Part 4 out of 6
puzzled expression. "I visited the valley a year ago and found a
truly deplorable condition of things. Men had gone up there many
years ago and settled down remote from civilization. Some of them
married Indian wives and others of them ought to have married them,
and they have brought up families in the atmosphere and beliefs of
the pagans. Would you believe it, I fell in with a young man on
the trail, twenty years of age, who had never heard the name of our
Saviour except in oaths? He had never heard the story of the
Cross. And there are many others like him. At the Columbia Forks
the only institution that stands for things intellectual is a
Freethinkers' Club, the president of which is a retired colonel of
the British Army, a man of fine manners, of some degree of
intelligence and reading, but, I have reason to believe, of bad
life. His is the dominant influence in the community if we except
my friend, Mr. Henry Fink, or, as he is known locally, 'Hank Fink.'
Hank is a character, I assure you. A Yankee from the Eastern
States, the son of a Scotch mother. Has a cattle ranch, runs a
store which supplies the scattered ranchers, prospectors, and
miners with the necessaries of life, and keeps a stopping place.
Is postmaster, too. In fact, Hank is pretty much the whole
village. He has lived in that country some fifteen years. Has a
good Canadian wife, and a flock of small children. He is a rara
avis in that country from the fact that he hates whiskey. He hates
it almost as much as he does Colonel Hicks and his Freethinking
Club. When I visited the village, for some reason or other Hank
took me up, the Scotch blood in him possibly recognising kinship.
He gave me his store to preach in, took me all about the country,
and in a week had a mission organized on a sound financial basis.
His methods were very simple, very direct, and very effective. He
estimated the amount each man should pay and announced this fact to
the man, who generally acquiesced. I didn't probe too deeply into
Hank's motives, but it seemed to give him considerable satisfaction
to learn that Colonel Hicks was filled with indignant and scornful
rage at the proposal to establish a Christian mission in that
remote valley. It grieved the Colonel to think that after so many
years of immunity they should at last be called upon to tolerate
this particularly offensive appendage to an effete civilization. I
noticed that Hank's English always broke down in referring to the
Colonel. Well, we sent in Finlayson a year ago this spring, you
remember. Strong man, good preacher, conscientious fellow.
Thought he would do great work. You know Finlayson? Well, this is
the result." Here he picked up Hank's letter. "This would hardly
do for the Home Mission report," continued the Superintendent, with
a twinkle in his keen grey eyes:
"COLUMBIA FORKS, WINDERMERE, B. C.
"DEAR SIR:--I take my pen to write you a few lines to let you know
how things is goin'. Well, sir, I want to tell you this station is
goin' to the devil. [Judging from what I saw of the place, it
hadn't far to go.] Your preacher ain't worth a cuss. I don't say
he ain't good fer some people, but he ain't our style. [Mr.
Finlayson would doubtless agree with that.] He means well, but he
ain't eddicated up to the West. You remember how we got the boys
all corralled up nice an' tame when you was here. Well, he's got
'em wild. Couldn't reach 'em with a shotgun. He throwed hell fire
at 'em till they got scart an' took to the hills till you can't get
near 'em no more'n mountain goats. So they have all quit comin'--I
don't count Scotty Fraser, for he would come, anyway--except me an'
Monkey Fiddler an' his yeller dog. You can always count on the
dog. Now, sir, this is your show, not mine. But I was born an'
raised a Presbyteryn down East, an' though I haven't worked hard at
the business for some years, it riles me some to hear Col. Hicks
an' a lot of durned fools that has got smarter than God Almighty
Himself shootin' off against the Bible an' religion an' all that.
[We needn't read too closely between the lines at this point.]
Send a man that don't smell so strong of sulphur an' brimstone, who
has got some savey, an' who will know how to handle the boys
gentle. They ain't to say bad, but just a leetle wild. Send him
along, an' we will stay with him an' knock the tar out of that
bunch of fools.
"Yours most respeckfully,
"P. S. When are you comin' into the valley again? If you could
arrange to spend a month or two I'll guarantee we will have 'em all
in nice shape.
"I don't think you can count much from the support of a man like
that," said the assembly's Convener; "I don't think he shows any
real interest in the work."
"My dear sir," said the Superintendent, "don't you know he is the
Chairman of our Board of Management, a most regular attendant upon
ordinances and contributes most liberally to our support? And
while these things in the East wouldn't necessarily indicate a
change of heart, they stand for a good deal west of the Great
Divide. And, at any rate, in these matters we remember gratefully
the word that is written, 'He that is not against us is on our
"Well, well," said the Assembly's Convener, "it may be so. It may
be so. But what's to be done with Finlayson? And where will you
get a successor for him?"
"We can easily place Finlayson. He is a good man and will do
excellent work in other fields. But where to get a man for
Windermere is the question. Do you know anyone?"
The Assembly's Convener shook his head sadly.
"There appears to be no one in sight," said the Superintendent. "I
have a number of applications here," picking up a good-sized bundle
of neatly folded papers, "but they are hardly the kind to suit
conditions at Windermere. Numbers of them feel themselves
specially called of God to do mission work in large centres of
population. Others are chiefly anxious about the question of
support. One man would like to be in touch with a daily train
service, as he feels it necessary to keep in touch with the world
by means of the daily newspaper. A number are engaged who want to
be married. Here's Mr. Brown, too fat. No move in him. Here's
McKay--good man, earnest, but not adaptable, like Finlayson; won't
do. Here's Garton--fine fellow, would do well, but hardly strong
enough. So what are you to do? I have gone over the whole list of
available men and I cannot find one suitable for Windermere."
In this the Assembly's Convener could give him no help. Indeed,
from few did the Superintendent receive assistance in the securing
of men for his far outposts.
Assistance came to him from an unexpected quarter. He was to meet
the Assembly's Convener and some members of the Committee that
evening at Professor Macdougall's for tea. The Superintendent's
mind could not be kept long away from the work that was his very
life, and at the table the conversation turned to the question of
the chronic difficulty of securing men for frontier work, which had
become acute in the case of Windermere. Margaret, who had been
invited to assist Mrs. Macdougall in the dispensing of her
hospitality, was at once on the alert. Why could not Dick be sent?
If only that Presbytery difficulty could be got over he might go.
That he would be suited for the work she was well assured, and
equally certain was she that it would be good for him.
"It would save him," Margaret said to herself with a sharp sting at
her heart, for she had to confess sadly that Dick had come to the
point where he needed saving. She had learned from Iola the whole
miserable story of Barney's visit, of his terrible indictment of
his brother and the final break between them, but she had seen
little of him during the past six months. From that terrible night
Dick had gone down in physical and in moral health. Again and
again he had written Barney, but there had been no reply. Hungrily
he had come to Margaret for word of his brother, hopeful of
reconciliation. But of late he had given up hope and had ceased to
make inquiry, settling down into a state of gloomy, remorseful
grief into which Margaret felt she dare not intrude. He occasionally
met Iola at society functions, but there was an end of all intimacy
between them. His only relief seemed to be in his work, and he gave
himself to that with such feverish energy that his health broke
down, and under Margaret's persuasion he was now at home with his
mother. Thence he had written once to say that his days were one
long agony. She remembered one terrible sentence. "Everything
here, the house, the mill, my father's fiddle, my mother's churn,
the woods, the fields, everything, everything shrieks 'Barney' at me
till I am like to go mad. I must get away from here to some place
where he has never been with me."
It required some considerable skill to secure the Superintendent
that evening for a few minutes alone. In whatever company he was,
he was easily the centre of interest. But Margaret, even in the
early days of the Manse, had been a favourite with him, and he was
not a man to forget his friends. He had the rare gift of gripping
them to him with "hooks of steel." Hence, he had kept in touch
with her during the latter years, pitying the girl's loneliness as
much as his admiration for her cheery courage and her determined
independence would allow him. When Margaret found her opportunity
she wasted no time.
"I have a man for you for Windermere," were her opening words.
"You have? Where have you got him? Who is he? And are you
willing to spare him? Few young ladies are. But you are different
from most." The Superintendent was ever a gallant.
"You remember Mr. Boyle who graduated a year ago?" Her words came
hurriedly and there was a slight flush on her cheek. "There was
some trouble about his license at Presbytery. That horrid old Mr.
Naismith was very nasty, and Dick, Mr. Boyle, I mean--we have
always been friends," she hastened to add, explaining her deepening
blush, "you know his mother lived at the Mill near us. Well, since
that day in Presbytery he has never been the same. His work--he is
on the Daily Telegraph, you know--takes him away from--from--well,
from Church and that kind of thing, and from all his friends."
"I understand," said the Superintendent, with grave sympathy.
"And he's got to be very different. He had some trouble, great
trouble, the greatest possible to him. Oh, I may as well tell you.
The brothers--you remember the doctor, Barney?"
"Very well," replied the Superintendent. "Strong man. Where is he
"He went to Europe. Well, the brothers were everything to each
other since little fellows together. Oh, it was beautiful! I
never saw anything like it anywhere. They had a misunderstanding,
a terrible misunderstanding. Dick was in the wrong." The
Superintendent shot a keen glance at her. "No," she said,
answering his glance, the colour in her face deepening into a vivid
scarlet, "it was not about me, not at all. I can't tell you about
it, but that, and his trouble with the Presbytery, and all the rest
of it are just killing him. And I know if he got back to his own
work again and away from home it would save him, and his mother,
too, for she is breaking her heart. Couldn't you get him out
The Superintendent saw how hard a task it had been for her to tell
the story, and the sight of her eager face, the big blue eyes
bright, and the lips quivering with the intensity of her feeling,
deeply touched him.
"It might be possible," he said.
"Oh, I know the Presbytery difficulty," cried Margaret, with a
desperate note in her voice.
"That could be arranged, I have no doubt," said the Superintendent,
brushing aside that difficulty with a wave of the hand. "The
question is, would he be willing to go?"
"Oh, he would go, I am sure. If you saw him and if you told him
those stories about the need there is, I am sure he would go.
Could you see him? There is no use to write. I do wish you could.
He is such a fine boy and his mother is so set upon his being a
minister." The blue eyes were bright with tears she was too brave
to let fall.
"My dear young lady," said the Superintendent, his deep voice
growing deeper under the intensity of his feelings, "I would do
much for your sake and for your mother's. I am to visit your home
early next month. I shall make it a point to see Mr. Boyle, and I
promise you I shall get him if it is possible."
The sudden lifting of the burden from her heart deprived the girl
of speech, but she shyly put out her hand and touched the long,
sinewy fingers that lay within reach of hers in a timid caress.
Instantly the fingers closed upon her hand in a grasp so strong
that it seemed to drive the conviction into her heart that somehow
this strong man would find a way by which Dick could be saved.
How, or by what arguments, the Superintendent overcame Dick's
objections, Margaret never learned. But the full bitter tale of
reasons against his ever taking up his work again, with which Dick
had made himself so familiar during the past dark, dreary months,
were one by one removed, and when the Superintendent left the Old
Stone Mill he had secured his missionary for Windermere. It gave
the Superintendent acute satisfaction to remember the flash of his
missionary's blue eyes as, in answer to the warning, "You will have
a hard fight of it, remember," the reply came, "A hard fight?
Before the year was over it fell that the Windermere valley came to
be one of the mission fields that gladdened the hearts of the Home
Mission Committee of the Calgary Presbytery, and especially of its
doughty Convener. In the Convener's study, eight by ten, the
report from the Windermere field was discussed with the ubiquitous
and indefatigable Superintendent.
"An extremely gratifying record," said the Superintendent,
"especially when one considers its disorganized condition a year
"Yes, it's a good report," assented the Convener. "We had
practically no support a year ago. Our strongest man--"
"Yes. You know Hank, I see. Well, Hank's enthusiasm and devotion
were hardly of what you would call the purest type. But whatever
his motive, he stood by the missionary, and, do you know, it is a
splendid testimony of the power of the Gospel to see the change in
that same shrewd old sinner. Yes, sir, give the Gospel a chance
and it will do its work." The Convener, who hated all cant and
canting phrases with a perfect hatred, rarely allowed himself the
luxury of an emotional outbreak. But the case of Hank Fink seemed
to reach the springs of feeling that he kept hidden in the deep
heart of him.
"So Boyle has done well?" said the Superintendent. "I am very glad
of it. Very glad of it, for his own sake, for his mother's, and
for the sake of another."
"Yes," replied the Convener, "Boyle has done a fine bit of work.
He lived all summer on his horse's back and in his canoe, followed
the prospectors up into the gulches and the miners to their mines,
if you can call them mines, left a magazine here, a book there, a
New Testament next place. And once he got his grip on a man, he
never let him go. Hank told me how he found a man sick in a camp
away up in a gulch and how he stayed with him for more than a week,
then brought him down on his horse's back to the Forks. Yes, it's
a good record. A church built at the north end of the field,
another almost completed at the Forks. Really, it was very fine,"
continued the Convener, allowing his enthusiasm to rise. "It
renews one's faith in the reality of religion to see a man jump
into his work like that. They didn't pay him his salary the first
half year, but he omitted to mention that in his report."
The Superintendent sat up straight. "Is he behind yet?"
"No. I mentioned the matter to Fink and explained that if the
field failed it was Boyle that would suffer. His language--well,"
the Convener laughed reminiscently, "you have seen Hank?"
"Yes. I've seen him, I've heard him, and I've read him. But let
us hope that his deeds will atone in a measure for his broken
English. But," continued the Superintendent, "you have had Boyle
ordained, have you not?"
"Yes. We got him ordained," replied the Convener, beginning to
chuckle. A delighted, choking chuckle it was. Any missionary who
had worked in his Presbytery would recognize the Convener in the
dark by that chuckle. It began, if one were quick to observe, with
a wrinkling about the corners of the sharp blue eyes, then became
audible in a succession of small explosions that seemed to have
their origin in the region of the esophagus and to threaten the
larynx with disruption, until relief was found in a wide-throated
peal that subsided in a second series of small explosions and
gradually rumbled off into silence somewhere in the region of the
diaphragm, leaving only the wrinkles about the corners of the blue
eyes as a kind of warning that the whole process might be repeated
upon sufficient provocation. "Yes, we got him ordained," he
repeated when the chuckle had passed. "I was glad of your
explanatory note about him. It guided us in our arrangements for
"What happened?" inquired the Superintendent, leaning forward. He
dearly loved a yarn, and he sorely hated to lose any of the more
humorous incidents of missionary life, not only for the joy they
brought him, but also because they furnished him with ammunition
for his Eastern campaigns.
"Well, it was funny," said the Convener, his lips twitching and his
eyes wrinkling, "though at one time it looked like an Assembly case
with all seven of us up before the bar. You know McPherson, our
latest importation in the way of ordained men? Somehow he had got
wind of Boyle's trouble with the Presbytery in the East. McPherson
is a fine fellow and doing good work."
"Yes," assented the Superintendent, "he's a fine fellow, but his
conscience gives him a hard time now and then and works over time
for other People."
"Well," continued the Convener, McPherson came to me about the
matter in very considerable anxiety. I put him off, consulted with
McTavish and Murray, and we decided that Boyle was too good a man
to lose, and as to his heresy, it was not hurting Windermere as far
as we could learn. So it happened"--here the Convener pulled
himself up short to suppress the chuckle that threatened--"it
happened that just as the examination was beginning McPherson was
called out, and before he had returned the trials for license and
ordination had been sustained. I think on the whole McPherson was
relieved, but there were some funny moments after he came back into
"Heresy-hunting doesn't flourish in the West," said the
Superintendent. "There's no time for it. Some of the Eastern
Presbyteries have too many men with more time on their hands than
sense in their heads."
"Certainly there was no time lost in this case," replied the
Convener. "We knew Boyle's scholarship was right. We knew his
heart was sound. We knew he was doing good work for us and we knew
we wanted him. We were not anxious to know anything else."
"What we want for the West," said the Superintendent, his voice
vibrating in a deeper tone, "is men who have the spirit of the
Gospel with the power to preach it and the love of their fellowmen,
with tact to bring it to bear upon them. A little heresy, more or
less, won't hurt them. Orthodoxy is my doxy, heterodoxy the other
"In Boyle's case, I believe he was helped by his touch of heresy.
It gave him a kind of brotherly feeling with all heretics. It was
that more than anything else that broke up the Freethinkers' Club."
"Ah," said the Superintendent, bending eagerly forward, again on
the scent, "I didn't hear that."
"Yes," said the Convener, "Fink told me about it. Boyle went to
their meetings. He found them revelling in cheap scepticism of the
Ingersollian type. He took the attitude of a man seeking after a
working theory of life, and that attitude he stuck to--his real
attitude, mind you. He encouraged them to talk, combated none of
their positions and, as Hank said, 'coaxed them out into deep water
and had them froggin' for their lives. He was the biggest
Freethinker in the bunch.' They invited him to give a series of
lectures. He did so, and that settled the Freethinkers' Club. He
never blamed them for doubting anything, and I believe that's
right." The Convener was a bit of a heretic himself and,
consequently, carried a tender heart toward them. "Let a man doubt
till he finds his faith. And that was Boyle's line. He let them
doubt, but he insisted that they should have something positive to
"Our friend Hank," said the Superintendent, "would be delighted."
"Delighted? I should say so. But Hank 'joins trembling with his
mirth,' for Boyle got after him with the same demands."
The Superintendent was filled with delighted pride in his
missionary. "That's the kind of man we want. He ought to do well
in your railroad field."
"Yes," replied the Convener hesitatingly. "You think he ought to
go? Windermere will be furious. I wouldn't care to go in there
after Boyle is removed."
"It is hard on Windermere, but Windermere mustn't be selfish. That
railroad work is most pressing, and only a man like Boyle will do.
There will be from three to five thousand men in there this winter
between Macleod and Kuskinook. We dare not neglect them. I have
had correspondence with Fahey, the General Manager for the Crow's
Nest line, and he is not unfriendly, though he would prefer us to
send in medical missionaries. But that work he and his contractors
ought to look after."
"There is a terrible state of things in the eastern division, I
fear, from all reports," replied the Convener. "By the way, there
is a young English doctor working on that eastern division from the
MaCleod end who is making a great stir. Bailey is his name, I
believe. He began as a navvy, but finding a lot of fellows sick,
and the doctor a poor drunken fellow, Bailey, it appears, stood it
as long as he could, then finally threw him out of the camp and
installed himself in his place. The contractor backed him up and
he has revolutionized the medical work in that direction. Murray
told me the most wonderful tales about him. He must be a
remarkable man. Gambles heavily, but hates whiskey and won't have
it near the camp. You ought to look him up when you go in."
"I will. These camp doctors are a poor lot and the railroad people
ought to feel disgraced in employing them. They draw their fifty
cents per man a month, but their practice is shameful. It is a
delicate matter, but I shall take this up with Fahey when I see
him. He is a rough diamond, but he is fair and he won't stand any
"And you think Boyle ought to go in?"
"Yes. On the whole, I think Boyle must go. These are a fine body
of men and must be looked after. A weaker man would make a mess of
things. Boyle is the man for the work. How did he seem?
"No, I shouldn't call him so. But he is vastly better than when he
came to us. He was low in health, I think, and his face haunted me
for weeks. He strikes me as a man with a tragedy in his life."
The Superintendent said nothing. He had, in large degree, the rare
gift of silence. Even with his trusted lieutenants he would break
no confidence. But before he slept that night he wrote two
letters, and after he had sealed and stamped them he placed them,
with a pile already written, on the table and sat back in his chair
indulging himself in a few moments of reverie. He saw the orderly,
well-kept kitchen in the Old Stone Mill and, bending over his
letter a woman, dark-faced and stern, her wavy, black hair heavily
streaked with white, for during the past years the sword had
pierced her heart. He saw the light break upon her tragic Highland
face as she read of her boy and his well doing. With glad heart
she had given him up, and now, with humble joy, she would read that
her offering had been accepted.
The other letter brought to him the Macdougalls' drawing-room with
all its beautiful appointments and the face of a young girl
pleading for her friend. He still could see the quivering lips and
hear the words of her invincible faith, "I know that if he got at
his own work again it would save him." He could still feel the
grateful, timid pressure of her fingers as he had pledged her his
word that her desire should be fulfilled. He had kept his word and
her faith had not been put to shame.
THE CHALLENGE OF DEATH
"Be aisy now, ye little divils. Sure ye'd think it wuz the ould
Nick himself ye're dodgin'."
Thus Tommy Tate, teamster along the Tote road between the Maclennan
camps, admonished his half-broken bronchos.
"Stiddy now. The saints be good t'us! Will we iver git down this
hill alive? Hould back, will yez? There, now. The saints be
praised! that's over. How are ye now, Scotty? If ye're alive,
kick me fut. Hivin be praised! He's there yit," said Tommy to
himself. "We're on the dump now, Scotty, an' we won't be long, me
bhoy, till we see the lights av Swipey's saloon. Git along there,
The bronchos after their fifteen-mile drive along the unspeakable
bush roads, finding the smooth surface of the railway grade beneath
their feet, set off at a good lope. It was now quite dark. The
snow was driving bitterly in Tommy's face, but that stout little
Irishman cared nothing for himself. His concern was for the man
lying under the buffalo robes in the sleigh. Mile after mile the
bronchos kept up their tireless lope, encouraged by the cheery
admonitions and the cracking whip of their driver.
"Begob, but it's cowld enough to freeze the tail aff a brass
monkey. I'll jist be afther givin' the lad a taste."
He tied the reins to the seat, gave his bronchos a parting lash,
took a flask from his pocket, and got down on his knees beside the
"Here, Scotty," he said coaxingly, "take another taste. It'll put
life into ye." The sick man tried to swallow once, twice, choked
hard, then shook his head. "Now, God be merciful! an' can't ye
swally at all? An' the good stuff it is, too! Thry once more,
Scotty darlin'. Ye'll need it an' we're not far aff now." Once
more the sick man made a desperate effort. He got a little of the
whiskey down, then turned away his head. The tender-hearted little
Irishman covered him over carefully and climbed into his seat. "He
couldn't swally it," he said to himself in an awed voice, putting
the flask to his own lips, "Begorra, an' it's near the Kingdom he
must be!" To Tommy it appeared an infallible sign of approaching
dissolution that a man should reject the contents of his flask. He
gave himself to the business of getting out of the bronchos all the
speed they had. "Come on, now, me bhoys!" he shouted through the
gale, "what are ye lookin' at? Sure, there's nothin' purtier than
yerselves can be seen in the dark. Hut, there! Kick, wud ye?
Take that, thin, an' larn manners! Now ye're beginin' to move!
So with voice and lash Tommy continued to urge his team till they
came out into a clearing at the far end of which twinkled the
lights of the new railroad town being built about Maclennan's camp
"Hivin be praised! we're there at last. Begob, it's mesilf that
thought ye'd moved to the ind of nowhere. We're here, Scotty, me
man. In ten howly minutes we'll have ye by the fire an' the
docthor puttin' life into ye wid a spoon. Are ye there, Scotty?"
But there was no movement in response. "Howly Mary! Give us a
little more speed!" He stood up over his team, lashing and yelling
till the tired beasts were going at full gallop. As he drew near
the camp the sound of singing came on the driving wind. "Now the
divil fly away wid the whiskey! It's pay day an' the camp's loose.
God send, there's a quiet spot to be found near at hand!"
Through the driving snow could be seen the dim, black outlines of
the various structures of the pioneer town. First came the camp
building, the bunkhouse, grub-house, office, blacksmith shop, and
beyond these the glaring lights of a couple of saloons, while back
nearer timber the "red lights," the curse and shame of railroad,
lumber, and mining camps in British Columbia then and unto this
day, cast their baleful lure through the snowy night.
At full gallop Tommy drove his bronchos up to the door of the first
saloon and before they were well stopped burst open the door,
crying out, "Give us a hand here, min, for the love o' God!"
Swipey, the saloon-keeper, came himself to the door.
"What have you there, Tommy?" he asked.
"It's mesilf don't know. It wuz alive when we started out. Are ye
there, Scotty?" There was no answer. "The saints be good to us!
Are ye alive at all?" He lifted back the buffalo robe from the
sick man's face and he found him breathing heavily, but unable to
speak. "Where's yer doctor?"
"Haven't seen him raound," said Swipey. "Have you, Shorty?"
"Yes," replied the man called Shorty. "He's in there with the
Tommy swore a great oath. "Like our own docthor, he is, the blank,
dirty suckers they are! Sure, they'd pull a bung hole out be the
"He's not that way," replied Swipey, "our doctor."
"Not much he ain't!" cried Shorty. "But he's into the biggest game
with 'Mexico' an' the boys ye ever seen in this camp."
"Fer the love av Hivin git him!" cried Tommy. "The man is dyin'.
Here, min, let's git him in."
"There's no place here for a sick man," said the saloon-keeper.
"What? He's dyin', I'm tellin' ye!"
"Well, this ain't no place to die in. We ain't got time." An
angry murmur ran through the men about the door. "Take him up to
the bunk-house," said the saloon-keeper to Tommy with a stream of
oaths. "What d'ye want to come monkeyin' raound my house for with
a sick man? How do you know what he's got?"
"What differ does it make what he's got?" retorted Tommy. "Blank
yer dirty face fer a bloody son of a sheep thief! It's plinty of
me money ye've had, but it's no more ye'll git! Where'll I take
the man to?" he cried, appealing to the crowd. "Ye can't let him
die on the street!"
Meantime Shorty had found the doctor in a small room back of the
bar of the "Frank" saloon, seated at a table surrounded by six or
eight men with a deck of cards in his hand, deep in a game of
"Black Jack" for which he held the pot. Opposite him sat "Mexico,"
the type of a Western professional gambler and desperado, his
swarthy face adorned with a pair of sweeping mustaches, its
expressionless appearance relieved by a pair of glittering black
eyes. For nine hours the doctor had not moved from his chair,
playing any who might care to chip in to the game. For the last
hour he had been winning heavily, till, at his right hand, he had a
heap of new crisp bills lately from the Bank of Montreal, having
made but a slight pause in the grimy hands of the railroad men on
their way to his. At his left hand stood a glass of water with
which, from time to time, he moistened his lips. His face was like
a mask of death, colourless and empty of feeling, except that in
the black eyes, deep-set and blood-shot, there gleamed a light as
of madness. The room was full of men watching the game and waiting
an opportunity to get into it.
"The doctor's wanted!" shouted Shorty, bursting into the room. Not
a head turned, and but for a slight flicker of impatience the
doctor remained unmoved.
"There's a man dyin' out here from No. 2," continued Shorty.
"Let him go to hell, then, an' you go, too!" growled out "Mexico,"
who had for the greater part of the evening been playing in bad
luck, but who had refused to quit, waiting for the turn.
"He's out here in the snow," continued Shorty, "an' he's chokin' to
death, an' we don't know what to do with him."
The doctor looked up from his hand. "Put him in somewhere. I'll be
"They won't let him in anywhere. They're all afraid, an' he's
chokin' to death."
The doctor turned down his cards. "What do you say? Choking to
death?" He passed his hand over his eyes. His professional
instinct began to assert itself.
"Yes," continued Shorty. "There's somethin' wrong with him; he
can't swallow. An' we can't git him in."
The doctor pushed back his chair. "Here, men," he said, "I'm going
A chorus of oaths and imprecations greeted his proposal.
"You can't quit now!" growled "Mexico" fiercely, like a dog that is
about to lose a bone. "You've got to give us a chance."
"Well, here's your chance then," cried the doctor. "Let's stop this
tiddle-de-winks game. You can't have up more than a hundred
apiece. I'll put my pile against your bets, there's three thousand
if there's a dollar, and quit. Come on."
The greatness of the opportunity staggered them.
Then they flung themselves upon it. "It's a go!" "Come on!"
"Give us your cards!" Quickly the cards were dealt. One by one
the men made up their hands. The crowd about crushed in upon them
in breathless excitement. Never had there been seen in that camp
so reckless a stake.
"Now, then, show down," growled "Mexico."
The doctor laid down his cards face up. One by one they compared
their hands. He had won. With an oath "Mexico" made a grab for
the pile, reaching for his hip at the same time with the other
hand, but the doctor was first, and before anyone could move or
speak "Mexico" was lying in the corner, his toes quivering above
his upturned chair.
"Look after the brute, someone. He doesn't understand the game,"
said the doctor with cool contempt, crumpling up the bills and
pushing them down into his pocket. "Where's your sick man?"
"This way, doctor," said Shorty, hurrying out toward the sleigh.
The doctor passed him on a run.
"What does this mean?" he cried. "Why haven't you got him inside
"That's what I say, docthor," answered Tommy, "but the bloody
haythen wudn't let him in."
"How's this, Swipey?" said the doctor sternly, turning to the
saloon-keeper, who still stood in the door.
"He's not comin' in here. How do I know what he's got?"
"I'll take that responsibility," replied the doctor. "In he goes.
Here, take him up on the robe, men. Steady, now."
Swipey hesitated a moment, but before he could make up his mind
what to do, the doctor was leading his men with their burden past
the bar door.
"Show us a room at the back, Swipey, upstairs. It must be warm.
Be quick about it."
Swearing deep oaths, Swipey led the way. "It must be warm, eh?
Want a bath in it next, I suppose."
"This will do," said the doctor when they reached the room. "Now,
clear out, men. I want one of you. You'll do, Shorty." Without
hurry, but with incredible speed and dexterity, he had the man
undressed and in bed between heated blankets. "Now, hold the
light. We'll take a look at his throat. Heavens above! Stay
here, Shorty, till I come back."
He ran downstairs, and, bareheaded as he was, plunged through the
storm to his office, returning in a few minutes with his medical
bag and two hot-water bottles.
"We're too late, Shorty, I fear, but we'll do our best. Get these
full of hot water for me."
"What is it, Doctor?" cried Shorty anxiously.
"Go quick!" The doctor's voice was so sharp and stern that before
Shorty knew, he was half way downstairs with the hot-water bottles.
With swift, deft movements the doctor went about his work.
"Ah, that's right. Now, Shorty, hold the light again. Now the
antitoxin. It's hours, days, too late, perhaps, hardly any use
with this mixed infection, but we'll try it. There. Now we'll
touch up his heart. Poor chap, he can't swallow. We'll give it to
him this way." Again he filled his syringe from another bottle and
gave the sick man a second injection. "There. That ought to help
him a bit. Now, what fool sent a man in this condition twenty
miles through a storm like this? Shorty, don't let that teamster
go away without seeing me. Have him in here within an hour."
Shorty turned to go. "Wait. Do you know this man's name?"
"I heard Tommy call him Scotty Anderson. He's from the old
country, I think."
"All right. Now, go and get the teamster."
The doctor turned to his struggle with death. "There is no chance,
no chance. The fools! The villains! It's sheer murder!" he
muttered, as he strove moment by moment to bring relief to the sick
man fighting to get his breath.
After working with him for half an hour the doctor had the
satisfaction of seeing him begin to breathe more easily. But by
that time he had given up all hope of saving the man's life. And
it seemed to increase his rage to see his patient slipping away
from him. For do what he could, the heart was failing rapidly and
the doctor saw that it was simply a matter of minutes. Before the
hour had elapsed the dying man opened his eyes and looked about.
The doctor turned up the light and leaned over him, trying to make
out the words which poor Scotty was making such painful efforts to
utter. But no words could he hear. Finally the dying man pointed
to the chair on which his clothes lay.
"You want something out of your pocket?" inquired the doctor. The
eyes gave assent. One by one the doctor held up the articles he
found in the pockets of the clothing till he came to a letter, then
the eyes that had followed every movement expressed satisfaction.
"Do you want me to read it?"
It was from the mother to her son Andy in far Canada, breathing
gratitude for gifts of money from time to time, pride in his well
doing, love without measure, and prayers unceasing. It took all
the doctor's fortitude to keep his voice clear and steady. The
eloquent eyes never moved from his face till the reading was
finished. Then the doctor put the letter into his big, hairy hand
so muscular and so feeble. The fingers closed upon it and with
difficulty carried it to the man's bosom. For a moment the eyes
remained closed as if in peace, but only for a moment. Once more
they rested entreatingly upon the doctor's face.
"Something else in your pocket?"
The doctor continued drawing forth the articles one by one till he
came to a large worn pocketbook.
With an effort the head nodded an affirmation. From the innermost
pocket he drew a little photograph of a young girl. A light came
into the eyes of the dying man. He took the photograph which the
doctor placed in his hand and carried it painfully to his lips.
Once more the eyes began to question.
"You want something else from your pocketbook? If so, close your
eyes." The eyes remained wide open. "No? You want me to do
something for you? To write?" At once the eyes closed. "I shall
write to your mother and send all your things and tell them about
you." A smile spread over the face and the eyes closed as if
content. In a few minutes, however, they opened wide again. In
vain the doctor tried to catch the meaning. The lips began to
move. Putting his ear close, the doctor caught the word "Thank."
"Thank who? The teamster?"
The man moved his hand and touched the doctor's with his fingers.
"Thank me? My dear fellow, I only wish I could help you," said the
doctor. "Anything else?"
The eyes looked upward toward the ceiling, then rested beseechingly
upon the doctor's face again. Vainly the doctor sought to gather
his meaning, till, with a mighty effort, poor Scotty tried to
speak. Once more, putting his ear close to the lips, the doctor
caught the words, "Mother--home," and again the eyes turned upward
toward the ceiling.
"You wish me to tell your mother that you are going home?" And
once more a glad smile lit up the distorted face.
For some minutes there was silence in the room. Up from the bar,
through the thin partition, came the sounds of oaths and laughter
and drunken song. The doctor cursed them all below his breath and
turned toward the door. A spasm of coughing brought him back to
his patient's side. After the spasm had passed the sick man lay
still, his eyes closed, and his breath becoming shorter every
moment. Once again the eyes made their appeal, and the doctor
hastened to seek their meaning. Listening intently, he heard the
word, "Pray." The doctor's pale face flushed quickly and as
quickly paled again. He shook his head, saying, "I'm no good at
that." Once more the poor lips made an effort to speak, and again
the doctor caught the words, "Jesus, tender--." It had been the
doctor's child prayer, too. But for years no prayer had passed his
lips. He could not bring himself to do it. It would be sheer
mockery. But the eyes were fixed upon his face beseeching, waiting
for him to begin.
"All right," said the doctor through his set teeth, "I'll do it."
And above the ribald sounds that broke in from below on the solemn
silence, the doctor's voice, low but very clear, rose in the verses
of that ancient child's prayer, "Jesus, tender Shepherd, hear me."
At the third verse,
"Let my sins be all forgiven,
Bless the friends I love so well,
Take me when I die to heaven,
Happy there with Thee to dwell,"
there was a deep breath from the sick man, a sigh as of great
content, and then all was still. Ere the prayer had been uttered
the answer had come, "Happy there with Thee to dwell." Poor
Scotty! Out from the sickness and the pain, from the wretchedness
and the sin, he had been taken to the place where the blessed dwell
and whence they go no more out forever.
Silently the doctor composed the limbs, his eyes dim with unusual
tears. As he was thus busied he heard a sniffle behind him and,
turning sharply about, he found Tommy and Shorty standing at the
door, both wiping their eyes and struggling with their sobs.
"Confound you, Shorty!" burst forth the doctor wrathfully, "what in
the mischief are you doing there? Come in, you fool. Did you ever
see a dead man before?" The doctor was clearly in a rage. During
the weeks Shorty had known him in camp he had never seen him show
anything but a perfectly cold and self-composed face. "Is this the
teamster?" continued the doctor. "Come in here. You see that man?
Someone has murdered him. Who sent him down here through this
storm? How long had he been ill? Have you a doctor up there? Are
there any more sick? Why don't you speak up? What's your name?"
In an angry flood the questions poured forth upon the hapless
Tommy, who stood speechless. "Why don't you speak?" said the
Recovering himself, Tommy began with the question which seemed to
require least thought to answer. "Thomas Tate, sir, av ye plaze.
An' sure it's not me ye'd be blamin' at all. Didn't I tell the
foreman the man wuz dyin'? An' niver a breath did I draw fer the
last twinty miles, an' up an' down the hills like the divil wuz
afther me wid a poker."
"Have you no doctor up there?"
"Docthor, is it? If that's what ye call him, fer the drunken baste
that he is, wallowin' 'round like Micky Murphy's pig, axin' pardon
av the pig."
"Are there any more sick?"
"Sick? Bedad, they're all sick wid fear, an' half a dozen worse
than poor Scotty there, God rest his sowl!"
The doctor thought a minute, then turning to Shorty he said,
speaking rapidly, "Go and bring to this room the foreman and
Swipey. And say not a word to anyone, mind that. And you," he
said, turning to Tommy, "can you start back in an hour?"
"I can that same, if I must."
"You know the road. We'll get another team and start within an
hour. Get something to eat."
In a short time both the foreman and the saloon-keeper were in the
"This man," said the doctor, "is dead. Diphtheria. There is no
fear, Swipey. Shut that door. But you must have him buried at
once, and you will both see the necessity of having it done
quietly. I shall fumigate this room. All this clothing must be
burned and there will be no further danger. You will see about
this to-morrow. I am going up to No. 2 to-night."
"To-night, doctor!" cried the foreman. "It's blowing a regular
blizzard. Can't you wait till morning?"
"There are men sick at No. 2," said the doctor. "The chances are
In an hour's time Tommy was at the door with the best team the camp
"Have you had something to eat, Tommy?" inquired the doctor,
stepping out from the saloon.
"That's what I have," replied Tommy.
"All right, then. Give me the lines. You can have a sleep."
"Not if I know it, begob!" said Tommy. "I'll stay wid yez. It's
mesilf that knows a man whin I see him."
And off into the blizzard and the night they sped, the doctor
rejoicing to find in the call to a fight with death that excitement
without which it seemed he could not live.
THE FIGHT WITH DEATH
At Camp No. 2 Maclennan had struck what was called a hard
proposition. The line ran straight through a muskeg out of which
the bottom seemed to have dropped, and Maclennan himself, with his
foreman, Craigin, was almost in despair. For every day they were
held back by the muskeg meant a serious reduction in the profits of
The foreman, Craigin, was a man from "across the line," skilled in
railroad building, selected chiefly because of his reputation as a
"driver." He was a man of great physical force and indomitable
will, and gifted in large measure with the power of command. He
knew his business thoroughly and knew just how to get the most out
of the machinery and men at his command. He himself was an
untiring worker, and no man on the line could get a bigger day out
of his force than could Craigin. His men he treated as part of his
equipment. He believed in what was called his "scrap-heap policy."
When any part of the machinery ceased to do first-class work it was
at once discarded, and, as with the machinery, so it was with the
men. A sick man was a nuisance in the camp and must be got rid of
with all possible speed. Craigin had little faith in human nature,
and when a man fell ill his first impulse was to suspect him of
malingering, and hence the standing order of the camp in regard to
a sick man was that he should get to work or be sent out of the
camp. Hence the men thoroughly hated their foreman, but as
thoroughly they dreaded to fall under his displeasure.
The camp stood in the midst of a swamp, thick with underbrush of
spruce and balsam and tamarack. The site had been selected after a
month of dry weather in the fall, consequently the real condition
of the ground was not discovered until the late rains had swollen
the streams from the mountain-sides and filled up the intervening
valleys and swamps. After the frost had fallen the situation was
vastly improved, but they all waited the warm weather of spring
On the crest of the hill which overlooked the camp the doctor
halted the team.
"Where are your stables, Tommy?"
"Over there beyant, forninst the cook-house."
"Good Lord!" murmured the doctor. "How many men have you here?"
"Between two an' three hundred, wid them that are travellin' the
"What are your sanitary arrangements?"
"I mean how do you--what are your arrangements for keeping the camp
clean, free from dirt and smells? You can't have three hundred men
living together without some sanitary arrangements."
"Begob, it's ivery man fer himsilf. Clane yersilf as ye can
through the week, an' on Sundays boil yer clothes in soap suds, if
ye kin git near the kittles. But, bedad, it's the lively time we
have wid the crathurs."
"And is that the bunk-house close up to the cookery?"
"It is that same."
"And why was it built so close as that?"
"Sure there wuz no ground left by raison av the muskeg at the back
The doctor gave it up. "Drive on," he said. "But what a beautiful
spot for a camp right there on that level."
"Beautiful, is it? Faith, it's not beautiful that Craigin calls
it, fer ivery thaw the bottom goes clane out av it till ye can't
git round fer mud an' the dump fallin' through to the antipods,"
"Yes, but up on this flat here, Tommy, under the big pines, that
would be a fine spot for the camp."
"It wud that same. Bad luck to the man who set it where it is."
As they drove into the camp the cook came out with some refuse
which he dumped down on a heap at the door. The doctor shuddered
as he thought of that heap when the sun shone upon it in the mild
weather. A huge Swede followed the cook out with a large red
muffler wrapped round his throat.
"Hello, Yonie!" cried Tommy. "What's afther gittin' ye up so
"It is no sleep for dis," cried Yonie thickly, pointing to his
The doctor sprang from the sleigh. "Let me look at your throat."
"It's the docthor, Yonie," explained Tommy, whereupon the Swede
submitted to the examination.
The doctor turned him toward the east, where the sun was just
peeping through the treetops, and looked into his throat. "My man,
you go right back to bed quick."
"No, it will not to bed," replied Yonie. "Big work to-day, boss
say. He not like men sick."
"You hear me," said the doctor sharply. "You go back to bed.
Where's your doctor?"
"He slapes in the office between meals. Yonder," said Tommy,
pointing the way.
"Never mind now. Where are your sick men?"
"De seeck mans?" replied the cook. "She's be hall overe. On de
bunk-house, on de cook shed. Dat is imposseeb to mak' de cook for
den seeck mans hall aroun'."
"What? Do they sit around where you are cooking?"
"Certainment. Dat's warm plas. De bunkhouse she's col.' Poor
feller! But she's mak' me beeg troub'. She's cough, cough, speet,
speet. Bah! dat's what you call lak' one beas'."
The doctor strode into the cook-house. By the light of the lantern
swinging from the roof he found three men huddled over the range,
the picture of utter misery. He took down the lantern.
"Here, cook, hold this please, one moment. Allow me to look at
your throats, men."
"Dis de docteur, men," said the cook.
A quick glance he gave at each throat, his face growing more stern
with each examination.
"Boys, you must all get to bed at once. You must keep away from
this cook-house or you'll poison the whole camp."
"Where can we go, doctor? The bunk-house would freeze you and the
stink of it would make a well man sick."
"And is there no place else?"
"No. Unless it's the stables," said another man; "they're not
quite so bad."
"Well, sit here just now. We'll see about it. But first let me
give you something." He opened his bag, took out his syringe.
"Here, Yonie, we'll begin with you. Roll up your sleeve." And in
three minutes he had given all four an antitoxin injection. "Now,
we'll see the doctor. By the way what's his name?"
"Hain," said the cook, "dat's his nem."
"Haines," explained one of the men.
"Dat's what I say," said the cook indignantly, "Hain."
The doctor passed out, went toward the office, knocked at the door,
and, getting no response, opened it and walked in.
"Be the powers, Narcisse!" cried Tommy, as the cook stood looking
after the doctor, "it's little I iver thought I'd pity that baste,
but Hivin save him now! He'll be thinkin' the divil's come fer
him. An' begob, he'll be wishin' it wuz before he's through wid
But Dr. Bailey was careful to observe all the rules that the
punctilious etiquette of the profession demanded. He found Dr.
Haines sleeping heavily in his clothes. He had had a bad night.
He was uneasy at the outbreak of sickness in his camp, and more
especially was he seized with an anxious foreboding in regard to
the sick man who had been sent out the day before. Besides this,
the foreman had cursed him for a drunken fool in the presence of
the whole camp with such vigour and directness that he had found it
necessary to sooth his ruffled feelings with large and frequent
doses of stimulant brought into the camp for strictly medical
purposes. With difficulty he was roused from his slumber. When
fully awake he was aware of a young man with a very pale and very
stern face standing over him. Without preliminary Dr. Bailey
"Dr. Haines, you have some very sick men in this camp."
"Who the deuce are you?" replied Haines, staring up at him.
"They call me Dr. Bailey. I have come in from along the line."
"Dr. Bailey?" said Haines, sitting up. "Oh, I've heard of you."
His tone indicated a report none too favourable. In fact, it was
his special chum and confrere who had been ejected from his
position in the Gap camp through Dr. Bailey's vigorous measures.
"You have some very sick men in the camp," repeated Dr. Bailey, his
voice sharp and stern.
"Oh, a little tonsilitis," replied Haines in an indifferent tone.
"Diphtheria," said Bailey shortly.
"Diphtheria be hanged!" replied Haines insolently; "I examined them
carefully last night."
"They have diphtheria this morning. I have just taken the liberty
of looking into their throats."
"The deuce you have! I like your impudence! Who sent you in here
to interfere with my practice, young man? Where did you get your
professional manners?" Dr. Haines was the older man and resented
the intrusion of this smooth-faced young stranger, who added to the
crime of his youth that of being guilty of a serious breach of
"I ought to apologize for looking at your patients," said Dr.
Bailey. "I came in thinking I might be of some assistance in
dealing with this outbreak of diphtheria, and I was naturally
anxious to see--"
"Diphtheria!" blurted Haines. "Nothing of the sort."
"Dr. Haines, the man you sent out last night had it."
"He died an hour after arriving at No. 1."
"Dead? Cursed fool! He WOULD go against my will."
"Against your will? Would you let a man in the last stages of
diphtheria leave this camp against your will with the company's
"Well, I knew he shouldn't go. But he wanted to go himself, and
the foreman would have him out."
"There are at least four men going about the camp--they are now in
the cook-house where the breakfast is being prepared--who are
suffering from a severe attack of diphtheria."
"What do you propose? What can I do in this cursed hole?" said Dr.
Haines petulantly. "No appliances, no means of isolation, no
nurses, nothing. Beside, I have half a dozen camps to look after.
What can I do?"
"Do you ask me?" The scorn in the voice was only too apparent.
"Isolate the infected at least."
Haines swore deeply to himself while, with trembling hand, he
poured out a cupful of whiskey from a bottle standing on a
convenient shelf. "Isolate? How can I isolate? There's no
building in which--"
"Make one? Young man, do you know what you are talking about? Do
you know where you are? Do you know who is running this camp?"
"No. But I do know that these men must be isolated within an
"Impossible! I tell you it is impossible!"
"Dr. Haines, an inquest upon the man sent out from this camp last
night would result in the verdict of manslaughter. There was no
inquest. There will be on the next man that dies if there is any
The seriousness of the situation began to dawn upon Haines.
"Well," he said, "if you think you can isolate them, go ahead.
I'll see the foreman."
"Every minute is precious. I gave those four men antitoxin. Are
"Don't know," Haines growled, as with an oath he went out, followed
by Dr. Bailey. Just outside the door they met the foreman.
"This is Dr. Bailey, Mr. Craigin." Craigin growled out a
salutation. "Dr. Bailey here says these sick men have diphtheria."
"How does he know?" inquired Craigin shortly.
"He has examined them this morning."
"No, not yet."
"Then you don't know they have diphtheria?"
"No," replied Haines weakly.
"These men have diphtheria, Mr. Craigin, without a doubt, and they
ought to be isolated at once."
"A separate camp must be built and someone appointed to attend
"A separate camp!" exclaimed Craigin; "I'll see them blanked first!
Look here, Haines, let's have no nonsense about this. I'm three
weeks, yes, a month, behind with this job here. This blank, blank
muskeg is knocking the whole contract endways. We can't spare a
single man half a day. And more than that, you go talking
diphtheria in this camp and you can't hold the men here an hour.
It's all I can do to hold them as it is." And Craigin went off
into an elaborate course of profanity descriptive of the various
characteristics of the men in his employ.
"But what is to be done?" asked Haines helplessly.
"Send 'em out to the steel. They're better in the hospital,
anyway. It's fine to-day. We'll send every man Jack out to-day."
"These men can't be moved," said Dr. Bailey in a quiet voice. "You
sent a man out yesterday and he's dead."
"He was bound to go himself. We didn't send him. Anyway, it's
none of YOUR business. Look here, Haines, you know me. I'm not
going to have any of this blank nonsense of isolation hospitals and
all that blankety blank rot. Dose 'em up good and send 'em out."
Dr. Haines stood silent, too evidently afraid of the foreman.
"Mr. Craigin, it would be murder," said Dr. Bailey, "sure murder.
Some of them might get through. Some would be sure to die. The
consequences to those responsible--to Dr. Haines, for instance--
would be serious. I am quite sure he will never give orders that
these men should be moved."
"He won't, eh? You just wait till you see him do it. Haines will
give the orders right enough." Craigin's laugh was like the growl
of a bear. "There's a reason, ain't there, Haines? Now you hear
me. Those men are going out to-day, and so are you, you blank,
blank interferin' skunk."
Dr. Bailey smiled sweetly at Craigin. "You may call me what you
please just now, Mr. Craigin. Before the day is over you won't
have enough names left. For I tell you that these men suffering
from diphtheria are going to stay here, and are going to be
properly cared for."
Craigin was white. That this young pale-faced stranger should
presume to come into his domain, where his word was wont to run as
absolute law, filled him with rage unspeakable. But there were
serious issues at stake, and with a supreme effort he controlled
the passionate longing to spring upon this upstart and throttle
him. He turned sharply to Haines.
"Dr. Haines, you think these men can go out to-day?"
"You understand me, Haines; these men go out or--"
Haines was evidently in some horrible dread of the foreman. A
moment more he paused and then surrendered.
"Oh, hang it, Bailey, I don't think they're so terribly ill. I
guess they can go out."
"Dr. Haines," said Craigin, "is that your decision?"
"Yes, I think so."
"All right," said Craigin, with a triumphant sneer. He turned to
Tommy, who was standing near with half a dozen men who had just
come out from breakfast. "Here you, Tommy, get a couple of teams
ready and all the buffalo robes you need and be ready to start in
an hour. Do you hear?"
"I do," said Tommy, turning slowly away.
"Tommy," called Dr. Bailey in a sharp, clear tone, "you took a man
out from this camp yesterday. Tell the men here what happened."
"Sure, they all know it," said Tommy, who had already told the
story of poor Scotty's death and of the doctor's efforts to save
him. "An' it's a fine bhoy he wuz, poor Scotty, an' niver a groan
out av him all the way down, an' not able to swally a taste whin I
gave it to him."
Craigin sprang toward Tommy in a fury. "Here you blank, blank,
blank! Do what I tell you! And the rest of you men, what are you
gawkin' at here? Get to work!"
The men gave back, and some began to move away. Dr. Bailey walked
quickly past Craigin into the midst of the group.
"Men, I want to say something to you." His voice commanded their
instant attention. "There are half a dozen of your comrades in
this camp sick with diphtheria. I came up here to help. They
ought to be isolated to prevent the spread of the disease, and they
ought to be cared for at once. The foreman proposes to send them
out. One went out yesterday. He died last night. If these men go
out to-day some of them will die, and it will be murder. What do
you say? Will you let them go?" A wrathful murmur ran through the
crowd, which was being rapidly increased every moment by others
coming from breakfast.
"Get to your work, you fellows, or get your time!" shouted Craigin,
pouring out oaths. "And you," turning toward Dr. Bailey, "get out
of this camp."
"I am here in consultation with Dr. Haines," replied Dr. Bailey.
"He has asked my advice, and I am giving it."
"Send him out, Haines. And be quick about it!"
By this time the men were fully roused. One of them came forward.
"What do you propose should be done, Doctor?" he inquired.
"Are you going to work, McLean?" shouted Craigin furiously. "If
not, go and get your time."
"We're going to talk this matter over a minute, Mr. Craigin," said
McLean quietly. "It's a serious matter. We are all concerned in
it, and we'll decide in a few minutes what is to be done."
"Every man who is not at work in five minutes will get his time,"
said Craigin, and he turned away and passed into the office.
"What do you propose should be done, Doctor?" said McLean, ignoring
"Build a camp where the sick men can be placed by themselves and
where they can be kept from infecting the rest of the camp. Half a
day's work of a dozen men will do it. If we send them out some of
them will die. Besides, it is almost certain that some more of you
have already been infected."
At once eager discussion began. Some, in dread terror of the
disease, were for sending out the sick immediately, but the
majority would not listen to this inhuman proposal. Finally McLean
came again to Dr. Bailey.
"The men want to know if you can guarantee that the disease can be
stamped out here if you have a separate camp for an hospital?"
"We can guarantee nothing," replied Dr. Bailey. "But it is
altogether the safer way to fight the disease. And I am of the
opinion that we can stamp it out." The doctor's air and tone of
quiet confidence, far more than his words, decided the men's
action. In a minute more it was agreed that the sick men should
stay and that they would all stand together in carrying out the
plan of isolation.
"If he gives any of us time," said Tommy, "we'll all take it,
"No, men," said the doctor, "let's not make trouble. I know Mr.
Maclennan slightly, and he's a just man, and he'll do what's fair.
Besides, we don't want to interfere with the job. Give me a dozen
men--one must be able to cook--and in half a day the work will be
finished. I will be personally responsible for everything."
At this point Craigin came out. "Here's your time, McLean," he
said, thrusting a time check at him.
McLean took it without a word and went over and stood by Dr.
"Who are coming?" called out McLean.
"All of us," cried a voice. "Pick out your men, McLean."
"All right," said McLean, looking over the crowd.
"I'm wan," said Tommy, running over to the doctor's side. "I seen
him shtand by Scotty whin the lad wus fightin' fer his life, an' if
I'm tuk it's him I want beside me."
One by one McLean called his men, each taking his place beside the
doctor, while the rest of the men moved off to work.
"Mr. Craigin, I am going to use these men for half a day." said Dr.
For answer Craigin, in mad rage, throwing aside all regard for
consequences, rushed at him, but half a dozen men were in his path
before he had taken the second step.
"Hold on, Mr. Craigin," said McLean, "we want no violence. We're
going to do what we think right in this matter, so you may as well
make up your mind to it."
"And Mr. Craigin," continued the doctor, "we shall need some things
out of your stores."
Craigin stepped back from the crowd and on to the office steps.
"Your time is waiting you, men. And listen to me. If any man goes
near that there storehouse door, I'll drop him in his tracks. I've
got the law and I'll do it, so help me God." He went into the
office and returned in a moment with a Winchester, which he loaded
in full view of the men.
"Never mind him, boys," said the doctor cheerily, "I'm going to
have breakfast. Come, Tommy, I want you."
In fifteen minutes he came out, with the key of the storehouse in
his hand, to find the men still waiting his orders and Craigin on
guard with his Winchester.
"Don't go just yet," said McLean to the doctor in a low voice,
"we'll get round him."
"Oh, he'll not shoot," said Dr. Bailey.
"He will. He will. I knew him in Michigan. He'll shoot and he'll
For a single instant the doctor hesitated. His men were about him
waiting his lead. Craigin with his rifle held them all in check.
A moment's thought and his decision was taken. He stepped toward
Craigin and said in a clear voice, "Mr. Craigin, these stores are
necessary to save these men's lives. I want them and I'm going to
take them. Murder me, if you like."
"Hear me, men." Craigin's voice was cold and deliberate. "These
stores are in my charge. I am an officer of the law. If any man
lays his hand on that latch I'll shoot him, so help me God."
"Hear me, Mr. Craigin," replied Dr. Bailey. "I'm here in
consultation with Dr. Haines, who has turned over this matter to my
charge. In a case of this kind the doctor's orders are supreme.
This whole camp is under his authority. These stores are
necessary, and I am going to get them." He well knew the weak spot
in his position, but he counted on Craigin's nerve breaking down.
In that, however, he was mistaken. Without haste, but without
hesitation, he walked toward the storehouse door. When three paces
from it Craigin's voice arrested him.
"Hold on there! Put your hand on that door and, as God lives,
you're a dead man!"
Without a word the doctor turned again toward the door. The men
with varying cries rushed toward the foreman. Craigin threw up his
rifle. Immediately a shot rang out and Craigin fell to the snow,
the smoking rifle dropping from his hand.
"Begob, I niver played baseball," cried Tommy, rushing in and
seizing the rifle, "but many's the time I've had the divarsion in
the streets av Dublin of bringin' down the polismen wid a brick."
A heavy horseshoe, heaved with sure aim, had saved the doctor's
life. They carried Craigin into the office and laid him on the
bed, the blood streaming from a ghastly wound in his scalp.
Quickly Dr. Bailey got to work and before Craigin had regained
consciousness the wound was sewed up and dressed. Then giving him
over to the charge of Haines, Dr. Bailey went about the work he had
Before the noon hour had arrived the eight men who were discovered
to be in various stages of diphtheria were comfortably housed in a
roomy building rudely constructed of logs, tar paper, and
tarpaulin, with a small cook-house attached and Tommy Tate in
charge. And before night had fallen the process of disinfecting
the bedding, clothing, bunk-house, and cookery was well under way,
while all who had been in immediate contact with the infected men
had been treated by the doctor with antitoxin as a precautionary
Thus the first day's campaign against death closed with the issue
still undecided, but the chances for winning were certainly greater
than they had been. What the result would be when Craigin was able
to take command again, no one could say. But in the meantime, for
the next two days, the work on the dump was prosecuted with all
vigour, the men feeling in honour bound to support the doctor in
that part of the fight which fell to them.
THE MEDICAL SUPERINTENDENT OF THE CROW'S NEST
Mr. Maclennan was evidently worried. His broad, good-humoured
face, which usually wore a smile indicating content with the world
and especially with himself, was drawn into a frown. The muskeg
was beating him, and he hated to be beaten. He was bringing in
General Manager Fahey to have a look at things. It was important
to awaken the sympathy of the General Manager, if, indeed, this
could be accomplished. But the General Manager had a way of
insisting upon his contracts being fulfilled, and this stretch in
Maclennan's charge was the one spot which the General Manager
feared would occasion delay.
"There's the hole," said Maclennan, as they turned down the hill
into the swamp. "Into that hole," he continued, pointing to where
the dump ended abruptly in the swamp, "I can't tell you how many
millions of carloads have been dumped. I used to brag that I was
never beaten in my life, but that hole--"
"Maclennan, that hole has got to be filled up, bridged, or
trestled, and we can't wait too long, either."
The General Manager's name was a synonym for a relentless sort of
energy in railroad construction that refused to consider obstacles.
Nothing could stand in his way. The thing behind which he put the
weight of his determination simply had to move in one direction or
other. The contractor that failed expected no mercy, and received
"We're doing our best," said Maclennan, "and we will continue to do
our best. Hello! what's this? What's Craigin doing up here? Hold
up, Sandy. We'll look in."
At the door of the hospital Dr. Haines met him.
"Hello, Doctor! What have you got here?"
"Isolation hospital," replied the doctor shortly.
"Has Craigin gone mad all at once?"
"Craigin has nothing to do with it. There's a new boss in camp."
A look of wrathful amazement crossed Maclennan's countenance.
Haines was beginning to enjoy himself.
"A new boss? What do you mean?"
"What I say. A young fellow calling himself Dr. Bailey came into
this camp three days ago, raised the biggest kind of a row, laid up
Craigin with a broken head, and took charge of the camp."
Maclennan stood in amazement looking from Haines to the General
"Dr. Bailey? You mean Bailey from No. 1? What has he got to do
with it? And how did Craigin come to allow him?"
"Ask Craigin," replied Haines.
"What have you got in there, Doctor?" asked Mr. Fahey.
"Well, we began with eight three days ago and we've ten to-day."
"Well, this knocks me out," said Maclennan. "Where's Craigin,
"He's down in his own room in bed."
Maclennan turned and got into the sleigh. "Come on, Fahey," he
said, "let's go down. Something extraordinary has happened. You
can't believe that fellow Haines. What are you laughing at?"
Fahey was too much of an Irishman to miss seeing the humour of any
situation. "I can't help it, Maclennan. I'll bet you a box of
cigars that man Bailey is an Irishman. He must be a whirlwind.
But it's no laughing matter," continued the General Manager,
sobering up. "This has a very serious aspect. There are a whole
lot of men sick in our camps. You contractors don't pay enough
attention to your health."
"Health! When you're driving us like all possessed there's no time
to think of health."
"I tell you, Maclennan, it's bad policy. You have got to think of
health. The newspapers are beginning to talk. Why, look at that
string of men you met going out. Of course, the great majority of
them never should have come in. Hundreds of men are here who never
used either shovel or axe. They cut themselves, get cold,
rheumatism, or something; they're not fit for their work. All the
same, we get blamed. But my theory is that every camp should have
an hospital, with three main hospitals along this branch. There's
one at Macleod. It is filled, overflowing. A young missionary
fellow, Boyle, has got one running out at Kuskinook supported by
some Toronto ladies. It's doing fine work, too; but it's
overflowing. There's a young lady in charge there, a Miss
Robertson, and she's a daisy. The trouble there is you can't get
the fellows to leave, and I don't blame them. If ever I get sick
send me to her. I tell you, Maclennan, if we had two or three
first-class men, with three main hospitals, a branch in every camp,
we'd keep the health department in first-class condition. The men
would stay with us. We'd get altogether better results."
"That's all right," said Maclennan, "but where are you to get your
first-class men? They come to us with letters from Directors or
some big bug or other. You've got to appoint them. Look at that
man Haines. He doesn't know his work and he's drunk half the time.
Dr. Bailey seems to be different. He certainly knows his work and
he never touches whiskey. I got him up from the Gap to No. 1. In
two weeks' time he had things in great shape. Funny thing, too,
when he's fighting some sickness or busy he's all right, but when
things get quiet he hits the green table hard. He's a wonder at
poker, they say."
The General Manager pricked up his ears. "Poker, eh? I'll remember
"But this here business is going too far," continued Maclennan. "I
didn't hire him to run my camps. Well, we'll see what Craigin has
As they drove into the camp they were met by Narcisse, the cook.
"Bo' jour, M'sieu Maclenn'. You want something for hit?"
"Good-day, cook," said Maclennan. "Yes, we'll take a cup of tea in
a few minutes. I want to see Mr. Craigin."
Narcisse drew near Maclennan and in subdued voice announced,
"M'sieu Craigin, he's not ver' well. He's hurt hisself. He's lie
"Why, what's the matter with him?"
Narcisse shrugged his shoulders. "Oh, some leet' troub'. You pass
on de office you see de docteur."
"Why, Haines is up at the hospital. We just saw him."
"Hain!" said Narcisse, with scorn indescribable. "Dat's no docteur
for one horse. Bah! De mans go seeck, seeck, he can noting. He
know noting. He's get on beeg drunk! Non! Nodder docteur. He's
come in, fin' tree, four mans seeck on de troat, cough, cough,
sore, bad. Fill up de cook-house. Can't do noting. Sainte Marie!
Dat new docteur, he's come on de camp, he's mak' one leet' fight,
he's beeld hospital an' get dose seeck mans all nice an' snug.
Bon. Good. By gar, dat's good feller!"
The smile broadened on Fahey's face. "I say, Maclennan, he's
captured your camp. He's got the cook, dead sure."
The smile didn't help Maclennan's temper. He opened the office
door and passed into Craigin's private room at the back. Here he
found Dr. Bailey in charge. As he opened the door the doctor put
up his hand for silence and backed him out into the office.
"Excuse me, Mr. Maclennan," he said, "he's asleep and must not be
Maclennan shook hands with him with a cold "How are you," and
introduced him to Mr. Fahey.
"Is Mr. Craigin ill?" inquired Fahey innocently.
"He has met with a slight accident," replied the doctor. "He is
doing well and will be about in a day or two."
"Accident?" snorted Maclennan; then clearing his throat as for a
speech he began in a loud tone, "Dr. Bailey, I must say--"
"Excuse me," said the doctor, opening the office door and
marshalling them outside, "we'd better go somewhere else if we are
going to talk. It is important that my patient should be kept
perfectly quiet." The doctor's air was so entirely respectful and
at the same time so masterful that Maclennan found himself walking
meekly toward the grub-house behind the doctor, with Fahey, the
smile on his face broader than ever, bringing up the rear.
Maclennan caught the smile, but in the face of the doctor's quiet,
respectful manner he found it difficult to rouse himself to wrath.
He took refuge in bluster.
"Upon my word, Dr. Bailey," he burst forth when once they were
inside the grub-house, "it seems to me that you have carried things
on with a high hand in this camp. You come in here, a perfect
stranger, you head a mutiny, you lay up my foreman with a dangerous
wound, with absolutely no authority from anyone. What in the
blank, blank do you mean, anyway?" Maclennan was rather pleased to
find himself at length taking fire.
"Mr. Maclennan," said the doctor quietly, "it is natural you should
be angry. Let me give you the facts before you pass your final
judgment. A man was sent to me from this camp in a dying
condition. Diphtheria. I learned there were others suffering here
with the same disease. I came in at once to offer assistance.
Consulted with Dr. Haines. We came to a practical agreement as to
what ought to be done. Mr. Craigin objected. There was some
trouble. Unfortunately, Mr. Craigin was hurt."
"Dr. Bailey," said the General Manager, "it will save trouble if
you will go somewhat fully into the facts. We want an exact
statement of what occurred." The authoritative tone drew Dr.
Bailey's attention to the rugged face of the speaker, with its
square forehead and bull-dog jaw. He recognized at once that he
had to deal with a man of more than ordinary force, and he
proceeded to give him an exact statement of all that had happened,
beginning with the death of Scotty Anderson.
"That is all, gentlemen," said the doctor, as he concluded his
tale; "I did what I considered was right. Prompt action was
necessary. I may have been mistaken, but I think not."
"Mistaken!" cried Fahey, with a great oath. "I tell you,
Maclennan, we've had a close shave. We may, perhaps, explain that
one man's death, but if six or eight men had gone out of this camp
in the condition in which the doctor says they were, the results
would have been not only deplorable as far as the men are
concerned, but disastrous to us with the public. Why, good heavens
above! what a shave it was! Dr. Bailey, I am proud to meet you,"
continued Fahey, putting out his hand. "You had a most difficult
situation to deal with and you handled it like a general."
"I quite agree with you," said Maclennan, shaking Dr. Bailey warmly
by the hand. "The measures were somewhat drastic, but something
had to be done. Go right on, Doctor. When Craigin is on his feet
again we'll send him out."
"Mr. Craigin will be quite fit to work in a day or so. But I would
suggest that he keep his place. You can't afford to lose a man of
"Well, well, we'll see, we'll see."
"Dr. Bailey, I'd like to see your hospital arrangements. Mac will
be busy just now and will excuse us."
The next two hours the General Manager spent in extracting from Dr.
Bailey his theories in regard to camp sanitation and the care of
the sick. Finding a listener at once so sympathetic and so
intelligent, Dr. Bailey seized the opportunity of expatiating to
the fullest extent upon the theme which, during the last few
months, had been absorbing his mind.
"These camps are wrongly constructed in the first instance--every
one that I have seen. Almost every law of sanitation is ignored.
In location, in relative position of buildings, the disposal of
refuse, the treatment of the sick and injured, the whole business
reveals atrocious folly and ignorance. For instance, take this
camp. The only thing that prevents an outbreak of typhoid is the
cold weather. In the spring you will have a state of things here
that will arrest the attention of Canada. Look at the location of
the camp. Down in a swamp, with a magnificent site five hundred
yards away," pointing to a little plateau further up the hill,
clear of underbrush and timbered with great pines. "Then look at
the stables where they are. There are no means by which the men
can keep themselves or their clothes clean. Their bunks, some of
them, are alive with vermin, and the bunk-house is reeking with all
sorts of smells. At a very little more cost you could have had a
camp here pleasant, safe, clean, and an hospital ready for
emergencies. Why, good heavens! they might at least have kept the
"Oh, pshaw!" said Fahey, "every camp has to have a few of them
fellows. Makes the men feel at home. Besides, you can't
absolutely drive them out."
"Drive them out? Give me a free hand and I'll make this camp clean
of vermin in two weeks, absolutely, and keep it so. Why, it would
pay," continued the doctor. "You would keep your men in good
condition, in good heart and spirits. They would do twice the
work. They would stay with you. Besides, it would prevent
"Scandal?" The General Manager looked up sharply.
"Yes, scandal. I have done what I could to prevent talk, but down
the line they are talking some, and if I am not mistaken it will be
all over the East in a few weeks."
The General Manager was thinking hard. "Look here, young man," he
said, with the air of one who has made up his mind, "do you drink?"
"Do you gamble?"
"When I've nothing to do."
"Oh, well," said Mr. Fahey, "a little poker doesn't hurt a man now
and then. I am going to make you an offer which I hope you will
consider favourably. I offer you the position of medical
superintendent of this line at a salary of three thousand a year
and all expenses. It's not much, but if the thing goes we can
easily increase it. You needn't answer just now. Think it over.
I don't know your credentials, but I don't care."
For answer, Dr. Bailey took out his pocketbook and selected a
letter. "I didn't think I would ever use this. I didn't want to
use it. But you can look at it."
Mr. Fahey took the letter, glanced through it hurriedly, then read
it again with more care.
"You know Sir William?"
"Very slightly. Met him once or twice in London."
"This is a most unusual letter for him to write. You must have
stood very high in the profession in London."
"I had a fairly good position," said Dr. Bailey.
"May I ask why you left?"
Dr. Bailey hesitated. "I grew tired of the life--and, besides--
well--I wanted to get away from things and people."
"Pardon my asking," said Fahey hastily. "It was none of my
business. But, Doctor--" here he glanced at the letter again,
"Bailey, you say your name is?"
"They called me Bailey when I came in and I let it go."
"Very well, sir," replied Fahey quickly, "Bailey let it be. My
offer holds, only I'll make it four thousand. We can't expect a
man of your standing for less."
"Mr. Fahey, I came here to work on the construction. I wanted to
forget. When I saw how things were going at the east end I
couldn't help jumping it. I never thought I should have enjoyed my
professional work so much. It has kept me busy. I will accept
your offer at three thousand, but on the distinct understanding
that I am to have my way in everything."
"By gad! you'll take it, anyway, I imagine," said Fahey, with a
laugh, "so we may as well put it in the contract. In your
department you are supreme. If you see anything you want, take it.
If you don't see it, we will get it for you."
On their return to the office they found Dr. Haines in Craigin's
room with Maclennan. As they entered they heard Haines' voice
saying, "I believe it was a put-up job with Tommy."
"It's a blank lie!" roared Craigin. "I have it from Tommy that it
was his own notion to fire that shoe, and a blank good thing for me
it was. Otherwise I should have killed the best man that ever
walked into this camp. Here, keep your hands off! You paw around
my head like a blanked bull in a sand heap. Where's the doctor?
Why ain't he here attending to his business?"
"Craigin," he said quietly, "let me look at that. Ah, it's got a
twist, that's all. There, that's better."
Like a child Craigin submitted to his quick, light touch and sank
back in his pillow with a groan of content. Dr. Bailey gave him
his medicine and induced him, much against his will, to take some
"There now, that's all right. To-morrow you'll be sitting up. Now
you must be kept quiet." As he said this he motioned them out of
the room. As he was leaving, Craigin called him back.
"I want to see Maclennan," he said gruffly.
"Wait till to-morrow, Mr. Craigin," replied the doctor, in soothing
"I want to see him now."
The doctor called Mr. Maclennan back.
"Maclennan, I want to say there's the whitest man in these
mountains. I was a blank, blank fool. But for him I might have
been a murderer two or three times over, and, God help me! but for
that lucky shoe of Tommy's I'd have murdered him. I want to say
this to you, and I want the doctor here not to lay it up against
"All right, Craigin," said Maclennan, "I'm glad to hear you say so.
And I guess the doctor here won't cherish any grudge."
Without a word the doctor closed the door upon Maclennan, then went
to the bedside. "Craigin, you are a man. I'd be glad to call you
That was all. The two men shook hands and the doctor passed out,
leaving Craigin more at peace with himself and with the world than
he had been for some days.
THE LADY OF KUSKINOOK
Soon after Dick's departure for the West, Ben Fallows took up his
abode at the Old Stone Mill and very soon found himself firmly
established as a member of the family there; and so it came that he
was present on the occasion of Margaret's visit, when the offer of
the Kuskinook Hospital was under consideration. The offer came
through the Superintendent, but it was due chiefly to the influence
on the Toronto Board of Mrs. Macdougall. It was to her that Dick
had appealed for a matron for the new hospital, which had come into
existence largely through his efforts and advocacy. "We want as
matron," Dick had written, "a strong, sane woman who knows her
work, and is not afraid to tackle anything. She must be cheery in
manner and brave in heart, not too old, and the more beautiful she
is the better."
"Cheery in manner and brave in heart?" Mrs. Macdougall had said to
herself, looking at the letter. "The very one! She is that and
she is all the rest, and she is not too old, and beautiful enough
even for Mr. Dick." Here Mrs. Macdougall smiled a gentle smile of
deprecation at the suggestion that flitted across her mind at that
point. "No, she'll never be old to Dick. We'll send her, and who
knows, but--" Not even to herself, however, much less to another,
did the little lady breathe a word of any 'arriere pensee' in urging
With the Superintendent's letter in her hand, Margaret had gone to
consult Barney's mother; for to Margaret Mrs. Boyle was ever
"It would be a very fine work," said Mrs. Boyle, "but oh, lassie!
it is a long, long way. And you would be far from all that knew
"Why, Dick is not very far away."
"Aye, but I doubt you would see little of him, with all the
travelling he's doing to those terrible camps. And what if
anything should happen to you, and no one to care for you?"
The old lady's hands trembled over the tea cups. She had aged much
during the last six years. The sword had pierced her heart with
Barney's going from home. And while, in the case of her younger
and favourite son, she had without grudging made the ancient
sacrifice, lines of her surrender showed deep upon her face.
"What's the matter with me goin' along, Miss Margaret?" said Ben,
breaking in upon the pause in the conversation. "There's one of
the old gang out there. We cawn't 'ave Barney, but you'd do in his
place, an' I guess we could make things hump a bit. W'en the gang
gits a goin' things begin to hum. You remember that day down at
the 'Old King's' w'en me an' Barney an' Dick--"
"Och! Ben lad," said Mrs. Boyle, "Margaret will be hearing that
story many's the time. But what would you be doing in an
"Me? I hain't goin' fer to work in no 'ospital! I'm goin' to look
after Miss Margaret. She wants someone to look after her, don't
"Aye, that she does," remarked Mrs. Boyle, with such emphasis that
Margaret flushed as she cried, "Not I! My business is to look
after other people."
But the more the matter was discussed the clearer it became that
Margaret's work lay at Kuskinook, and further, that she could not
do better than take Ben along to "look after her," as he put it.
Hence, before the year had gone, all through the Windermere and
Crow's Nest valleys the fame of the Lady of Kuskinook grew great,
and second only to hers was that of her bodyguard, the hospital
orderly, Ben Fallows. And indeed, Ben's usefulness was freely
acknowledged by both staff and patients; for by day or by night he
was ever ready to skip off on errands of mercy, his wooden leg
clicking a vigorous tattoo to his rapid movements. He was
especially proud of that wooden leg, a combination of joints and
springs so wonderful that he was often heard to lament the
clumsiness of the other leg in comparison.