Part 6 out of 6
to be hidden. To this mass a train was to be laid through the cross
tunnel to a convenient distance. At a certain point during the
conference Rosenblatt would leave the cave on the pretext of
securing a paper left in his cabin. A pile of brushwood at some
distance from the cave would be burning. On his way to his cabin
Rosenblatt would fire the train and wait the explosion in his own
shack, the accidental nature of which could easily be explained
under the circumstances. In order to remove suspicion from him,
Rosenblatt was to appear during the early evening in a railway camp
some distance away. The plot was so conceived and the details so
arranged that no suspicion could attach to the guilty parties.
"And now," said Malkarski, "rush to Wakota, where I know Mr. French
and Kalman are to be to-day. I shall go back to the mine to warn them
if by any chance you should miss them."
Old Portnoff was long past his best. Not for many years had he
quickened his pace beyond a slow dog trot. The air was heavy with
an impending storm, the blazed trail through the woods was rough,
and at times difficult to find, so that it was late in the evening
when the old man stumbled into the missionary's house and poured
out his tale between his sobbing gasps to Brown and a Sergeant of
the Mounted Police, who was present on the Queen's business.
Before the tale was done the Sergeant was on his feet.
"Where are French and Kalman?" he said sharply.
"Gone hours ago," cried Brown. "They must be at the mine by now."
"Can this man be relied upon?" enquired the Sergeant.
"Absolutely," said Brown. "Fly! I'll follow."
Without further word the Sergeant was out of the house and on his horse.
"What trail?" he shouted.
"It is best by the river," cried Brown. "The cross trail you might
lose. Go! Go, in God's name!" he added, rushing toward his stable,
followed by Portnoff and his wife. "Where is Paulina?" he cried.
"Paulina," said his wife, "is gone. She is acting strangely these
days,--goes and comes, I don't know where."
"Get a boy, then," said her husband, "and send him to the ranch.
There is a bare chance we may stop them there. Portnoff, there is
another pony here; saddle and follow me. We'll take the cross
trail. And pray God," he added, "we may be in time!"
Great masses of liver-coloured clouds were piling up in the west,
blotting out the light from the setting sun. Over all a heavy
silence had settled down, so that in all the woods there was no
sound of living thing. Lashing his pony into a gallop, heedless of
the obstacles on the trail, or of the trees overhead, Brown crashed
through scrub and sleugh, with old Portnoff following as best he
could. Mile after mile they rode, now and then in the gathering
darkness losing the trail, and with frantic furious haste searching
it again, till at length, with their ponies foaming and trembling,
and their own faces torn and bleeding with the brush, they emerged
into the clearing above the ravine.
Meantime, the ghastly tragedy was being enacted. Impatiently at the
cave mouth French and Kalman waited the coming of those they were
to meet. At length, in the gathering gloom, Rosenblatt appeared,
coming up the ravine. He was pale and distraught.
"I have ridden hard," he said, "and I am shaken with my ride.
My papers are in my cabin. I shall get them."
In a few moments he returned, bringing with him a bottle and
"Drink!" he said. "No? Then I will." He poured out a cup full of
raw whiskey and drank it off. "My partner is late," he said. "He
will be here in a few moments. Meantime, we can look over the
"It is too dark here," said French. "We can't see to read.
You have in your cabin a light, let us go there."
"Oh," cried Rosenblatt hastily, "it is more comfortable here.
I have a lantern."
He rummaged in the sides of the cave and produced a lantern.
"Here is a light," said French, striking a match.
Rosenblatt snatched the match from his hand, crushed it in his
fingers and hurried out of the cave.
"Ah," he exclaimed, "I am shaking with my hurried ride."
With great care he lighted his lantern outside of the cave and set
it upon a table that had been placed near the cave's mouth. French
drew out his pipe, slowly filled it and proceeded to light it,
when Rosenblatt in a horror-stricken voice arrested him.
"Don't smoke!" he cried. "I mean--it makes me very ill--when
I am--in this--condition--the smell of tobacco smoke."
French looked at him with cool contempt.
"I am sorry for you," he said, lighting his pipe and throwing
the match down.
Rosenblatt sprang to the cave mouth, came back again, furtively
treading upon the match. The perspiration was standing out upon
"It is a terrible night," he said. "Let us proceed. We can't wait
for my partner. Read, read."
With fingers that trembled so that he could hardly hold the papers,
he thrust the documents into Kalman's hand.
"Read," he cried, "I cannot see."
Opening the papers, Kalman proceeded to read them carefully,
by the light of the lantern, French smoking calmly the while.
"Have you no better light than this, Rosenblatt?" said French at
length. "Surely there are candles about here." He walked toward
the back of the cave.
"Ah, my God!" cried Rosenblatt, seizing him and drawing him toward
the table again. "Sit down, sit down. If you want candles, let
me get them. I know where they are. But we need no candles here.
Yes," he cried with a laugh, "young eyes are better than old eyes.
The young man reads well. Read, read."
"There is another paper," said French after Kalman had finished.
"There is a further agreement."
"Yes, truly," said Rosenblatt. "Is it not there? It must be there.
No, I must have left it at my cabin. I will bring it."
"Well, hurry then," said French. "Meantime, my pipe is out."
He drew a match, struck it on the sole of his boot, lighted his
pipe and threw the blazing remnant toward the back of the cave.
"Ah, my God!" cried Rosenblatt, his voice rising almost to a
shriek. Both men looked curiously at him. "Ah," he said, with his
hand over his heart, "I have pain here. But I will get the paper."
His face was livid, and the sweat was running down his beard. As he
spoke he ran out and disappeared, leaving the two men poring over
the papers together. Beside the burning heap of brushwood he stood
a moment, torn in an agony of uncertainty and fear.
"Oh!" he said, wringing his hands, "I dare not do it! I dare not do it!"
He rushed past the blazing heap, paused. "Fool!" he said, "what is
there to fear?"
He crept back to the pile of burning brush, seized a blazing ember,
ran with it to the train he had prepared of rags soaked in
kerosene, leading toward the mouth of the cross tunnel, dropped the
blazing stick upon it, and fled. Looking back, he saw that in his
haste he had dashed out the flame and that beside the saturated
rags the stick lay smoking. With a curse he ran once more to the
blazing brush heap, selected a blazing ember, carried it carefully
to the train, and set the saturated rags on fire, waiting until they
were fully alight. Then like a man pursued by demons, he fled down
the ravine, splashed through the Creek and up the other side, not
pausing to look behind until he had shut the door of his cabin.
As he closed the door, a dark figure appeared, slipped up to the
door, there was a click, a second, and a third, and the door stood
securely fastened with three stout padlocks. In another moment
Rosenblatt's livid face appeared at the little square window which
overlooked the ravine.
At the same instant, upon the opposite side of the ravine, appeared
Brown, riding down the slope like a madman, and shouting at the top
of his voice, "French! French! Kalman! For God's sake, come here!"
Out of the cave rushed the two men. As they appeared Brown stood
waving his hands wildly. "Come here! Come, for God's sake! Come!"
His eyes fell upon the blazing train. "Run! run!" he shouted,
"for your lives! Run!"
He dashed toward the blazing rags and trampled them under his feet.
But the fire had reached the powder. There was a quick hissing
sound of a burning fuse, and then a great puff. Brown threw himself
on his face and waited, but there was nothing more. His two friends
rushed to him and lifted him up.
"What, in Heaven's name, is it, Brown?" cried French.
"Come away!" gasped Brown, stumbling down the ravine and dragging
them with him.
Meantime, the whole hillside was in flames. In the clear light of
the blazing trees the Sergeant was seen riding his splendid horse
at a hard gallop. Soon after his appearing came Portnoff.
"What does all this mean?" said French, looking around from one to
the other with a dazed face.
Before they could answer, a voice clear and sonorous drew their
eyes across the ravine towards Rosenblatt's cabin. At a little
distance from the cabin they could distinguish the figure of a man
outlined in the lurid light of the leaping flames. He was speaking
to Rosenblatt, whose head could be seen thrust far out of the
"Who is that man?" cried the Sergeant.
"Mother of God!" said old Portnoff in a low voice.
"It is Malkarski. Listen."
"Rosenblatt," cried the old man in the Russian tongue, "I have
something to say to you. Those bags of gunpowder, that dynamite
with which you were to destroy two innocent men, are now piled
under your cabin, and this train at my feet will fire them."
With a shriek Rosenblatt disappeared, and they could hear him
battering at the door. Old Malkarski laughed a wild, unearthly
"Rosenblatt," he cried again, "the door is securely fastened!
Three stout locks will hold it closed."
The wretched man thrust his head far out of the window, shrieking,
"Help! Help! Murder! Help!"
"Listen, you dog!" cried Malkarski, his voice ringing down through
the ravine, "your doom has come at last. All your crimes, your
treacheries, your bloody cruelties are now to be visited upon you.
Ha! scream! pray! but no power in earth can save you. Aha! for this
joy I have waited long! See, I now light this train. In one moment
you will be in hell."
He deliberately struck a match. A slight puff of wind blew it out.
Once more he struck a match. A cry broke forth from Kalman.
"Stop! stop! Malkarski, do not commit this crime!"
"What is he doing?" said the Sergeant, pulling his pistol.
"He is going to blow the man up!" groaned Kalman.
The Sergeant levelled his pistol.
"Here, you man," he cried, "stir in your tracks and you are dead!"
Malkarski laughed scornfully at him and proceeded to strike his
third match. Before the Sergeant could fire, old Portnoff sprang
upon him with the cry, "Would you murder the man?"
Meantime, under the third match, the train was blazing, and slowly
creeping toward the cabin. Shriek after shriek from the wretched
victim seemed to pierce the ears of the listeners as with sharp
stabs of pain.
"Rosenblatt," cried old Malkarski, putting up his hand, "you know
"No! no!" shrieked Rosenblatt. "Mercy! mercy! quick! quick!
I know you not."
The old man drew himself up to a figure straight and tall. The
years seemed to fall from him. He stepped nearer Rosenblatt and
stood in the full light and in the attitude of a soldier at
"Behold," he cried, "Michael Kalmar!"
"Ah-h-h-h!" Rosenblatt's voice was prolonged into a wail of despair
as from a damned soul.
"My father!" cried Kalman from across the ravine. "My father!
Don't commit this crime! For my sake, for Christ's dear sake!"
He rushed across the ravine and up the other slope. His father ran
to meet him and grappled with him. Upon the slope they struggled,
Kalman fighting fiercely to free himself from those encircling
arms, while like a fiery serpent the flame crept slowly toward
With a heavy iron poker which he found in the cabin, Rosenblatt had
battered off the sash and the frame of the window, enlarging the
hole till he could get his head and one arm free; but there he stuck
fast, watching the creeping flames, shrieking prayers, entreaties,
curses, while down upon the slope swayed the two men in deadly
"Let me go! Let me go, my father!" entreated Kalman, tearing at his
father's arms. "How can I strike you!"
"Never, boy. Rather would I die!" cried the old man, his arms
wreathed about his son's neck.
At length, with his hand raised high above his head, Kalman cried,
"Now God pardon me this!" and striking his father a heavy blow, he
flung him off and leaped free. Before he could take a single step,
another figure, that of a woman, glided from the trees, and with a
cry as of a wild cat, threw herself upon him. At the same instant
there was a dull, thick roar; they were hurled stunned to the
ground, and in the silence that followed, through the trees came
hurtling a rain of broken rock and splintered timbers.
Slowly recovering from the shock, the Sergeant staggered down the
ravine, crying, "Come on!" to the others who followed him one by
one as they recovered their senses. On the other side of the slope
lay Kalman and the woman. It was Paulina. At a little distance was
Malkarski, or Kalmar, as he must be called, and where the cabin had
been a great hole, and at some distance from it a charred and
blackened shape of a man writhing in agony, the clothes still
burning upon him.
Brown rushed down to the Creek, and with a hatful of water
extinguished the burning clothes.
"Water! water!" gasped the wretch faintly.
"Bring him some water, some one," said Brown, who was now giving
his attention to Kalman. But no one heeded him.
Old Portnoff found a can, and filling it at the stream, brought it
to the group on the slope. In a short time they began to revive,
and before long were able to stand. Meantime, the wretched
Rosenblatt was piteously crying for water.
"Oh, give him some water," said Kalman to Brown, who was anxiously
taking his pulse.
Brown took the can over, gave the unhappy wretch a drink, pouring
the rest over his burned and mangled limbs. The explosion had
shattered the lower part and one side of Rosenblatt's body, leaving
untouched his face and his right arm.
The Sergeant took charge of the situation.
"You I arrest," he said, taking old Kalmar by the shoulder.
"Very well; it matters not," said the old man, holding up his hands
for the handcuffs.
"Can anything be done for this man?" asked the Sergeant, pointing
"Nothing. He can only live a few minutes."
Rosenblatt looked up and beckoned the Sergeant toward him.
"I would speak with you," he said faintly.
The Sergeant approached, bringing Kalmar along with him.
"You need not fear, I shall not try to escape," said Kalmar.
"I give you my honour."
"Very well," said the Sergeant, turning from him to Rosenblatt.
"What do you wish?"
"Come nearer," said the dying man.
The Sergeant kneeled down and leaned over him to listen. With a
quick movement Rosenblatt jerked the pistol from the Sergeant's
belt and fired straight at old Kalmar, turned the pistol toward
Kalman and fired again. But as he levelled his gun for the second
time, Paulina, with a cry, flung herself upon Kalman, received the
bullet, and fell to the ground. With a wild laugh, Rosenblatt
turned the pistol on himself, but before he could fire the Sergeant
had wrested it from his hand.
"Aha," he gasped, "I have my revenge!"
"Fool!" said old Kalmar, who was being supported by his son.
"Fool! You have only done for me what I would have done for myself."
With a snarl as of a dog, Rosenblatt sank back upon the ground,
and with a shudder lay still.
"He is dead," said Brown. "God's mercy meet him!"
"Ah," said old Kalmar, "I breathe freer now that his breath no longer
taints the air. My work is done."
"Oh, my father," cried Kalman brokenly, "may God forgive you!"
"Boy," said the old man sternly, "mean you for the death of yon dog?
You hang the murderer. He is many times a murderer. This very night
he had willed to murder you and your friend. He was condemned to
death by a righteous tribunal. He has met his just doom. God is just.
I meet Him without fear for this. For my sins, which are many, I
trust His mercy."
"My father," said Kalman, "you are right. I believe you. And God is
merciful. Christ is merciful."
As he spoke, he leaned over, and wiping from his father's face the
tears that fell upon it, he kissed him on the forehead. The old man's
breath was growing short. He looked towards Brown. At once Brown came
"You are a good man. Your religion is good. It makes men just and kind.
Ah, religion is a beautiful thing when it makes men just and kind."
He turned his eyes upon Jack French, who stood looking down sadly
"You have been friend to my son," he said. "You will guide him
French dropped quickly on his knee, took him by the hand and said,
"I will be to him a brother."
The old man turned his face and said, "Paulina."
"She is here," said old Portnoff, "but she can't move."
At the sound of his voice, the woman struggled up to her knees,
crawled over to his side, the blood flowing from her wound,
and taking his hand, held it to her lips.
"Paulina," he said, "you have done well--you are--my wife
again--come near me."
The woman made an inarticulate moan like some dumb beast,
and lifted her face toward him.
"Kiss me," he said.
"Ah, my lord," she cried, sobbing wildly, "my dear lord, I dare not."
"Kiss me," he said again.
"Now let me die," she cried, kissing him on the lips, and falling
down in a faint beside him.
Brown lifted her and laid her in Portnoff's arms. The dying man
lay silent, gathering his strength. He was breathing now with great
"My son! I cannot see you--"
Brown came and took Kalman's place.
"Here I am, father," said Kalman, kneeling beside him and holding
his two hands.
"Bid--my daughter Irma--farewell! She will be safe with you."
Then after a pause he whispered, "In my pocket."
Kalman understood, found a packet, and from it drew the miniature
of his mother.
"I give you this," said the father, lifting it with difficulty to
his lips. "No curse with it now--only blessing--farewell--you have
brought me joy--let me see her face--ah, dear heart--" he said,
fastening his glazing eyes upon the beautiful face, "I come to
you--ah! freedom! sweet freedom at last!--and love--all love!
My son--farewell!--my love!"
"Dear God!" cried Kalman, "Jesu, have pity and save!"
A smile as of an infant falling asleep played over the rugged face,
while the poor lips whispered, "At last--freedom!--and--love!"
He breathed once, deep and long, and then no more. The long,
long fight was done, the fight for freedom and for love.
The Night Hawk Mining Company, after a period of doubt and
struggle, was solidly on its feet at last. True, its dividends were
not large, but at least it was paying its way, and it stood well
among the financial institutions of the country. Its satisfactory
condition was accounted for by its President, Sir Robert Menzies,
at the last Annual Meeting of the Company, in the following words:
"It is to the fidelity, diligence, good judgment, and ability to
handle men, shown by our young Manager, Mr. Kalmar, during the past
five years, that the Company owes its present excellent standing."
The Foreign Colony and the mine reacted upon each other, to their
mutual advantage, the one furnishing labourers, the other work and
cash. The colony had greatly prospered on this account, but perhaps
more on account of the influence of Dr. Brown and his mission. The
establishment of a Government school had relieved the missionary of
an exacting and laborious department of his work, and allowed him
to devote himself to his Hospital and his Training Home. The changes
apparent in the colony, largely as the result of Dr. Brown's labours,
were truly remarkable. The creating of a market for their produce
by the advent of the railway, and for their labour by the development
of the mine, brought the Galician people wealth, but the influence of
Dr. Brown himself, and of his Home, and of his Hospital, was apparent
in the life and character of the people, and especially of the younger
generation. The old mud-plastered cabins were giving place to neat
frame houses, each surrounded by its garden of vegetables and flowers.
In dress, the sheep skin and the shawl were being exchanged for the
ready-made suit and the hat of latest style. The Hospital, with its
staff of trained nurses under the direction of the young matron,
the charming Miss Irma, by its ministrations to the sick, and more
by the spirit that breathed through its whole service, wrought in
the Galician mind a new temper and a new ideal. In the Training Home
fifty Galician girls were being indoctrinated into that most noble of
all sciences, the science of home-making, and were gaining practical
experience in all the cognate sciences and arts.
At the Night Hawk ranch too were all the signs of the new order of
things. Fenced fields and imported stock, a new ranch house with
stables and granaries, were some of the indications that the coming
of the market for the produce of the ranch had synchronized with
the making of the man for its administration. The call of the New
Time, and the appeal of the New Ideal, that came through the railroad,
the mine, but, more than both, through the Mission and its founder,
found a response in the heart of Jack French. The old laissez faire
of the pioneer days gave place to a sense of responsibility for
opportunity, and to habits of decisive and prompt attention to the
business of the hour. Five years of intelligent study of conditions,
of steady application to duty, had brought success not in wealth alone,
but in character and in influence.
But upon Kalman, more than upon any other, these five years had
left their mark. The hard grind of daily work, the daily burden
of administration, had toughened the fibre of his character and
hardened the temper of his spirit, and this hardening and
toughening could be seen in every line of his face and in every
motion of his body. Twice during the five years he had been sent
by Jack French to the city for a three months' term in a Business
College, where he learned to know, not only the books of his
College curriculum, but, through Jack's introductions, the men who
were doing big things for the country. He had returned to his place
and to his work in the mine with vision enlarged, ideal exalted,
and with the purpose strengthened to make the best out of life. In
every sense the years had made a man of him. He was as tall as Jack,
lithe and strong; in mind keen and quick, in action resolute. To
those he met in the world of labour and of business he seemed hard.
To his old friends on the ranch or at the Mission, up through all
the hardness there welled those springs that come from a heart kind,
loyal, and true. Among the Galicians of the colony, he was their
acknowledged leader, because he did justly by them and because,
although a Canadian among Canadians, he never forgot to own and
to honour the Slav blood that flowed in his veins, and to labour
for the advancement of his people.
But full of work and ambition as he was, yet there were times when
Jack French read in his eyes the hunger of his heart. For after all,
it is in the heart a man carries his life, it is through the heart
come his finest ideals, from the heart his truest words and deeds.
At one such time, and the week before she came again, Jack French,
looking through the window of his own heart and filled with a great
pity for the young man who had come to be more than brother to him,
had ventured to speak. But only once, for with such finality of tone
and manner as made answer impossible, Kalman had made reply.
"No, Jack, I had my dream. It was great while it lasted,
but it is past, and I shall dream no more."
"Kalman, my boy, don't make a mistake. Life is a long thing,
and can be very dreary." There was no mistaking the pain in
"Is it, Jack?" said Kalman. "I am afraid you are right. But I
can never forget--my father was a foreigner, and I am one, and
the tragedy of that awful night can never be wiped from her mind.
The curse of it I must bear!"
"But, Kalman, you are not ashamed of your blood--of your father?"
Then Kalman lifted up his head and his voice rang out. "Of my
blood? No. But it is not hers. Of my father? No. To me he was
the just avenger of a great cause. But to her," his voice sank to
a hoarse whisper, "he was a murderer! No, Jack, it may not be."
"But, Kalman, my boy," remonstrated Jack, "think of all--"
"Think? For these five years I have thought till my heart is sore
with thinking! No, Jack, don't fret. I don't. Thank God there are
other things. There is work, a people to help, a country to serve."
"Other things!" said French bitterly. "True, there are, and great
things, but, Kalman, boy, I have tried them, and to-night after
thirty years, as I speak to you--my God!--my heart is sick of
hunger for something better than things! Love! my boy, love is
"Poor Jack!" said Kalman softly, "dear old boy!" and went out.
But of that hunger of the heart they never spoke again.
And now at the end of five years' absence she was coming again.
How vivid to Kalman was his remembrance of the last sight he had
of her. It was at the Night Hawk ranch, and on the night succeeding
that of the tragedy at the mine. In the inner room, beside his
father's body, he was sitting, his mind busy with the tragic pathos
of that grief-tortured, storm-beaten life. Step by step, as far as
he knew it, he was tracing the tear-wet, blood-stained path that life
had taken; its dreadful scenes of blood and heart agony were passing
before his mind; when gradually he became aware that in the next room
the Sergeant, with bluff and almost brutal straightforwardness, was
telling her the story of Rosenblatt's dreadful end. "And then, begad!
after grilling the wretch for all that time, didn't the infernal,
bloodthirsty fiend in the most cheerful manner touch off the powder
and blow the man into eternity." Then through the thin partition he
heard her faint cry of horror. He remembered how, at the Sergeant's
description of his father, something seemed to go wrong in his brain.
He had a dim remembrance of how, dazed with rage, he had felt his
way out to the next room, and cried, "You defamer of the dead! you
will lie no more!" He had a vivid picture of how in horror she had
fled from him while he dragged out the Sergeant by the throat into
the night, and how he had been torn from him by the united efforts
of Brown and French together. He remembered how, after the funeral
service, when he had grown master of himself again, he had offered
the Sergeant his humble apology before them all. But most vivid of
all was his memory of the look of fear and repulsion in her eyes
when he came near her. And that was the last look he had had of
her. Gladly would he have run away from meeting her again; but
this he could not do, for Jack's sake and for his own. Carefully
he rehearsed the scene, what he would say, and how he would carry
himself; with what rigid self-control and with what easy
indifference he would greet her.
But the meeting was quite other than he had planned. It was at the
mine. One shiny September morning the heavy cars were just starting
down the incline to the mine below, when through the carelessness of
the operator the brake of the great drum slipped, and on being
applied again with reckless force, broke, and the car was off,
bringing destruction to half a dozen men at the bottom of the
shaft. Quick as a flash of light, Kalman sprang to the racing cog
wheels, threw in a heavy coat that happened to be lying near, and
then, as the machinery slowed, thrust in a handspike and checked
the descent of the runaway car. It took less than two seconds to
see, to plan, to execute.
"Great work!" exclaimed a voice behind him.
He turned and saw Sir Robert Menzies, and between him and French,
his daughter Marjorie.
"Glad to see you, Sir Robert," he exclaimed heartily.
"That was splendid!" said his daughter, pale and shaken by what
she had seen.
One keen searching look he thrust in through her eyes, scanning her
soul. Bravely, frankly, she gave him back his look. Kalman drew a
deep breath. It was as if he had been on a long voyage of discovery,
how long he could not tell. But what he had seen brought comfort to
his heart. She had not shrunk from him.
"That was fine!" cried Marjorie again, offering him her hand.
"I am afraid," he said, holding back his, "that my hand is not
clean enough to shake with you."
"Give it to me," she said almost imperiously. "It is the hand of
a brave man and good."
Her tone was one of warm and genuine admiration. All Kalman's
practised self-control deserted him. He felt the hot blood rising
in his face. With a great effort he regained command of himself
and began pointing out the features of interest in the mine.
"Great changes have taken place in the last five years," she said,
looking down the ravine, disfigured by all the sordid accompaniments
of a coal mine.
"Yes, great changes," said Kalman.
"At Wakota, too, there are great changes," she said, walking a
little apart from the others. "That Mr. Brown has done wonderful
things for those foreigners."
"Yes," said Kalman proudly, "he has done great things for my people."
"They are becoming good Canadians," replied Marjorie, her colour
showing that she had noted his tone and meaning.
"Yes, they will be good Canadians," said Kalman. "They are good
Canadians now. They are my best men. None can touch them in the
mine, and they are good farmers too."
"I am sure they are," cried Marjorie heartily. "How wonderful the
power of this country of yours to transform men! It is a wonderful
"That it is," cried Kalman with enthusiasm. "No man can tell, for
no man knows the magnificence of its possibilities. We have only
skirted round the edge and scratched its surface."
"It is a fine thing," said Marjorie, "to have a country to be made,
and it is fine to be a man and have a part in the making of it."
"Yes," agreed Kalman, "it is fine."
"I envy you," cried Marjorie with enthusiasm.
A shadow fell on Kalman's face. "I don't know that you need to,
Then she said good-by, leaving him with heart throbbing and nerves
tingling to his finger tips. Ah, how dear she was! What mad folly
to think he could forget her! Every glance of her eye, every tone
in her soft Scotch voice, every motion of hand and body, how
familiar they all were! Like the faint elusive perfume from the
clover fields of childhood, they smote upon his senses with
intoxicating power. Standing there tingling and trembling, he made
one firm resolve. Never would he see her again. To-morrow he would
make a long-planned trip to the city. He dared not wait another
day. To-morrow? No, that was Sunday. He would spend one full happy
day in that ravine seeking to recatch the emotions that had
thrilled his boy's heart on that great night five years ago, and
having thus filled his heart, he would take his departure without
seeing her again.
It was the custom of the people of the ranch to spend Sunday
afternoon at the Mission. So without a word even to French, calling
his dogs, Captain and Queen, Kalman rode down the trail that led
past the lake and toward the Night Hawk ravine. By that same trail
he had gone on that memorable afternoon, and though five years had
passed, the thoughts, the imaginings of that day, were as freshly
present with him as if it had been but yesterday. And though they
were the thoughts and imaginings of a mere boy, yet to-day they
seemed to him good and worthy of his manhood.
Down the trail, well beaten now, through the golden poplars he
rode, his dogs behind him, till he reached the pitch of the ravine.
There, where he had scrambled down, a bridle path led now. It was
very different, and yet how much remained unchanged. There was the
same glorious sun raining down his golden beams upon the yellow
poplar leaves, the same air, sweet and genial, in him the same
heart, and before him the same face, but sweeter it seemed, and
eyes the same that danced with every sunbeam and lured him on. He
was living again the rapture of his boyhood's first great passion.
At the mine's mouth he paused. Not a feature remained of the cave
that he had discovered five years ago, but sitting there upon his
horse, how readily he reconstructed the scene! Ah, how easy it was!
Every line of that cave, the new fresh earth, the gleaming black
seam, the very stones in the walls, he could replace. Carefully,
deliberately, he recalled the incidents of the evening spent in the
cave: the very words she spoke; how her lips moved as she spoke
them; how her eyes glanced, now straight at him, now from under the
drooping lids; how she smiled, how she wept, how she laughed aloud;
how her face shone with the firelight playing on it, and the soul
light radiating through it. He revelled in the memory of it all.
There was the very spot where Mr. Penny had lain in vocal slumber.
Here he had stood with the snowstorm beating on his face. He
resolved to trace step by step the path he had taken that night,
and to taste again the bliss of which he had drunk so deep. And all
the while, as he rode down the gorge, underneath the rapture of
remembering, he was conscious of an exquisite pain. But he would
go through with it. He would not allow the pain to spoil his day,
his last day near her. Down by the running water, as on that night,
underneath and through the crowding trees, out to where the gorge
widened into the valley, he rode. When hark! He paused. Was that
Queen's bay? Surely it was. "A wolf?" he thought. "No, there are
none left in the glen." He shrank from meeting any one that
afternoon. He waited to hear again that deep, soft trumpet note,
and strained his ear for voices. But all was still except for the
falling of a ripe leaf now and then through the trees. He hated
to give up the afternoon he had planned.
He rode on. He reached the more open timber. He remembered that
it was here he had first caught the sound of voices behind that
blinding drift. Through the poplars he pressed his horse. It was
at this very spot that, through an opening in the storm, he had
first caught sight--what! His heart stood still, and then leaped
into his throat. There, on the very spot where he had seen her
that night, she stood again to-day! Was it a vision of his fond
imagination? He passed his hand over his eyes. No, she was there
still! standing among the golden poplars, the sunlight falling
all around her. With all his boyhood's frenzy in his heart, he
gazed at her till she turned and looked toward him. A moment
more, with his spurs into his horse's side, he crashed through
the scrub and was at her side.
"You! you!" he cried, in the old cry. "Marjorie! Marjorie!"
Once more he had her in his arms. Once more he was kissing her
face, her eyes, her lips. Once more she was crying, "Oh, Kalman!
Stop! You must stop! You must stop!" And then, as before, she laid
her head upon his breast, sobbing, "When I saw the dogs I feared
you would come, but I could not run away. Oh, you must stop! Oh,
I am so happy!" And then he put her from him and looked at her.
"Marjorie," he said, "tell me it is no dream, that it is you, that
you are mine! Yes," he shouted aloud, "do you hear me? You are mine!
Before Heaven I say it! No man, nothing shall take you from me!"
"Hush, Kalman!" she cried, coming to him and laying her hand upon
his lips; "they are just down by the river there."
"Who are they? I care not who they are, now that you are mine!"
"And oh, how near I was to losing you!" she cried. "You were going
away to-morrow, and I should have broken my heart."
"Ah, dear heart! How could I know?" he said. "How could I know you
could ever love a foreigner, the son of a--"
"The son of a hero, who paid out his life for a great cause," she
cried with a sob. "Oh, Kalman, I have been there. I have seen the
people, your father's people."
Kalman's face was pale, his voice shaking. "You have seen? You
understand? You do not shrink from me?" He felt his very soul
trembling in the balance.
"Shrink from you!" she cried in scorn. "Were I Russian, I should
be like your father!"
"Now God be thanked!" cried Kalman. "That fear is gone. I fear
nothing else. Ah, how brave you are, sweetheart!"
"Stop, Kalman! Man, man, you are terrible. Let me go! They are
"Hello there! Steady all." It was Brown's voice. "Now, then,
Awhile they stood side by side, then Marjorie came shyly to
"I didn't mean to, father," she said penitently, "not a bit.
But I couldn't help myself. He just made me."
Sir Robert kissed her.
Kalman stepped forward. "And I couldn't help it, Sir," he said.
"I tried my best not to. Will you give her to me?"
"Listen to him, now, will you?" said Sir Robert, shaking him warmly
by the hand. "It wasn't the fault of either of them."
"Quite true, Sir," said French gravely. "I'm afraid it was partly
mine. I saw the dogs--I thought it would be good for us three to
take the other trail."
"Blame me, Sir," said Brown penitently. "It was I who helped to
conquer her aversion to the foreigner by showing her his many
excellences. Yes," continued Brown in a reminiscent manner,
"I seem to recall how a certain young lady into these ears made
solemn declaration that never, never could she love one of those
"Ah," said Marjorie with sweet and serious emphasis, "but not my
foreigner, my Canadian foreigner."