly as the "unheard
of." "And yet," she went on, "if he had a chance--"

But Margaret could bear this no longer. "What are you talking
about? There are plenty of good men who are never heard of."

"Oh," cried Iola quickly, "I didn't mean--of course your father.
Well, your father is a gentle man. But Barney--"

"Oh, go to bed! Come, get out of my room. Go to bed! I must get
to sleep. Seven o'clock comes mighty quick. Good-night."

"Don't be cross, Margaret. I didn't mean to say anything
offensive. And I want you to love me. I think I want everyone to
love me. I can't bear to have people not love me. But more than
anyone else I want you." As she spoke she turned impulsively
toward Margaret and put her arms around her neck. Margaret

"Of course I love you," she said. "There," kissing her, "good-
night. Go to sleep or you'll lose your beauty."

But Iola clung to her. "Good-night, dear Margaret," she said, her
lips trembling pathetically. "You are the only girl friend I ever
had. I couldn't bear you to forget me or to give up loving me."

"I never forget my friends," cried Margaret gravely. "And I never
cease to love them."

"Oh, Margaret!" said Iola, trembling and clinging fast to her,
"don't turn from me. No matter what comes, don't stop loving me."

"You little goose," cried Margaret, caressing her as if she were a
child, "of course I will always love you. Good-night now." She
kissed Iola tenderly.

"Good-night," said Iola. "You know this is my last night with you
for a long time."

"Not the very last," said Margaret. "We go to the Mill to-morrow
night, you remember, and you come back here with me. Barney is
going to have Ben there for nursing and feeding."

Next day Barney had Ben down to the Mill, and that was the
beginning of a new life to Ben in more ways than one. The old
mill became a place of interest and delight to him. Perhaps his
happiest hours were spent in what was known as Barney's workroom,
where were various labour-saving machines for churning, washing,
and apple-paring, which, by Barney's invention, were run by the
mill power. He offered to connect the sewing machine with the same
power, but his mother would have none of it.

Before many more weeks had gone Ben was hopping about by the aid of
a crutch, eager to make himself useful, and soon he was not only
"paying his board," as Barney declared, but "earning good wages as

The early afternoon found Margaret and Iola on their way to the
Mill. It was with great difficulty that Margaret had been
persuaded to leave her home for so long a time. The stern
conscience law under which she regulated her life made her suspect
those things which gave her peculiar pleasure, and among these was
a visit to the Mill and the Mill people. It was in vain that Dick
set before her, with the completeness amounting to demonstration,
the reasons why she should make that visit. "Ben needs you," he
argued. "And Iola will not come unless with you. Barney and I,
weary with our day's work, absolutely require the cheer and
refreshment of your presence. Mother wants you. I want you. We
all want you. You must come." It was Mrs. Boyle's quiet
invitation and her anxious entreaty and command that she should
throw off the burden at times, that finally weighed with her.

The hours of that afternoon, spent partly in rowing about in the
old flat-bottomed boat seeking water lilies in the pond, and partly
in the shade of the big willows overlooking the dam, were full of
restful delight to Margaret. It was one of those rare summer
evenings that fall in harvest weather when, after the burning heat
of the day, the cool air is beginning to blow across the fields
with long shadows. When their work was done the boys hurried to
join the little group under the big willows. They were all there.
Ben was set there in the big armchair, Mrs. Boyle with her
knitting, for there were no idle hours for her, Margaret with a
book which she pretended to read, old Charley smoking in silent
content, Iola lazily strumming her guitar and occasionally singing
in her low, rich voice some of her old Mammy's songs or plantation
hymns. Of these latter, however, Mrs. Boyle was none too sure. To
her they bordered dangerously on sacrilege; nor did she ever quite
fully abandon herself to delight in the guitar. It continued to be
a "foreign" and "feckless" sort of instrument. But in spite of her
there were times when the old lady paused in her knitting and sat
with sombre eyes looking far across the pond and into the shady
isles of the woods on the other side while Iola sang some of her
quaint Southern "baby songs."

Under Dick's tuition the girl learned some of the Highland laments
and love songs of the North, to which his mother had hushed him to
sleep through his baby years. To Barney these songs took place
with the Psalms of David, if, indeed, they were not more sacred,
and it was with a shock at first that he heard the Southern girl
with her "foreign instrument" try over these songs that none but
his mother had ever sung to him. Listening to Iola's soft,
thrilling voice carrying these old Highland airs, he was conscious
of a strange incongruity. They undoubtedly took on a new beauty,
but they lost something as well.

"No one sings them like your mother, Barney," said Margaret after
Dick had been drilling Iola on some of their finer shadings and
cadences, "and they are quite different with the guitar, too. They
are not the same a bit. They make me see different things and feel
different things when your mother sings."

"Different how?" said Dick.

"I can't tell, but somehow they give me a different taste in my
mouth, just the difference between eating your mother's scones with
rich creamy milk and eating fruit cake and honey with tea to

"I know," said Barney gravely. "They lose the Scotch with the
guitar. They are sweet and beautiful, wonderful, but they are a
different kind altogether. To me it's the difference between a
wood violet and a garden rose."

"Listen to the poetry of him. Come, mother," cried Dick, "sing us
one now."

"Me sing!" cried the mother aghast. "After yon!" nodding toward
Iola. "You would not be shaming your mother, Richard."

"Shaming you, indeed!" cried Margaret, indignantly.

"Do, Mrs. Boyle," entreated Iola. "I have never heard you sing.
Indeed, I did not know you could sing."

Something in her voice grated upon Barney's ear, but he spoke no

"Sing!" cried Dick. "You ought to hear her. Now, mother, for the
honor of the heather! Give us 'Can Ye Sew Cushions?' That's a
'baby song,' too."

"No," said Barney quietly, "Sing 'The Mac'Intosh,' mother." And he
began to play that exquisite Highland lament.

It was not her son's entreaty so much as something in the soft
drawl of the Southern girl that made Mrs. Boyle yield. Something
in that tone touched the pride in the old lady's Highland blood.
When Barney reached the end of the refrain his mother took up the
verse with the violin accompanying.

Her voice lacked fulness and power. It was worn and thin, but she
had the exquisite lilting note of the Highland maids at their
milking or of the fisher folk at the mending of their nets. Clear
and sweet and with a penetrating pathos indescribable, the voice
rose and fell in all the quaint turns and quavers and cadences that
a tune takes on with age. As she sang her song in the soft Gaelic
tongue, with hands lying idly in her lap, with eyes glowing in
their gloomy depths, the spell of mountain and glen and loch fell
upon her sons and upon the girl seated at her feet, while Iola's
great lustrous eyes, fastened upon the stranger's face, softened to

"Oh, that is too lovely!" cried Iola, when the song was done,
clapping her hands. "No, not lovely. That is not the word. Sad,
sad." She hid her face in her hands one impulsive moment, then
said softly, "I could never do that. Never! Never! What is it
you put into the song? What is it?" she cried, turning to Barney.

"It's the moan of the sea," said Barney gravely.

"It gives a feller a kind of holler pain inside," said Ben Fallows.
"There hain't no words fer it."

"Sing again," entreated Iola, all the lazy indifference gone from
her voice. "Sing just one more."

"This one, mother," said Barney, playing the tune, "your mother
used to sing, you know, 'Fhir a Bhata'."

"How often haunting the highest hilltop,
I scan the ocean thy sail to see;
Wilt come to-night, Love? wilt come to-morrow?
Wilt ever come, love, to comfort me?
Fhir a bhata, na horo eile,
Fhir a bhata, na horo eile,
Fhir a bhata, na horo eile,
O fare ye well, love, where'er ye be."

For some moments they sat quiet with the spell of the dreamy, sad
music upon them.

"One more, mother," entreated Dick.

"No, laddie. The night is falling. There's work to-morrow for
you. Aye, and for Margaret here."

Iola rose and came timidly to Mrs. Boyle. "Thank you," she said,
lifting up her great, dark eyes to the old woman's face, "you have
given me great pleasure to-night."

"Indeed, and you're welcome, lassie," said Mrs. Boyle, smitten with
a sudden pity for the motherless girl. "And we will be glad to see
ye when ye come back again."

For this, too, it was that Iola as well as Margaret could never
forget that afternoon.

"And now, ladies and gentlemen," cried Dick, striking an attitude,
"though the 'good cheer' department may seem to have accomplished
the purpose for which it was organised, it cannot be said to have
outlived its usefulness, in that it appears to have created for
itself a sphere of operations from which it cannot be withdrawn
without injury to all its members. I, therefore, respectfully
suggest that the department be organised upon a permanent basis
with headquarters at the Mill and my humble self at its head. All
who agree will say 'Aye'."

"Aye," said Barney with prompt heartiness.

"Me, too," cried Iola, holding up both hands.

"Mother, what do you say?"

"Aye, laddie. There's much need for good cheer in the world."

"And you?" turning to Margaret, who stood with Mrs. Boyle's arm
thrown about her, "how do you vote?"

"This member needs it too much"--with a somewhat uncertain smile--
"to say anything but 'Aye'."

"Then," said Dick solemnly, "the 'good cheer' department is hereby
and henceforth organised as a permanent institution in the
community here represented, and we earnestly hope that its members
will continue in their faithful adherence thereto, believing, as we
do, that loyalty to this institution will be its highest reward."

But none of them knew what potencies of joy and of pain lay wrapped
up for them all in that same department of "good cheer."



The harvest time in Ontario is ever a season of delightful rush and
bustle. The fall wheat follows hard upon the haying, and close
upon the fall wheat comes the barley, then the oats and the rest of
the spring grain.

It was this year to be a more than usually busy time for the Boyle
boys. They had a common purse, and out of that purse the payments
on the mortgage must be met, as well as Dick's college expenses.
For the little farm, with the profits from the mill, could do
little more than provide a living for the family. Ordinarily the
lads worked for day's wages, the farmers gladly paying the highest
going, for the boys were famous binders and good workers generally.
This year, however, they had in mind something more ambitious.

"Mother," said Dick, "did you hear of the new harvesting gang?"

"And who might they be?" asked his mother, always on the lookout
for some nonsense from her younger son.

"Boyle and Fallows--or Fallows and Boyle, I guess it will be.
Ben's starting with us Monday morning."

"Nonsense, laddie. There will be no reaping for Ben this year,
I doubt, poor fellow; and, besides, I will be needing him for

"Yes. But I am in earnest, mother. Ben is to drive the reaper for
us. He can sit on the reaper half a day, you know. At least, his
doctor here says so. And he will keep us busy."

"If I cawn't keep the two of you a-humpin', though you are some
pumpkins at bindin', I hain't worth my feed."

"But, Barney," remonstrated his mother, "is he fit to go about that
machine? Something might happen the lad."

"I don't think there is any danger, mother. And, besides, we will
be at hand all the time."

"And what will two lads like you do following the machine all day?
You will only be hurting yourselves."

"You watch us, mother," cried Dick. "We'll be after Ben like a dog
after a coon."

"Indeed," said his mother. "I have heard that it takes four good
men to keep up to a machine. It was no later than yesterday that
Mr. Morrison's Sam was telling me that they had all they could do
to follow up, the whole four of them."

"Huh!" grunted Dick scornfully, "I suppose so. Four like Fatty
Morrison and that gang of his!"

"Hush, laddie. It is not good to be speaking ill of your
neighbours," said his mother.

"It's not speaking ill to say that a man is fat. It's a very fine
compliment, mother. Only wish someone could say the same of me."

"Indeed, and you would be the better of it," replied his mother
compassionately, "with your bones sticking through your skin!"

It was with the spring crop that Ben Fallows began his labours; and
much elevated, indeed, was he at the prospect of entering into
partnership with the Boyle boys, who were renowned for the very
virtues which poor Ben consciously lacked and to which, in the new
spirit that was waking in him, he was beginning to aspire. For the
weeks spent under Barney's care and especially in the atmosphere of
the Mill household had quickened in Ben new motives and new
ambitions. This Barney had noticed, and it was for Ben's sake more
than for their own that the boys had associated him with them in
their venture of taking harvesting contracts. And as the summer
went on they found no reason to regret the new arrangement. But it
was at the expense of long days and hard days for the two boys
following the reaper, and often when the day's work was done they
could with difficulty draw their legs home and to bed. Indeed,
there were nights when Dick, hardly the equal of his brother in
weight and strength, lay sleepless from sheer exhaustion, while
Barney from sympathy kept anxious vigil with him. Morning,
however, found them stiff and sore, it is true, but full of courage
and ready for the renewal of the long-drawn struggle which was
winning for them not only very substantial financial profits, but
also high fame as workers. The end of the harvest found them hard,
tough, full of nerve and fit for any call within the limit of their
powers. It was Ben who furnished the occasion of such a call being
made upon them. A rainy day found him at the blacksmith shop with
the Mill team waiting to be shod. The shop was full of horses and
men. A rainy day was a harvest day for the blacksmith. All odd
jobs allowed to accumulate during the fine weather were on that day
brought to the shop.

Ben, with his crutch and his wooden leg, found himself the centre
of a new interest and sympathy. In spite of the sympathy, however,
there was a disposition to chaff poor Ben, whose temper was
brittle, and whose tongue took on a keener edge as his temper
became more uncertain. Withal, he had a little man's tendency to
brag. To-day, however, though conscious of the new interest
centring in him, and though visibly swollen with the importance of
his new partnership with the Boyle boys, he was exhibiting a
dignity and self-control quite unusual, and was, for that very
reason, provocative of chaff more pungent than ordinary.

Chief among his tormenters was Sam Morrison, or "Fatty" Morrison,
as he was colloquially designated. Sam was one of four sons of
"Old King" Morrison, the richest and altogether most important
farmer in the district. On this account Samuel was inclined to
assume the blustering manners of his portly, pompous, but
altogether good-natured father, the "Old King." But while bluster
in the old man, who had gained the respect and esteem that success
generally brings, was tolerated, in Sammy it became ridiculous and
at times offensive. The young man had been entertaining the
assembled group of farmers and farm lads with vivid descriptions of
various achievements in the harvest field on the part of himself or
some of the members of his distinguished family, the latest and
most notable achievement being the "slashing down and tying up" of
a ten-acre field of oats by the four of them, the "Old King"
himself driving the reaper.

"Yes, sir!" shouted Sammy. "And Joe, he took the last sheaf right
off that table! You bet!"

"How many of you?" asked Ben sharply.

"Just four," replied Sammy, turning quickly at Ben's unexpected

"How many shocking?" continued Ben, with a judicial air.

"Why, none, you blamed gander! An' kep' us humpin', too, you bet!"

"I guess so," grunted Ben, "from what I've seed."

Sam regarded him steadfastly. "And what have you 'seed,' Mr.
Fallows, may I ask?" he inquired with fine scorn.

"Seed? Seed you bindin', of course."

"Well, what are ye hootin' about?" Sam was exceedingly wroth.

"I hain't been talking much for the last hour." In moments of
excitement Ben became uncertain of his h's. "I used to talk more
when I wasn't so busy, but I hain't been talkin' so much this 'ere
'arvest. We hain't had time. When we're on a job," continued Ben,
as the crowd drew near to listen, "we hain't got time fer talkin',
and when we're through we don't feel like it. We don't need, to."

A general laugh of approval followed Ben's words.

"You're right, Ben. You're a gang of hustlers," said Alec Murray.
"There ain't much talkin' when you git a-goin'. But that's a
pretty good day's work, Ben, ten acres."

Ben gave a snort. "Yes. Not a bad day's work fer two men." He
had no love for any of the Morrisons, whose near neighbours he was
and at whose hands he had suffered many things.

"Two men!" shouted Sammy. "Your gang, I suppose you mean."

Suddenly Ben's self-control vanished. "Yes, by the jumpin'
Jemima!" he cried, facing suddenly upon Sam. "Them's the two, if
yeh want to know. Them's binders! They don't stop, at hevery
corner to swap lies an' to see if it's goin' to ran. They keep a-
workin', they do. They don't wait to cool hoff before they drink
fer fear they git foundered, as if they was 'osses, like you
fellers up on the west side line there." Ben threw his h's
recklessly about. "You hain't no binders, you hain't. Yeh never
seed any."

At this moment "King" Morrison himself entered the blacksmith shop.

"Hello, Ben! What's eatin' you?" he exclaimed.

Ben grew suddenly quiet. "Makin' a bloomin' hass of myself, I
guess," he growled.

"What's up with Benny? He seems a little raised," said the "Old
King," addressing the crowd generally.

"Oh, blowin' 'bout his harvestin' gang," said his son Sam.

"Well, you can do a little blowin' yourself, Sammy."

"Guess I came by it natcherly n'ough," said Sam. He stood in no
awe of his father.

"Blowin's all right if you can back it up, Sammy. But what's the
matter, Benny, my boy? We're all glad to see you about, an' more'n
that, we're glad to hear of your good work this summer. But what
are they doin' to you?"

"Doin' nothin'," broke in Sam, a little nettled at the "Old King's"
kindly tone toward Ben. "He's blowin' round here to beat the band
'bout his gang."

"Well, Sam, he's got a right to blow, for they're two good workers."

"But they can't bind ten acres a day, as Ben blows about."

"Well, that would be a little strong," said the "Old King." "Why,
it took my four boys a good day to tie up ten acres, Ben."

"I'm talkin' 'bout binders," said Ben, in what could hardly be
called a respectful tone.

"Look here, Ben, no two men can bind ten acres in a day, so just
quit yer blowin' an' talk sense."

"I'm talkin' 'bout binders," repeated Ben stubbornly.

"And I tell you, Ben," replied the "Old King," with emphasis, "your
boys--and they're good boys, too--can't tie no ten acres in a day.
They've got the chance of tryin' on that ten acres of wheat on my
west fifty. If they can do it in a day they can have it."

"They wouldn't take it," answered Ben regretfully. "They can do
it, fast enough."

Then the "Old King" quite lost patience. "Now, Ben, shut up!
You're a blowhard! Why, I'd bet any man the whole field against
$50 that it can't be done."

"I'll take you on that," said Alec Murray.

"What?" The "Old King" was nonplussed for a moment.

"I'll take that. But I guess you don't mean it."

But the "Old King" was too much of a sport to go back upon his
offer. "It's big odds," he said. "But I'll stick to it. Though I
want to tell you, there's nearer twelve acres than ten."

"I know the field," said Alec. "But I'm willing to risk it. The
winner pays the wages. How long a day?" continued Alec.

"Quit at six."

"The best part of the day is after that."

"Make it eight, then," said the "Old King." "And we'll bring it
off on Monday. We're thrashing that day, but the more the

"There's jest one thing," interposed Ben, "an' that is, the boys
mustn't know about this."

"Why not?" said Alec. "They're dead game."

"Oh, Dick'd jump at it quick enough, but Barney wouldn't let 'im
risk it. He's right careful of that boy."

After full discussion next Sabbath morning by those who were
loitering, after their custom, in the churchyard waiting for the
service to begin, it was generally agreed that the "Old King" with
his usual shrewdness had "put his money on the winning horse."
Even Alec Murray, though he kept a bold face, confided to his bosom
friend, Rory Ross, that he "guessed his cake was dough, though they
would make a pretty big stagger at it."

"If Dick only had Barney's weight," said Rory, "they would stand a
better chance."

"Yes. But Dick tires quicker. An' he'll die before he drops."

"But ten acres, Alec! And there's more than ten acres in that

"I know. But it's standing nice, an' it's lighter on the knoll in
the centre. If I can only get them goin' their best clip--I'll
have to work it some way. I'll have to get Barney moving. Dick's
such an ambitious little beggar he'd follow till he bust. The
first thing," continued Alec, "is to get them a good early start.
I'll have a talk with Ben."

As a result of his conversation with Ben it was hardly daylight on
Monday morning when Mrs. Boyle, glancing at her clock, sprang at
once from her bed and called her sons.

"You're late, Barney. It's nearly six, and you have to go to
Morrison's to-day. Here's Ben with the horses fed."

"Why, mother, it's only five o'clock by my watch."

"No, it's six."

Upon comparison Ben's watch corresponded with the clock. Barney
concluded something must be wrong and routed Dick up, and with such
good purpose did they hasten through breakfast that in an hour from
the time the boys were called they were standing in the field
waiting for Ben to begin the day's work.

After they had been binding an hour Alec Murray appeared on the
field. "I'm going to shock," he announced. "They've got men
enough up at the thrashing, an' the 'Old King' wants to get this
field in shock by to-morrow afternoon so he can get it thrashed, if
you hustlers can get it down by then." Alec was apparently in
great spirits. He brought with him into the field a breezy air of

"Here, Ben, don't take all day oiling up there. I guess I'm after
you to-day, remember."

"Guess yeh'll wait till it's tied, won't yeh?" said Ben, who
thoroughly understood Alec's game.

"Don't know 'bout that. I may have to jump in an' tie a few

"Don't you fret yourself," replied Dick. "If you shock all that's
tied to-day you'll need to hang your shirt on the fence at night."

"Keep cool, Dick, or you'll be leavin' Barney too far behind. You
tie quicker than him, I hear."

"Oh, I don't know," said Dick modestly, though quite convinced in
his own mind that he could.

"Dick's a little quicker, ain't he?" said Alec, turning to Barney.

"Oh, he's quick enough."

"Did you never have a tussle?" inquired Alec, snatching up a couple
of sheaves in each arm and setting them in their places in the
shock with a quick swing, then stepping off briskly for others.

"No," said Barney shortly.

"I guess he didn't want you to hurt yourself," he suggested
cunningly to Dick. "When a fellow isn't very strong he's got to be
careful." This was Dick's sensitive point. He was not content to
do a man's work in the field, but he was miserable unless he took
first place.

"Oh, he needn't be afraid of hurting me," he said, taking Alec's
bait. "I've worked with him all harvest and I'm alive yet."
Unconsciously Dick's pace quickened, and for the next few minutes
Barney was left several sheaves behind.

"He's just foolin' with you, Dick," jeered Alec. "He wouldn't hurt
you for the world."

Unconsciously by his hustling manner and by his sly suggestion of
superiority now to one and again to the other, he put both boys
upon their mettle, and before they were aware they were going at a
racing pace, though neither would acknowledge that to the other.
Alec kept following them close, almost running for his sheaves,
flinging a word of encouragement now to one, now to the other,
shouting at Ben as he turned the corners, and by every means
possible keeping the excitement at the highest point. But he was
careful not to overdrive his men. By a previous arrangement and
without serious difficulty he had persuaded Teenie Ross, who had
come to assist the Morrison girls at the threshing, to bring out a
lunch to the field at ten o'clock. For half an hour they sat in
the long grass in the shade of a maple tree eating the lunch which
Dick at least was beginning to feel in need of. But not a minute
more did Alec allow.

"I'm going to catch you fellows," he said, "if I've to take off my
shirt to do it."

Dick was quick to respond and again set off at full speed. But the
grain was heavier than Alec had counted upon, and when the noon
hour had arrived he estimated that the grain was not more than one-
third down. A full hour and a half he allowed his men for rest,
cunningly drawing them off from the crowd of threshers to a quiet
place in the orchard where they could lie down and sleep, waking
them when time was up that there should be no loss of a single
precious moment. As they were going out to the field Alec
suggested that instead of coming back for supper at five, according
to the usual custom, they should have it brought to them in the

"It's a long way up to the house," he explained, "and the days are
getting short." And though the boys didn't take very kindly to the
suggestion, neither would think of opposing it.

But in spite of all that Alec and Ben could do, when the threshers
knocked off work for the day and sauntered down to the field where
the reaping was going on, it looked as if the "Old King" were to
win his bet.

"Keep out of this field!" yelled Alec, as the men drew near;
"you're interferin' with our work. Come, get out!" For the boys
had begun to take it easy and chatting with some of them.

"Get away from here, I tell you!" cried Alec. "You line up along
the fence and we'll show you how this thing should be done!"

Realizing the fairness of his demand, the men retired from the
field. The long shadows of the evening were falling across the
field. The boys were both showing weariness at every step they
took. Alec was at his wit's end. The grain was all cut, but there
was still a large part of it to bind. He determined to take the
boys into his confidence. He knew all the risk there was in this
step. Barney might refuse to risk an injury to his brother. It
was Alec's only chance, however, and walking over to the boys, he
told them the issue at stake.

"Boys," he said, "I don't want you to hurt yourselves. I don't
care a dern about the money. I'd like to beat 'Old King' Morrison
and I'd like to see you make a record. You've done a big day's
work already, and if you want to quit I won't say a word."

"Quit!" cried Dick in scorn, kindling at Alec's story. "What time
have we left?"

"We have till eight o'clock. It's now just seven."

"Come on then, Barney!" cried Dick. "We're good for an hour,

"I don't know, Dick," said Barney, hesitating.

"Come along! I can stand it and I know you can." And off he set
again at racing pace and making no attempt to hide it.

In half an hour there were still left them, taking two swaths
apiece, the two long sides and the two short ends.

"You can't do it, boys," said Alec regretfully. "Let 'er go."

"Yes, boys," cried the "Old King," who, with the crowd, had drawn
near, "you've done a big day's work. You'll hurt yourselves.
You've earned double pay and you'll get it."

"Not yet," cried Dick. "We'll put in the half hour at any rate.
Come on, Barney! Never mind your rake!"

His face looked pale and worn, but his eyes were ablaze with light,
and but for his pale face there was no sign of weariness about him.
He flung away his rake and, snatching up a band, kicked the sheaf
together, caught it up, drew, tied, and fastened it as with one
single act.

"We'll show them waltz time, Barney," he called, springing toward
the next sheaf. "One"--at the word he snatched up and made the
band, "two"--he passed the band around the sheaf, kicking it at the
same time into shape, "three"--he drew and knotted the band,
shoving the end in with his thumb. After him went Barney. One--
two--three! and a sheaf was done. One--two--three! and so from
sheaf to sheaf. It took them fifteen minutes to go down the long
side. Dick, who had the inside, finished and sprang to his place
at the outer side.

"Get inside!" shouted Barney, "let me take that swath!"

"Come along!" replied Dick, tying his sheaf.

"Fifteen minutes left, boys! I believe you're going to do it!" At
this Ben gave a yell.

"They're goin' to do it!" he shouted, stumping around in great

"Double up, Dick!" cried Barney, carrying one sheaf to the next and
tying them both together. Dick followed Barney's example, but here
his brother's extra strength told in the race. Close after them
came the crowd, Alec leading them, watch in hand, all yelling.

"Two minutes for that end, boys!" cried Alec, as they reached the
corner. "You're goin' to do it, my hearties! You're goin' to do
it!" They had thirteen minutes in which to bind a side and an end.

"They can't do it, Alec," said the "Old King." "They'll hurt
themselves. Call them off!"

"Are you all right, Dick?" cried Barney, swinging on to the outer

"All right," panted his brother, striding in at his side.

"Come on! We'll do it, then!" replied Barney.

Side by side they rushed. Sheaf by sheaf they tied together,
Barney gradually gaining by the doubling process.

"Don't wait for me," gasped Dick, "if you can go faster!"

"One minute and a half, boys, if you can stand it!" cried Alec, as
they reached the last corner. "One minute and a half, and we win!"

There remained five sheaves on the outer of Barney's two swaths,
two on the inner of Dick's. In all, nine for Barney, six for Dick.
The sheaves were comparatively small. Springing at this swath,
Barney doubled the first two, the second two, the third two, and
putting the last three together swung in upon Dick's swath where
there were two sheaves left.

"Don't you touch it!" gasped Dick angrily.

"How's the time, Alec?" panted Barney.

"Half a minute."

Before he spoke, Dick flung himself on his last two sheaves,
crying, "Out of the way there!" snatched his band, passing it
around the sheaf, tied it, flung it over his shoulder, and stood
with his hands on his knees, his breath coming in sobbing gasps.

For a few minutes the men went wild. Barney stepped to Dick's
side, and patting him on the shoulder, said, "Great man, Dick! But
I was a fool to let you!"

"That's what you were!" cried the "Old King," slapping Dick on the
back, "but there's the greatest day's work ever done in these
parts. The wheat's yours," he said, turning to Alec, "but begad! I
wish it was goin' to them that won it!"

"An' that's where it is going," said Alec, "every blamed sheaf of
it, to Ben's gang."

"We'll take what's coming to us," said Barney shortly.

"I told yeh so," said Ben regretfully.

"Why, don't you know it was for you I took the bet?" said Alec,
angry that he should be balked in his good intention to help the

"We'll take our wages," repeated Barney in a tone that settled the
controversy. "The wheat is not ours."

"Then it ain't mine," said Alec, disgusted, remembering in how
great peril his $50 had been.

"Well, boys," said the "Old King," "it ain't mine. We'll divide it
in three."

"We'll take our wages," said Barney again, in sullen determination.

"Confound the boy!" cried the "Old King." "What'll we do with the
wheat? I say, we'll give it to Ben; he's had hard luck this year."

"No, by the jumpin' Jemima Jebbs!" said Ben, stumping over to
Barney's side. "I stand with the boss. I take my wages."

"Well, dog-gone you all! Will you take double pay, then? There's
two days' good work there. And the rest we'll give to the church.
Good thing the minister ain't here or he'd kick, too!"

"But," added the "Old King," turning to his son Sam, "after this
you crawl into your shell when there's any blowin' bein' done about
Ben's gang."



The mill lane was prinked with all the June flowers. Over the
snake fence massed the clover, red and white. Through the rails
peeped the thistle bloom, pink and purple, and higher up above the
top rail the white crest of the dogwood slowly nodded in the breeze
this sweet summer day. In the clover the bumblebees, the crickets,
and the grasshoppers boomed, chirped, crackled, shouting their joy
to be alive in so good a place and on so good a day. Above, the
sky was blue, pure blue, and all the bluer for the specks of cloud
that hung, still-poised like white-winged birds, white against the
blue. Last evening's rain had washed the world clean. The sky,
the air, the flowers, the clover, red and white, the kindly grass
that ran green everywhere under foot, the dusty road, all were
washed clean. In the elm bunches by the fence, in the maples and
thorns, the birds, their summer preoccupations forgotten at the
bidding of this new washed day, recalled their spring songs and
poured them forth with fine careless courage.

In tune to this brave symphony of colour and song, and down this
flower-prinked, song-filled, clean washed, grassy lane stepped Dick
this summer morning, stepped with the spring and balance of the
well-trained athlete, stepped with the step of a man whose heart
makes him merry music. A clean-looking man was Dick, harmonious
with the day and with the lane down which he stepped. Against the
grey of his suit his hands, his face, and his neck, where the
negligee shirt fell away wide, revealing his strong, full curves
spreading to the shoulders, all showed ruddy brown. He was a man
good to look upon, with his springy step, his tan skin, his clear
eye, but chiefly because out of his clear eye a soul looked forth
clean and unafraid upon God's good world of wholesome growing

From his three years of 'varsity life he came back unspoiled to his
boyhood's love of the open sky and of all things under it. He had
just come through a great year in college, his third, the greatest
in many ways of the college course. His class had thrust him into
a man's place of leadership in that world where only manhood
counts, and he had "made good." In the literary, in the gym, on
the campus he had made and held high place, and on the class lists,
in spite of his many distractions, he had ranked a double first.
Best of all, it filled him with warm gratitude to remember that
none of his fellows had grudged him any of his good things. What a
decent lot they were! It humbled him to think of their pride in
him. He would not disappoint them. Noblesse oblige.

At the crest of the hill he paused to look back, and here the pain
that had been running below his consciousness, like the minor
strain in rich music, came to the top. This was Barney's spot. At
this spot Barney always made him pause to look back upon the old
mill in its frame of beauty. Poor Barney! Twice he had gone down
to the exams, and twice he had failed. Of all in the home circle
only Dick could understand the full bitterness of the cup of
humiliation that his brother had put silently to his lips and
drained. To his mother, the failure brought no surprise, and she
would have been glad enough to have him give up "his notion of
being a doctor and be content with the mill." She had no ambitions
for poor Barney, who was "a quiet lad and well-doing enough," an
encomium which stood for all the virtues removed from any touch of
genius. She was not hurt by his failure. Indeed, she could hardly
understand how deep the shame had gone into his proud, reserved
heart. His father did not talk about it, but carried him off to
look at some of the mill machinery which had gone wrong, and it was
only by a gentler tone in his voice that Barney knew that his
father understood. But Dick, with his fuller knowledge of college
life, realized as none other of them did the extent of Barney's
miserable sense of defeat.

And now, as he looked back upon the mill, Barney's pain became his
anew. The causes of his failure were not far to seek. "He had no
chance!" said Dick aloud, leaning upon the top rail and looking
with gloomy eyes upon the scene of beauty before him. Things had
changed since old Doctor Ferguson's time. The scientific basis of
medicine was coming to its place in medical study, and the old
doctor's contempt for these new-fangled notions had wrought ill for
Barney. Dick remembered how he had gone, hot with indignation for
his brother, to the new English professor in chemistry, whose
papers were the terror of all pass men and, indeed, all honour men
who stuck too closely to the text-book. He remembered the
Englishman's drawling contempt as, after looking up Barney's name
and papers, he dismissed the matter with the words, "He knows
nothing whatever about the subject, couldn't conduct the simplest
experiment, don't you know." Poor Barney! the ancient and
elementary chemistry of Dr. Ferguson seemed to hold not even the
remotest affinity to that which Professor Fish expected. Dick was
glad this morning that he had had sense enough to hold his tongue
in the professor's presence. It comforted him to recall the
generous enthusiasm with which Dr. Trent, the most brilliant
surgeon on the staff, had recalled Barney's name.

"Your brother, is he? Well, sir, he's a wonder!"

"Fish doesn't think so," Dick had replied.

"Oh! Fish be hanged!" the doctor had answered, with the fine
contempt of a specialist in practical work for the theorist in
medicine. He has some idiotic notions in his head that he plucks
men for not knowing. I don't say they are not necessary, but
useful chiefly for examination purposes. Send your brother down.
Send him down. For if ever I saw an embryonic surgeon, he's one!
When he comes, bring him to me."

"He'll come," Dick had answered, his face hot to think that it was
for his sake Barney had remained grinding at home.

"And he's going this fall," said Dick aloud, "or no 'varsity for
me." He pulled a letter out of his pocket. It was from his
football comrade, young Macdonald, offering, in his father's name,
to Barney and himself positions in one of the lumber mills far up
the Ottawa, where, by working overtime, there was a chance of
making $100 a month and all found. "And we'll make it go," said
Dick. "There's $300 apiece for us, and that's more than we want.
Poor old chap!" he continued, musing aloud, "he'll get his chance
at last. Besides, we'll get him away from that girl, confound her!
though I'm afraid it's no use now."

A deeper pain surged up from the bottom of Dick's heart. "That
girl" was Iola. The night before, as they were driving home in the
growing dark, with halting words and with shamed face, as if he
were doing his brother a wrong, Barney had confided to him that
Iola and he had come to an understanding of their mutual love.
Dick remembered this morning, and he would remember to his dying
day, the sense of loss, of being forsaken, that had smitten him as
he cried, "Oh, Barney! is it possible?" Then, as Barney had gone
on to explain how it had come about, almost apologizing, as it
seemed to Dick, for his weakness, Dick, seeing in the gloom a gleam
of hope, had cried, "We'll get you out of it, Barney. I'll help
you this summer." And then again the inevitableness of what had
taken place had come over him at Barney's reply: "But, Dick, I
don't want to get out of it." At that moment Dick's world changed.
No longer was he first with his brother. Iola had taken his place.
In vain Barney, guessing the thought in his heart, had protested
with eager, almost piteous, appeal that Dick would be the same to
him as ever. In the first acute moment of his pain he had cried
out some quick word of bitter reproach, but the look on Barney's
face had checked him. He was glad now that he had said nothing
against the girl. And as he thought of her in the saner light of
the morning, he felt that he could not be quite fair to her, and
yet he wished it had been some other than Iola. "It's that
confounded voice of hers, and her eyes, and her whole get-up.
She's got something diabolically fetching about her." Then, as if
he had gone too far, he continued, still musing aloud, "She's good
enough, I guess, but not for Barney." That was one of the bitter
things that had survived the night. She was not good enough for
his brother, his hero, his beau ideal of high manhood ever since he
could think. "But there is no one good enough for Barney," he
continued, "except--yes--there is one--Margaret--she is good
enough--even for Barney." As Barney among men, so Margaret among
women had stood with Dick, peerless. And all his life he had put
these two together. Even as a little fellow, when saying his
prayers to his mother, next in the list to Barney's name had always
come Margaret's. She was like Barney in so many ways; strong like
Barney in her relentless devotion to duty; she had Barney's fine
sense of honour, of righteousness, and Barney's superb courage,
and, more than anything else, the same unfathomable heart of love.
One could never get to the bottom of it. No matter what the drain,
there would still be love there.

It was the thought of Margaret that had set his heart singing
within him this morning. Even last night, after the first few
moments of pain, the thought of Margaret had come to him, bringing
an odd sense of happiness, and early this morning the first
consciousness of loss, that had made him tighten his arm hard about
his brother, had been followed by that feeling of happiness,
indefinable at first, but soon traced to the thought of Margaret.
For the first time in his life he thought of her unrelated to
Barney. He had always loved Margaret, rejoiced in her high spirit,
her courage, her downright sincerity, her deep heart, but never for
himself, always for Barney. The first resentment that Barney
should have passed her by for one like Iola had given way to a
timid fluttering of heart that strengthened and deepened to a great
joy that the way to Margaret for him stood open. For himself, now,
he might love her. With such marvellous swiftness does love work
that, when his mother bade him go "pay his duty to the minister,"
his heart responded with so great a leap of joy that he found
himself glancing quickly at the faces of those about him, sure that
they must have noticed.

And now he was on his way to Margaret. It was as if he had to make
acquaintance of her. He wondered how she would greet him and he
wondered what he should say to her. What would she be doing now?
He glanced at his watch. It was just ten o'clock. The morning
work would be done. She might come for a little stroll in the
woods at the back of the manse, but he would say nothing to her to-
day. He would wait and watch to read her heart. He sprang up the
bank, that ran along beside the fence, to go on his way. A gleam
of white through the snake fence against the pink of the clover
caught his eye. Under the thorn tree--he knew the spot well--and
upon the grass, lay a girl. "By Jove!" he whispered, his heart
stopping, thumping, then rushing, "it is Margaret." He would creep
up and surprise her. The deep grass deadened his footfalls. He
was close to her. He held his breath. She lay asleep, one arm
under her head, the other flung wide in an abandonment of
weariness. He stood gazing down upon her. Pale she looked to him,
and thin and weary. The lines about her mouth and eyes spoke of
cares and of griefs, too. How much older she was than he had
thought! "Poor girl! she has been having a hard time! It's a
shame, a downright shame! And she's only a child yet!" At the
thought of her long sacrifice for those three past years a great
pity stole into his heart. At that touch of pity the love that had
ever filled his heart, dammed back for so long by his regard for
his brother's rights, suddenly finding its new channel, burst forth
and swept like a torrent through his being. He lost grip of
himself and, before he knew, he had bent over the sleeping girl and
kissed her lips. A long shivering sigh shook her. "Barney," she
murmured, a slight smile playing about her lips. She opened her
eyes. A moment she lay looking up into Dick's face, then, suddenly
wide awake, she sat upright.

"You! Dick!" she cried, surprise, indignation, shame, mingling in
her voice. "You--you dare to--"

"Yes, Margaret," said Dick, aghast at what he had done, "I couldn't
help it. You looked so sweet and so sad, and--and I love you so

"You," cried the girl again, as if she could find no other word.
"What did you say?"

"I said, Margaret," he replied, gathering his courage together,
"that I love you so much."

"You love me?" she gasped.

"Yes, I love you. I never knew till last night."

"Last night?" she echoed, with her eyes upon his face, now grown
pale, but illuminated with a light she had never seen there before.

"Yes, last night. It was always there, Margaret," he hurried to
say, "but only last night I found out I might love you. I never
let myself go. I thought I had no right. I mean I thought Barney--"
At the mention of his brother's name, the face that had been
white with a look almost of horror flamed quickly with red. "Last
night," continued Dick, wondering at the change in her, "I found
out, and this morning, Margaret, the whole world is just humming
with joy because I know I may love you all I want to. Oh, it's
great! I never imagined a fellow could hold so much love or so
much joy. Do you understand me, Margaret? Do you knew what I am
talking about?" Margaret's face had grown pale and haggard, as
with pain, and her eyes were wide open with pity.

"Yes, Dick," she said slowly, "I know. I have just been learning."
The brave lips quivered, but she kept firm hold of herself. "I
know all the joy and--all the pain." She stopped short at the look
in Dick's face. The buoyant, glad light flickered and went out.
A look of perplexity, of great fear, and then of desolation, like
that on her own face, spread over his. He knew her too well to
misunderstand her meaning. She leaned over to him, still kneeling
in the grass. "Oh, Dick, dear!" she cried, taking his hand in hers
with a mother-touch and tone, "must you suffer, too? Oh, don't say
you must! Not with my pain, Dick! Not with my pain!" Her voice
rose in a cry, broke into a sob, but still she held him with her

"Do you say I must?" he answered in a hoarse tone. "I love you
with all my heart."

"Oh, don't Dick, dear," she pleaded, "don't say it!"

"Yes, I will," he said, recovering his voice, "because it's true.
And I'm glad it's true. I'm glad that I can at last let myself
love you. It was only last night when Barney told me about Iola,
you know."

"Yes, yes," she said hurriedly.

"I had always thought that it was you, and I was glad to think so
for Barney. But last night"--here a quick flash of joy came into
his face at the memory--"I found out, and this morning I could
hardly help shouting it as I came along to you." He paused, and,
leaning toward her, he took her hand. "Don't you think, Margaret,
you might perhaps some time." The piteous entreaty in his voice
broke down the girl's proud courage.

"Oh, Dick! Oh, Dick!" she sobbed, "don't! Don't ask me!" Her
sobs came tempestuously.

He put his arms about her and, stroking her yellow hair, gently
said, "Never mind, little girl. Don't do that! I can't stand
that, and--well, I won't bother you a bit with my affair. Don't
think about me. I'll get hold of myself. There now--hush, hush,
girlie. Don't cry like that!" He held her close to him, caressing
her till she grew quiet.

At length she drew away, saying, "I don't know why I should act
like this. I haven't cried for a year. I think I am tired. It
has been a hard winter, Dick. They used to play and sing together
for hours. Oh, it was wonderful music, but I could have shrieked
aloud. Don't think me horrid," she went on hurriedly. "I wonder I
am not ashamed to tell you. But I never let anyone know, neither
of them nor anyone else. Mind you that, Dick, no one knows." She
sat up straight, her courage coming back. "I never meant to tell
you, Dick, but you know you took me unaware." A little smile was
struggling to the corners of her mouth and a faint flush touched
her pale cheek. "But I am glad you know. And, Dick, can't we go
back? Won't you forget what you have said?" Dick had been looking
at her, wondering at her courage and self-command, but in his eyes
a look of misery that went to the girl's heart.

"Forget!" he cried. "Tell me how."

She shook her head, and then, reading his eyes, she cried aloud,
"Oh, Dick! must we go on and on like this?" She pressed her hands
hard upon her heart. "There's a sore, sore pain right here," she
said. "Is there to be no rest, no relief from it? It's been there
for two years." She was fast losing her grip of herself again.
Once more he caught her in his strong brown hands.

"Now, Margaret dear, don't do that! We'll help each other somehow.
God--yes, God will help us if He takes any interest in us at all.
He can't let us go on like this!"

The words steadied her.

"I know, Dick," she said, a sudden quiet falling upon her, "there
has been no one else for all these months, and He has helped me.
He will help you, too. Come," she continued, "let us go."

"No, sit down and talk," replied Dick. He looked at his watch. "A
quarter after ten," he said, in surprise. "Can the whole world
change in one little quarter of an hour?" he asked, looking up at
her, "it was ten when I stopped at the hill."

"Come, Dick," she said again, "we'll talk another time, I can't
trust myself just now. I was going to your mother's."

But Dick remained kneeling in the grass where he was. It seemed to
him as if he had been in some strange land remote from this common
life, and he shrank from contact with the ordinary day and its
ordinary doings.

"I can't, Margaret," he said. "You go. Let me fight it out."

She knew too well where he was. "No, Dick, I will not leave you
here. Come, do." She went quickly to him, kneeled down, put her
arms about his neck and kissed him. "Help me, Dick," she

It was the word he needed. He threw his arms about her, kissed her
once, and then, as if seized with a frenzy of passion, he kissed,
again and again, her hair, her face, her hands, her lips, murmuring
in hoarse, passionate tones, "I love you! I love you!" For a few
moments she suffered him, and then gently pushed him back and drew
apart from him. Her action recalled him to himself.

"Forgive me, Margaret," he cried brokenly, "I'm a great, selfish
brute. I think only of myself. Now I'm ready to go. And when I
weaken again, don't think me quite a cad."

He sprang up, threw back his shoulders as if adjusting them to a
load, gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and together they set
off down the lane, the shadow a little lighter as each felt the
other near.



Are you going to Trinity convocation tomorrow?" asked Dr. Bulling
of Iola.

They were sitting in what Iola called her studio. A poor little
room it was, but suggesting in every detail the artistic taste of
its occupant. Its adornments, the luxurious arrangement of
cushions in the cosey corner, the prints upon the walls, and the
books on the little table, spoke of a pathetic attempt to reproduce
the surroundings of luxurious art without the large outlay that art
demands. At one side of the room stood a piano with music lying
carelessly about. In another corner was Iola's guitar, which she
seldom used now except when intimate friends gathered for one of
the little suppers she loved to give. Then she took it up to sing
the mammy songs of her childhood. On the side opposite to that on
which the piano stood was a little fireplace. It was the fireplace
that had determined the choice of the room.

As Dr. Bulling asked his question Iola's lace lit up with a sudden

"Yes, of course," she cried.

"And why 'of course'?" inquired the doctor.

"Why? Because a great friend of mine is to receive his degree and
his gold medal."

"And who is that, pray?"

"Mr. Boyle."

"Oh, you know him? Clever chap, they say. Can't say I know him.
Have seen him a few times in the hospital with Trent. Struck me as
rather crude. From the country, some place, isn't he?"

"Yes," replied Iola, with ever so slight a hesitation, "he is from
the country, where I met him five--yes, it is actually five--years
ago. So you see he is quite an old friend. And as for being
crude, I think you can hardly call him that. Of course, he is not
one of society's darlings, a patron of art, and a rising member of
his profession as yet"--this with a little bow to her visitor--"but
some day he will be great. And, besides, he is very nice."

"Of that I have no doubt," said the doctor, "seeing he is a friend
of yours. But how are you going? Some friends of mine are to be
there and will be glad to call for you." The doctor could hardly
prevent a tone of condescension, almost of patronage, in his voice.

"You are very kind," said Iola, with just enough reserve in her
manner to make the doctor conscious of his tone, "but I am going
with friends."

"Friends?" inquired the doctor. "And who, may I ask?" There was
an almost rude familiarity in his tone, but Iola only smiled at him
the more sweetly.

"Oh, very dear friends, and very old friends, and friends of Mr.
Boyle. In fact, his brother, a theological student, and a Miss
Robertson. I think you have met her. She is a nurse in the
General Hospital."

"Nurse Robertson?" said Bulling. "Oh, yes, I know her. Pretty
much of a saint, isn't she?"

"A saint?" cried Iola, for the first time throwing energy into her
voice. "Yes, a saint. But the best and sweetest and kindest and
jolliest girl I know."

"I should hardly have called her jolly," said the doctor, with an
air of dismissing her.

"Oh, she is!" cried Iola, enthusiastically, her large eyes glowing
eager enthusiasm. "You ought to have seen her at home. Why, at
sixteen years she took charge of her father's manse and the
children in the most wonderful way. Looked after me, too."

"Poor girl!" murmured the doctor. "She had a handful, sure

"Yes, you may say so. Then her father went on a trip to the old
country, and, to the surprise of everybody, brought back a new

"And put the girl's nose out of joint," said the doctor.

"Well, hardly that. But there was no longer need for her at home,
and, on the whole, she felt better to be independent, and so here
she has been for the last two years. She shares my room when she
is at home, which is not often, and still takes care of me."

"Most fortunate young lady she is," murmured the doctor.

"So I am going with them," continued Iola.

"Then I suppose nobody will see you." The doctor's tone was quite

"Why, I love to see all my friends."

"It will be the usual thing," said the doctor, "the same circle
crowding you, the same impossibility of getting a word with you."

"That depends on how much you--" cried Iola, throwing a swift smile
at him.

"How much I want to?" interrupted the doctor eagerly. "You know
quite well I--"

"How much time there is. You see, one can't be rude. One must
speak to all one's friends. But, of course, one can always plan
one's time. How ever," she continued, "one can hardly expect to
see much of the very popular Dr. Bulling, whose attention is always
so fully taken up."

"Oh, rot!" said the doctor. "I say, can't we get off a little
together? There are nice quiet nooks about the old building."

"Oh, doctor, how shocking!" But her eyes belied her voice, and the
doctor departed with the lively expectation of a very pleasant
convocation day at Trinity.

The convocation passed off with the usual uproar on the part of the
students and the usual long-suffering endurance on the part of the
dean and faculty and those who were fortunate, or unfortunate,
enough to be the orators of the day, the fervent enthusiasm of the
undergraduate body finding expression, now in college songs, whose
chief characteristic was the vigour with which they were rendered,
personal remarks in the way of encouragement, deprecation, pity,
or gentle reproof to all who had to take part in the public
proceedings, and at intervals in wildly uproarious applause and
cheers at the mention of the name of some favourite. At no point
was the fervour greater than when Barney was called to receive his
medal. To the little group of friends at the left of the desk,
consisting of his brother, Margaret, and Iola, it seemed as if the
cheering that greeted Barney's name was almost worthy of the
occasion. Dr. Trent presented him, and as he spoke of the
difficulties he had to contend with in the early part of his
course, of the perseverance and indomitable courage the young man
had shown, and the singular, indeed the very remarkable, ability he
had manifested in the special line of study for which this medal
was granted, the dead silence that pervaded the room was even more
eloquent than the tumult of cheers that followed Dr. Trent's
remarks and that continued until Barney had taken his place again
among the graduating class.

Then someone called out, "What's the matter with old Carbuncle?"
eliciting the usual vociferous reply, "He's all right!"

"By Jove," said Dick to Margaret, who sat next him, "isn't that
great? And the old boy deserves it every bit!" But Margaret made
no reply. She was sitting with her eyes cast down, pale except for
a spot of red in each cheek. At Dick's words she glanced at him
for a moment, and he noticed that the large blue eyes were full of

"It's all right, little girl," he whispered, giving her hand a
little pat. He dared say no more, for the sight of her face and
the look in her eyes set his own heart beating and gave him a choke
in his throat.

On the other side of Margaret sat Iola, her face radiant with pride
and joy, and as Barney reached his seat, turning half around and in
the face of the whole company, she flashed him a look and a smile
so full of pride and love that it seemed to him at that moment as
if all he had endured for the last three years were quite worth

After the formal proceedings were over, Dr. Bulling made his way to
the little group about Barney.

"Congratulations, Boyle," he said, in the somewhat patronizing
manner of a graduate of some years' standing to one who holds his
parchment in his hand and wears his still blushing honours as men
wear new clothes, "that was a remarkable fine reception you had

Barney's brief word of acknowledgment showed his resentment of
Bulling's tone and his dislike of the man. It angered Barney to
observe the familiar, almost confidential, manner of Dr. Bulling
with Iola, but it made him more furious to notice that, instead of
resenting, Iola seemed to be pleased with his manner. Just now,
however, she was giving herself to Barney. Her pride in him, her
joy in him, and her quiet appreciation of him, were evident to all,
so evident, indeed, that after a few words Dr. Bulling took himself

"Brute!" said Barney as the doctor retired.

"Why, I am sure he seems very nice," said Iola, raising her
eyebrows in surprise.

"Nice!" said Barney contemptuously. "If you knew how the men speak
of him about town you wouldn't call him nice. He has money, and
he's in the swim, but he's a beast, all the same."

"Oh, Barney, you mustn't say so!" cried Iola, "for you know he's
been a great friend to me. He has been very kind. I am quite
devoted to him." Something in the tone of her voice, and more in
the smile which she gave Barney, took the sting out of her words.

Before many minutes had passed the little group was broken up,
chiefly because of the fact that Iola was soon surrounded by a
circle of her own admiring friends, and among them the most
insistent was Dr. Bulling, who finally, with bluff, good-natured
but almost rude aggressiveness, carried her off to the tearoom. It
took all the joy out of the day for Barney, and on his behalf, for
Margaret and Dick, that for the rest of the afternoon Iola's
attention was entirely absorbed by Dr. Bulling and his little
coterie of friends.

And this feeling of disappointment in Iola and of resentment against
Dr. Bulling he carried with him to a little stag dinner by the
hospital staff at the Olympic that evening. The dinner was due
chiefly to the exertions of Dr. Trent, and was intended by him not
only to bring into closer touch with each other the members of the
hospital staff, but also to be a kind of introduction of Barney to
the inner circle of medical men in the city. For the past year
Barney had acted as his clerk, almost as his assistant, and, indeed,
Dr. Trent had made the formal proposition of an assistantship to
him. Out of compliment to Barney, Dick had been invited, and young
Drake also, who owed his parchment that day to Barney's merciless
grinding in surgery, and perhaps more to his steadying friendship.
Dr. Bulling, who, more for his great wealth and his large social
connection than for his professional standing, had been invited, was
present with Foxmore, Smead, and others who followed him about
applauding his coarse jokes and accepting his favours. The dinner
was purely informal in character, the menu well chosen, the wines
abundant, and the drinking hard enough with some, with the result
that as the dinner neared its end the men, and especially the group
about Bulling, became more and more hilarious. Barney, who was
drinking water and keeping his hand upon Drake's wineglass, found
his attention divided between his conversation with Trent and the
talk of Bulling, who, with his friends, sat across the table. As
this group became more boisterous, they absorbed to themselves the
attention of the whole company. Conscious of the prestige his
wealth and social position accorded him, and inflamed by the wine he
was drinking, Bulling became increasingly offensive. The talk
degenerated. The stories and songs became more and more coarse in
tone. It was Barney's first experience of a dinner of this kind,
and it filled him with disgust and horror. Even Trent, by no means
inexperienced in these matters, was disgusted with Bulling's tone.
Following Barney's glances and aware of his wandering attention, he
was about to propose a breakup of the party when he was arrested by
a look of rigid and eager attention upon the face of his friend.

"Disgusting brute!" said Trent, in a low voice.

But Barney heeded him not. His attention was concentrated upon
Bulling. He had his glass in his hand.

"Here's to the Lane!" he was saying, "the sweetest little Lane in
all the world!"

"She's divine!" replied Foxmore. "And what a voice! She'll make
Canada famous some day. Where did you discover her, Bulling?"

"In church," replied Bulling solemnly, to the uproarious delight of
his followers. "That's right," he continued, "heard her sing, set
things in motion, and now she's the leading voice in the cathedral.
Introduced her to a few people, and there she is, the finest thing
in her line in the city! Yes, and some day on the continent! A
dear, sweet little lane it is," he continued in a tone of
affectionate proprietorship that made Barney grind his teeth in
furious rage.

"That she is," said Smead enthusiastically, "and thoroughly
straight, too!"

"Oh," said Foxmore, "there's no lane but has a turning. And trust
Bulling," he added coarsely, "for finding it out."

"Well," said Bulling, with a knowing smile, "this little Lane is
straight. Of course there may be a slight deflection. Nature's
lines run in curves, you know." And again his wit provoked
applauding laughter. But before the laughter had quite faded out a
voice was heard, clear and cutting.

"Dr. Bulling, you are a base liar!" The words were plainly audible
to every man in the room. A dead silence fell upon the company.

"What?" said the doctor, sitting up straight, as if he had not
heard aright.

"I say you are a cowardly liar!"

"What the deuce do you mean?"

"You have just made an insinuation against the honour of a young
lady. I say again you are a mean and cowardly liar. I want you to
say so."

For a moment or two Bulling's surprise kept him silent.

"Quite right," said Trent. "Beastly cad!"

Then Dr. Bulling broke forth. "You impertinent young cub! What do
you mean?"

For answer, Barney seized Drake's wineglass, half full of wine, and
flung glass and contents full in Bulling's face. In an instant
every man was on his feet. Above the din rose Foxmore's voice.

"Give it to him Bulling! Give it to the young prig!"

"No hurry about this, boys," said Bulling quietly; "I'll make him
eat his words before he's half an hour older."

Meantime Dick was entreating his brother. "Let me at him. He's a
great knocker. Held the 'varsity championship. You don't know
anything about it. Let me at him, Barney. I can do him up." Dick
had been 'varsity champion in his own time. But Barney put Dick
aside with quiet, stern words.

"Don't interfere, Dick. No matter what happens, don't interfere
to-night. I won't have it, Dick, remember. It may take us an hour
or it may take all night, but he'll say he lied before I'm through
with him."

Meantime the men, and chief among them Trent, were seeking to
appease the doctor and to patch up the peace.

"If he apologizes I shall let the young cub off," were the doctor's

"If he says he lied," was Barney's condition.

"Don't disturb yourselves, gentlemen," said Bulling; "it will not
take more than two minutes, and then we can finish our smoke."

The moment they stood facing each other Barney rushed, only to
receive a heavy blow which hurled him backward. It was plain he
knew nothing of the game. It was equally plain that the doctor was
entirely master of it. Again and again Barney rushed in wildly,
the doctor easily blocking, avoiding and sending in killing blows,
till at length bloody, dazed, panting, Barney had to lean against
his friends to recover his wind and strength. Opposite him, cool,
smiling, and untouched, stood his adversary.

"This is easy, boys," he smiled. "Now, you young whipper-snapper,"
he continued, addressing Barney, "perhaps you've had enough. Let
me tell you, it's time for you to quit fooling, or, by the Eternal,
I'll send you to sleep!" As he spoke he closed his teeth with a
savage snap.

"Will you say you're a liar?" said Barney, facing his opponent
again, and disregarding Dick's entreaties and warnings.

"Ah, quit it!" said the doctor contemptuously, "Come along, you
fool, if you must have it!"

Once more Barney rushed. As he did so Bulling stopped him with a
heavy left-hander on the face which sent him reeling backward,
quickly following with his right and again with a last terrific
blow upon the jaw of his dazed and reeling victim. Barney fell
with a crash upon the floor, and lay quiet. With a cry Dick sprang
at Bulling, but half a dozen men pulled him off.

"Let him come," said Bulling, with a laugh, "I've a very fine
assortment of the same kind. Families supplied on reasonable

Meantime, while the men were struggling with Dick, Dr. Trent and
Drake were trying to revive poor Barney, bathing his face and

"Stand back! Don't crowd about, men! Bring me a little brandy,
someone," said Dr. Trent. "A more cowardly brute I've never seen.
You're a disgrace to the profession, Bulling."

"Oh, thanks. I don't need your credentials, Trent," said Bulling

But Trent, ignoring him, devoted himself to Barney, who showed
signs of reviving. It was some minutes, however, before he could
sit up. Meanwhile Bulling with his friends retired to the

"Here, Boyle," said Treat, holding a glass to his lips as Barney
sat up, "a little more brandy and water."

For a few moments after he drank the liquor Barney sat gazing
stupidly about. Then, as full consciousness returned, cried out,
"Where is he? He's not gone?" He seized the glass of brandy and
water from Dr. Treat's hands and drank it off. "Get me another,"
he said. "Is he gone?" he repeated, making an effort to rise.

"Never mind, Boyle, he's gone."

"Wait till another day, Barney," entreated Dick. "Never mind

At this moment the sound of Dr. Bulling's voice, followed by loud
laughter, came from the lavatory. At once Barney stood up, walked
to the table, poured out a glass of brandy and drank it raw. For a
minute he stood stretching his arms.

"Ah, that's better," he said, and started toward the lavatory, but
Dick clung to him.

"Barney, listen to me," he entreated, his voice coming in broken
sobs. "He'll kill you. Let me take your place."

"Dick, keep out of it," said Barney. "Don't worry. He'll hurt me
no more, but he'll say it before I'm done." And, throwing off the
restraining hands, he made his way into the lavatory. Dr. Bulling
was arranging his collar before a glass. As Barney entered he
turned around.

"I'm sorry, Boyle," he began, "but you brought it on yourself, you

Barney walked straight up to him.

"I didn't hear you say you are a liar."

"Look here," cried Bulling, "haven't you got enough. Be thankful
you're not killed. Go on! Get home! I don't run a butcher shop!"

"Will you say you're a liar and a cowardly liar?"

Barney's voice had in it the ring of cold steel.

"I say, boys," said Bulling, appealing to the crowd, "keep this
fool off. I don't want to kill him."

Foxmore, with some of the others, approached Barney.

"Now, Boyle, quit it," said Foxmore. "There's no use, you see."
He laid his hand on Barney's arm.

Barney put his hand against his breast, appearing to brush him
aside, but Foxmore touched nothing till he struck the wall ten feet

"Get back!" cried Barney, springing away from the men approaching
him. As he spoke, he seized a small oak dressing table by one of
its legs, swung it round his head, dashed it to pieces on the
marble floor, and, putting his foot upon the wreckage, with one
mighty wrench had the leg free in his hand.

"You men stand back," he said in a low voice, "and don't any of you

Amazed at this exhibition of furious strength, the men started back
to their places, leaving a wide space about him.

"Good heavens!" said Bulling, his face turning a shade pale, "the
man is mad! Call a policeman, some of you."

"Drake, lock that door and bring me the key," said Barney.

As Barney put the key in his pocket and turned again toward
Bulling, the latter's pallor increased. "I take you men to
witness," he said, appealing to the company, "if murder is done I'm
not responsible. I'm defending my life. Remember, I'll strike to

"No, Dr. Bulling," said Barney, handing his club to Drake, "you
won't strike at all. I've had my lesson. You'll strike me no
more. The boxing exhibition is over. This is a fight till you can
fight no more."

The doctor's nerve was fast going. Barney stood cool, quiet, and

"I'll give you your chance once again," he said. "Will you say you
are a cowardly liar?"

Dr. Bulling glanced at the group back of him, read pain in their
faces, hesitated a moment, then, pulling himself together, said,
with an evident effort at bluster, "Not by a ---- sight! Come on!
Take your medicine!" But the lesson of the last half hour had not
been lost on Barney. Up and down the long room, circling about his
man, feinting to draw his attack, eluding, and again feinting,
Barney kept his antagonist in such rapid motion and so intensely on
the alert that his wind began to fail him, and it soon became
evident that he could not stand the pace for very long.

"You've got him!" cried Dick, in an ecstasy of expectation. "Keep
it up, Barney! That's the game! You'll have him in five minutes

"Quite evident," echoed Dr. Trent quietly, hugely enjoying the
change in the situation.

Dr. Bulling heard the words. His pallor deepened. Red blotches
began to appear on his cheek. The sweat stood out upon his
forehead. His breath came in short gasps. He knew he could not
last much longer. His only hope lay in immediate attack. He must
finish off his man within the next minute or accept defeat. Nature
was now taking revenge upon him for his long outraging of her laws.
Barney, on the other hand, though bruised and battered about the
face, was stepping about easily and lightly, without any sign of
the terrible punishment he had suffered. Reading his opponent's
face he knew that the moment for a supreme effort had arrived, and
waited for his plan to develop. There was only one thing for
Bulling to do. Edging his opponent toward the corner and summoning
his fast failing strength for a final attack, he forced him hard
back into the angle of the wall. He had him now. One clean blow
and all would be over.

"Look out, Barney!" yelled Dick.

Suddenly, as if shot from a steel spring, Barney crouched low and
leaped at his man, and disregarding two heavy blows, thrust one
long arm forward and with his sinewy fingers gripped his enemy's
throat. "Ha!" he cried with savage exultation, holding off his foe
at arm's length. "Now! Now! Now!" As he uttered each word
between his clenched teeth he shook the gasping, choking wretch as
a dog shakes a rat. In vain his victim struggled to get free, now
striking wild and futile blows, now clutching and clawing at those
terrible gripping fingers. His face grew purple; his tongue
protruded; his breath came in rasping gasps; his hands fell to his
side. "Keep your hands so," hissed Barney, loosening his grip to
give him air. "Ha! would you? Don't you move!" gripping him hard
again. "There!" loosening once more, "now, are you a liar? Speak
quick!" The blue lips made an attempt at the affirmation of which
the head made the sign. "Say it again. Are you a liar?" Once
more the head nodded and the lips attempted to speak. "Yes," said
Barney, still through his clenched teeth, "you are a cowardly
liar!" The words came forth with terrible deliberation. "I could
kill you with my hands as you stand. But I won't, you cur! I'll
just do this." As he spoke he once more tightened his grip upon
the throat and swung his open hand on the livid cheek.

"For God's sake, Boyle," cried Foxmore, "let up! That's enough!"

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest