Part 4 out of 10
of my voice will help?''
``I am accustomed to working when people talk, and it
will be a comfort. I may be able to follow you, and that
will prevent me from thinking. There are dreadful things
in my mind when they are not driven out. Please talk!
Tell me about the herbs you gathered this morning.''
The Harvester gave the Girl one long look as she bent
over her work. He was vividly conscious of the graceful
curves of her little figure, the coil of dark, silky hair,
softly waving around her temples and neck, and when her
eyes turned in his direction he knew that it was only the
white, drawn face that restrained him. He was almost
forced to tell her how he loved and longed for her; about
the home he had prepared; of a thousand personal
interests. Instead, he took a firm grip and said casually,
``Foxglove harvest is over. This plant has to be taken
when the leaves are in second year growth and at bloom
time. I have stripped my mullein beds of both leaves
and flowers. I finished a week ago. Beyond lies a
stretch of Parnassus grass that made me think of you,
it was so white and delicate. I want you to see it. It
will be lovely in a few weeks more.''
``You never had seen me a week ago.''
``Oh hadn't I?'' said the Harvester. ``Well maybe
I dreamed about you then. I am a great dreamer.
Once I had a dream that may interest you some day,
after you've overcome your fear of me. Now this bed
of which I was speaking is a picture in September. You
must arrange to drive home with me and see it then.''
``For what do you sell foxglove and mullein?''
``Foxglove for heart trouble, and mullein for catarrh.
I get ten cents a pound for foxglove leaves and five for
mullein and from seventy-five to a dollar for flowers
of the latter, depending on how well I preserve the colour
in drying them. They must be sealed in bottles and
handled with extreme care.''
``Then if I wasn't too childish to be out picking them,
I could be earning seventy-five cents a pound for mullein
``Yes,'' said the Harvester, ``but until you learned the
trick of stripping them rapidly you scarcely could gather
what would weigh two pounds a day, when dried. Not
to mention the fact that you would have to stand and
work mostly in hot sunshine, because mullein likes open
roads and fields and sunny hills. Now you can sit securely
in the shade, and in two hours you can make me a
pattern of that moth, for which I would pay a designer
of the arts and crafts shop five dollars, so of course you
shall have the same.''
``Oh no!'' she cried in swift panic. ``You were charged
too much! It isn't worth a dollar, even!''
``On the contrary the candlestick on which I shall
use it will be invaluable when I finish it, and five is
very little for the cream of my design. I paid just
right. You can earn the same for all you can do. If
you can embroider linen, they pay good prices for that,
too and wood carving, metal work, or leather things.
May I see how you are coming on?''
``Please do,'' she said.
The Harvester sprang up and looked over the Girl's
shoulder. He could not suppress an exclamation of
``Perfect!'' he cried. ``You can surpass their best
drafting at the shop! Your fortune is made. Any time
you want to go to Onabasha you can make enough to
pay your board, dress you well, and save something every
week. You must leave here as soon as you can manage
it. When can you go?''
``I don't know,'' she said wearily. ``I'd hate to tell
you how full of aches I am. I could not work much just
now, if I had the best opportunities in the world. I
must grow stronger.''
``You should not work at anything until you are well,''
he said. ``It is a crime against nature to drive yourself.
Why will you not allow----''
``Do you really think, with a little practice, I can
draw designs that will sell?''
The Harvester picked up the sheet. The work was
delicate and exact. He could see no way to improve it.
``You know it will sell,'' he said gently, ``because you
already have sold such work.''
``But not for the prices you offer.''
``The prices I name are going to be for NEW, ORIGINAL
DESIGNS. I've got a thousand in my head, that old
Mother Nature shows me in the woods and on the water
``But those are yours; I can't take them.''
``You must,'' said the Harvester. ``I only see and
recognize studies; I can't materialize them, and until
they are drawn, no one can profit by them. In this
partnership we revolutionize decorative art. There
are actually birds besides fat robins and nondescript
swallows. The crane and heron do not monopolize the water.
Wild rose and golden-rod are not the only flowers. The
other day I was gathering lobelia. The seeds are used
in tonic preparations. It has an upright stem with
flowers scattered along it. In itself it is not much, but
close beside it always grows its cousin, tall bell-flower.
As the name indicates, the flowers are bell shape and
I can't begin to describe their grace, beauty, and delicate
blue colour. They ring my strongest call to worship.
My work keeps me in the woods so much I remain
there for my religion also. Whenever I find these
flowers I always pause for a little service of my own
that begins by reciting these lines:
`` 'Neath cloistered boughs, each floral bell that swingeth
And tolls its perfume on the passing air,
Makes Sabbath in the fields, and ever ringeth
A call to prayer.''
``Beautiful!'' said the Girl.
``It's mighty convenient,'' explained the Harvester.
``By my method, you see, you don't have to wait for
your day and hour of worship. Anywhere the blue bell
rings its call it is Sunday in the woods and in your heart.
After I recite that, I pray my prayer.''
``Go on!'' said the Girl. ``This is no place to stop.''
``It is always one and the same prayer, and there are
only two lines of it,'' said the Harvester. ``It runs this
way---- Let me take your pencil and I will write it
He bent over her shoulder, and traced these lines on
a scrap of the wrapping paper:
``Almighty Evolver of the Universe:
Help me to keep my soul and body clean,
And at all times to do unto others as I would be done by.
The Girl took the slip and sat studying it; then she
raised her eyes to his face curiously, but with a tinge of
awe in them.
``I can see you standing over a blue, bell-shaped
flower reciting those exquisite lines and praying this
wonderful prayer,'' she said. ``Yesterday you allowed
the moth you were willing to pay five dollars for a drawing
of, to go, because you wouldn't risk breaking its wings.
Why you are more like a woman!''
A red stream crimsoned the Harvester's face.
``Well heretofore I have been considered strictly
masculine,'' he said. ``To appreciate beauty or to try to
be just commonly decent is not exclusively feminine.
You must remember there are painters, poets, musicians,
workers in art along almost any line you could
mention, and no one calls them feminine, but there is
one good thing if I am. You need no longer fear me.
If you should see me, muck covered, grubbing in the
earth or on a raft washing roots in the lake, you would
not consider me like a woman.''
``Would it be any discredit if I did? I think not.
I merely meant that most men would not see or hear
the blue bell at all----and as for the poem and prayer!
If the woods make a man with such fibre in his soul,
I must learn them if they half kill me.''
``You harp on death. Try to forget the word.''
``I have faced it for months, and seen it do its grinding
worst very recently to the only thing on earth I loved or
that loved me. I have no desire to forget! Tell me
more about the plants.''
``Forgive me,'' said the Harvester gently. ``Just
now I am collecting catnip for the infant and nervous
people, hoarhound for colds and dyspepsia, boneset heads
and flowers for the same purpose. There is a heavy head
of white bloom with wonderful lacy leaves, called yarrow.
I take the entire plant for a tonic and blessed thistle
leaves and flowers for the same purpose.''
``That must be what I need,'' interrupted the Girl.
``Half the time I believe I have a little fever, but I
couldn't have dyspepsia, because I never want anything
to eat; perhaps the tonic would make me hungry.''
``Promise me you will tell that to the doctor who
comes to see your aunt, and take what he gives you.''
``No doctor comes to see my aunt. She is merely
playing lazy to get out of work. There is nothing the
matter with her.''
``My uncle says that. Really, she could not stand and
walk across a room alone. She is simply worn out.''
``I shall report the case,'' said the Harvester instantly.
``You better not!'' said the Girl. ``There must be a
mistake about you knowing my uncle. Tell me more
of the flowers.''
The Harvester drew a deep breath and continued:
``These I just have named I take at bloom time;
next month come purple thorn apple, jimson weed, and
``Isn't that poison?''
``Half the stuff I handle is.''
``Aren't you afraid?''
``Terribly,'' said the Harvester in laughing voice.
``But I want the money, the sick folk need the medicine,
and I drink water.''
The Girl laughed also.
``Look here!'' said the Harvester. ``Why not tell
me just as closely as you can about your aunt, and
let me fix something for her; or if you are afraid to
trust me, let me have my friend of whom I spoke yesterday.''
``Perhaps I am not so much afraid as I was,'' said
the Girl. ``I wish I could! How could I explain where
I got it and I wonder if she would take it.''
``Give it to her without any explanation,'' said the
Harvester. ``Tell her it will make her stronger and she
must use it. Tell me exactly how she is, and I will fix
up some harmless remedies that may help, and can do
``She simply has been neglected, overworked, and
abused until she has lain down, turned her face to the
wall, and given up hope. I think it is too late. I
think the end will come soon. But I wish you would
try. I'll gladly pay----''
``Don't!'' said the Harvester. ``Not for things that
grow in the woods and that I prepare. Don't think of
money every minute.''
``I must,'' she said with forced restraint. ``It is the
price of life. Without it one suffers----horribly----
as I know. What other plants do you gather?''
``Saffron,'' answered the Harvester. ``A beautiful
thing! You must see it. Tall, round stems, lacy, delicate
leaves, big heads of bright yellow bloom, touched
with colour so dark it appears black--one of the loveliest
plants that grows. You should see my big bed of it in
a week or two more. It makes a picture.''
The words recalled him to the Girl. He turned to
study her. He forgot his commission and chafed at
conventions that prevented his doing what he saw was
required so urgently. Fearing she would notice, he
gazed away through the forest and tried to think, to
``You are not making noise enough,'' she said.
So absorbed was the Harvester he scarcely heard her.
In an attempt to obey he began to whistle softly. A
tiny goldfinch in a nest of thistle down and plant fibre
in the branching of a bush ten feet above him stuck her
head over the brim and inquired, ``P'tseet?'' ``Pt'see!''
answer the Harvester. That began the duet. Before
the question had been asked and answered a half dozen
times a catbird intruded its voice and hearing a reply
came through the bushes to investigate. A wren followed
and became very saucy. From----one could not see
where, came a vireo, and almost at the same time a
chewink had something to say.
Instantly the Harvester answered. Then a blue jay
came chattering to ascertain what all the fuss was about,
and the Harvester carried on a conversation that called
up the remainder of the feathered tribe. A brilliant
cardinal came tearing through the thicket, his beady
black eyes snapping, and demanded to know if
any one were harming his mate, brooding under a
wild grape leaf in a scrub elm on the river embankment.
A brown thrush silently slipped like a snake between
shrubs and trees, and catching the universal excitement,
began to flirt his tail and utter a weird, whistling
With one eye on the bird, and the other on the Girl
sitting in amazed silence, the Harvester began working
for effect. He lay quietly, but in turn he answered a
dozen birds so accurately they thought their mates were
calling, and closer and closer they came. An oriole in
orange and black heard his challenge, and flew up the
river bank, answering at steady intervals for quite a
time before it was visible, and in resorting to the last
notes he could think of a quail whistled ``Bob White''
and a shitepoke, skulking along the river bank, stopped
and cried, ``Cowk, cowk!''
At his limit of calls the Harvester changed his notes
and whistled and cried bits of bird talk in tone with
every mellow accent and inflection he could manage.
Gradually the excitement subsided, the birds flew and
tilted closer, turned their sleek heads, peered with bright
eyes, and ventured on and on until the very bravest,
the wren and the jay, were almost in touch. Then,
tired of hunting, Belshazzar came racing and the little
feathered people scattered in precipitate flight.
``How do you like that kind of a noise?'' inquired the
The Girl drew a deep breath.
``Of course you know that was the most exquisite
sight I ever saw,'' she said. ``I never shall forget it.
I did not think there were that many different birds in
the whole world. Of all the gaudy colours! And they
came so close you could have reached out and touched
``Yes,'' said the Harvester calmly. ``Birds are never
afraid of me. At Medicine Woods, when I call them
like that, many, most of them, in fact, eat from my
hand. If you ever have looked at me enough to notice
bulgy pockets, they are full of wheat. These birds
are strangers, but I'll wager you that in a week I can
make them take food from me. Of course, my own
birds know me, because they are around every day.
It is much easier to tame them in winter, when the
snow has fallen and food is scarce, but it only takes
a little while to win a bird's confidence at any
``Birds don't know what there is to be afraid of,''
``Your pardon,'' said the Harvester, ``but I am familiar
with them, and that is not correct. They have more
to fear than human beings. No one is going to kill you
merely to see if he can shoot straight enough to hit.
Your life is not in danger because you have magnificent
hair that some woman would like for an ornament.
You will not be stricken out in a flash because there are
a few bits of meat on your frame some one wants to eat.
No one will set a seductive trap for you, and, if you are
tempted to enter it, shut you from freedom and natural
diet, in a cage so small you can't turn around without
touching bars. You are in a secure and free position
compared with the birds. I also have observed that
they know guns, many forms of traps, and all of them
decide by the mere manner of a man's passing
through the woods whether he is a friend or an
enemy. Birds know more than many people realize.
They do not always correctly estimate gun range, they
are foolishly venturesome at times when they want
food, but they know many more things than most
people give them credit for understanding. The greatest
trouble with the birds is they are too willing
to trust us and be friendly, so they are often
``That sounds as if you were right,'' said the Girl.
``I am of the woods, so I know I am,'' answered the
``Will you look at this now?''
He examined the drawing closely.
``Where did you learn?'' he inquired.
``My mother. She was educated to her finger tips.
She drew, painted, played beautifully, sang well, and she
had read almost all the best books. Besides what I learned
at high school she taught me all I know. Her embroidery
always brought higher prices than mine, try as I
might. I never saw any one else make such a dainty,
accurate little stitch as she could.''
``If this is not perfect, I don't know how to criticise
it. I can and will use it in my work. But I have one
luna cocoon remaining and I would give ten dollars for
such a drawing of the moth before it flies. It may open
to-night or not for several days. If your aunt should
be worse and you cannot come to-morrow and the moth
emerges, is there any way in which I could send it to
``What could I do with it?''
``I thought perhaps you could take a piece of paper
and the pencils with you, and secure an outline
in your room. It need not be worked up with
all the detail in this. Merely a skeleton sketch would
do. Could I leave it at the house or send it with
``No! Oh no!'' she cried. ``Leave it here. Put it
in a box in the bushes where I hid the books.
What are you going to do with these things?''
``Hide them in the thicket and scatter leaves over
``What if it rains?''
``I have thought of that. I brought a few yards of
oilcloth to-day and they will be safe and dry if it pours.''
``Good!'' she said. ``Then if the moth comes out
you bring it, and if I am not here, put it under the cloth
and I will run up some time in the afternoon. But
if I were you, I would not spread the rug until you
know if I can remain. I have to steal every minute I
am away, and any day uncle takes a notion to stay at
home I dare not come.''
``Try to come to-morrow. I am going to bring some
medicine for your aunt.''
``Put it under the cloth if I am not here; but I will
come if I can. I must go now; I have been away far
The Harvester picked up one of the drug pamphlets,
laid the drawing inside it, and placed it with his other
books. Then he drew out his pocket book and laid a
five-dollar bill on the table and began folding up the
chair and putting away the things. The Girl looked at
the money with eager eyes.
``Is that honestly what you would pay at the arts
and crafts place?''
``It is the customary price for my patterns.''
``And are you sure this is as good?''
``I can bring you some I have paid that for, and let
you see for yourself that it is better.''
``I wish you would!'' she cried eagerly. ``I need that
money, and I would like to have it dearly, if I really have
earned it, but I can't touch it if I have not.''
``Won't you accept my word?''
``No. I will see the other drawings first, and if I
think mine are as good, I will be glad to take the money
``What if you can't come?''
``Put them under the oilcloth. I watch all the time
and I think Uncle Henry has trained even the boys so
they don't play in the river on his land. I never see a
soul here; the woods, house, and everything is desolate
until he comes home and then it is like----'' she paused.
``I'll say it for you,'' said the Harvester promptly.
``Then it is like hell.''
``At its worst,'' supplemented the Girl. Taking pencils
and a sheet of paper she went swiftly through the woods.
Before she left the shelter of the trees, the Harvester
saw her busy her hands with the front of her dress, and
he knew that she was concealing the drawing material.
The colour box was left, and he said things as he put
it with the chair and table, covered them with the rug
and oilcloth, and heaped on a layer of leaves.
Then he drove to the city and Betsy turned at the
hospital corner with no interference. He could face his
friend that day. Despite all discouragements he felt
reassured. He was progressing. Means of communication
had been established. If she did not come,
he could leave a note and tell her if the moth had not
emerged and how sorry he was to have missed seeing
``Hello, lover!'' cried Doctor Carey as the Harvester
entered the office. ``Are you married yet?''
``No. But I'm going to be,'' said the Harvester with
``Have you asked her?''
``No. We are getting acquainted. She is too close to
trouble, too ill, and too worried over a sick relative for
me to intrude myself; it would be brutal, but it's a
temptation. Doc, is there any way to compel a man to provide
medical care for his wife?''
``Can he afford it?''
``Amply. Anything! Worth thousands in land and
nobody knows what in money. It's Henry Jameson.''
``The meanest man I ever knew. If he has a wife it's
a marvel she has survived this long. Won't he provide
``I suppose he thinks he has when she has a bed to lie
on and a roof to cover her. He won't supply food she
can eat and medicine. He says she is lazy.''
``What do you think?''
``I quote Miss Jameson. She says her aunt is slowly
dying from overwork and neglect.''
``David, doesn't it seem pretty good, when you say
``Loveliest sound on earth, except the remainder of it.''
``Jove! That is a beautiful name. Ruth Langston.
It will go well, won't it?''
``Music that the birds, insects, Singing Water, the
trees, and the breeze can't ever equal. I'm holding on
with all my might, but it's tough, Doc. She's in such a
dreadful place and position, and she needs so much.
She is sick. Can't you give me a prescription for each
``You just bet I can,'' said the doctor, ``if you can
engineer their taking them.''
``I suppose you'd hold their noses and pour stuff down
``I would if necessary.''
``Well, it is.''
``All right----I'll fix something, and you see that
they use it.''
``I can try,'' said the Harvester.
``Try! Pah! You aren't half a man!''
``That's a half more than being a woman, anyway.''
``She called you feminine, did she?'' cried the doctor,
dancing and laughing. ``She ought to see you harvesting
skunk cabbage and blue flag or when you are angry
The doctor left the room and it was a half hour before
``Try that on them according to directions,'' he said,
handing over a couple of bottles.
``Thank you!'' said the Harvester, ``I will!''
``That sounds manly enough.''
``Oh pother! It's not that I'm not a man, or a laggard
in love; but I'd like to know what you'd do to a girl
dumb with grief over the recent loss of her mother, who
was her only relative worth counting, sick from God
knows what exposure and privation, and now a dying
relative on her hands. What could you do?''
``I'd marry her and pick her out of it!''
``I wouldn't have her, if she'd leave a sick woman for
``I wouldn't either. She's got to stick it out until
her aunt grows better, and then I'll go out there and
show you how to court a girl.''
``I guess not! You keep the girl you did court, courted,
and you'll have your hands full. How does that appear
The Harvester opened the pamphlet he carried and
held up the drawing of the moth.
The doctor turned to the light.
``Good work!'' he cried. ``Did she do that?''
``She did. In a little over an hour.''
``Fine! She should have a chance.''
``She is going to. She is going to have all the
opportunity that is coming to her.''
``Good for you, David! Any time I can help!''
The Harvester replaced the sketch and went to the
wagon; but he left Belshazzar in charge, and visited the
largest dry goods store in Onabasha, where he held a
conference with the floor walker. When he came out he
carried a heaping load of boxes of every size and shape,
with a label on each. He drove to Medicine Woods
singing and whistling.
``She didn't want me to go, Belshazzar!'' he chuckled
to the dog. ``She was more afraid of a cow than she
was of me. I made some headway to-day, old boy.
She doesn't seem to have a ray of an idea what I am
there for, but she is going to trust me soon now; that is
written in the books. Oh I hope she will be there to-
morrow, and the luna will be out. Got half a notion to
take the case and lay it in the warmest place I can find.
But if it comes out and she isn't there, I'll be sorry.
Better trust to luck.''
The Harvester stabled Betsy, fed the stock, and visited
with the birds. After supper he took his purchases
and entered her room. He opened the drawers of the
chest he had made, and selecting the labelled boxes he
laid them in. But not a package did he open. Then
he arose and radiated conceit of himself.
``I'll wager she will like those,'' he commented proudly,
``because Kane promised me fairly that he would have the
right things put up for a girl the size of the clerk I selected
for him, and exactly what Ruth should have. That girl
was slenderer and not quite so tall, but he said everything
was made long on purpose. Now what else should I get?''
He turned to the dressing table and taking a notebook
from his pocket made this list:
Rugs for bed and bath room.
Mattresses, pillows and bedding,
Dresses for all occasions.
All kinds of shoes and overshoes.
``There are gloves, too!'' exclaimed the Harvester.
``She has to have some, but how am I going to know what
is right? Oh, but she needs shoes! High, low, slippers,
everything! I wonder what that clerk wears. I don't
believe shoes would be comfortable without being fitted,
or at least the proper size. I wonder what kind of dresses
she likes. I hope she's fond of white. A woman always
appears loveliest in that. Maybe I'd better buy what
I'm sure of and let her select the dresses. But I'd love
to have this room crammed with girl-fixings when she
comes. Doesn't seem as if she ever has had any little
luxuries. I can't miss it on anything a woman uses.
Let me think!''
Slowly he wrote again:
``I never can get them! I think that will keep me busy
for a few days,'' said the Harvester as he closed the door
softly, and went to look at the pupae cases. Then he
carved on the vine of the candlestick for her dressing
table; with one arm around Belshazzar, re-read the story
of John Muir's dog, went into the lake, and to bed.
Just as he was becoming unconscious the beast lifted an
inquiring head and gazed at the man.
``More 'fraid of cow,'' the Harvester was muttering
in a sleepy chuckle.
When the Harvester saw the Girl coming toward
the woods, he spread the rug, opened and
placed the table and chair, laid out the colour
box, and another containing the last luna.
``Did the green one come out?'' she asked, touching
the box lightly.
``It did!'' said the Harvester proudly, as if he were
responsible for the performance. ``It is an omen! It
means that I am to have my long-coveted pattern for
my best candlestick. It also clearly indicates that
the gods of luck are with me for the day, and I
get my way about everything. There won't be the
least use in your asking `why' or interposing objections.
This is my clean sweep. I shall be fearfully
dictatorial and you must submit, because the fates
have pointed out that they favour me to-day, and
if you go contrary to their decrees you will have a
The Girl's smile was a little wan. She sank on a chair
and picked up a pencil.
``Lay that down!'' cried the Harvester. ``You haven't
had permission from the Dictator to begin drawing. You
are to sit and rest a long time.''
``Please may I speak?'' asked the Girl.
The Harvester grew foolishly happy. Was she really
going to play the game? Of course he had hoped, but
it was a hope without any foundation.
``You may,'' he said soberly.
``I am afraid that if you don't allow me to draw the
moth at once, I'll never get it done. I dislike to mention
it on your good day, but Aunt Molly is very restless. I
got a neighbour's little girl to watch her and call me if
I'm wanted. It's quite certain that I must go soon, so if
you would like the moth----''
``When luck is coming your way, never hurry it! You
always upset the bowl if you grow greedy and crowd.
If it is a gamble whether I get this moth, I'll take the
chance; but I won't change my foreordained programme
for this afternoon. First, you are to sit still ten minutes,
shut your eyes, and rest. I can't sing, but I can whistle,
and I'm going to entertain you so you won't feel alone.
The Girl leaned her elbows on the table, closed her
eyes, and pressed her slender white hands over them.
``Please don't call the birds,'' she said. ``I can't rest
if you do. It was so exciting trying to see all of them
and guess what they were saying.''
``No,'' said the Harvester gently. ``This ten minutes
is for relaxation, you know. You ease every muscle,
sink limply on your chair, lean on the table, let go all
over, and don't think. Just listen to me. I assure you
it's going to be perfectly lovely.''
Watching intently he saw the strained muscles
relaxing at his suggestion and caught the smile over the
last words as he slid into a soft whistle. It was an
easy, slow, old-fashioned tune, carrying along gently,
with neither heights nor depths, just monotonous, sleepy,
soothing notes, that went on and on with a little ripple
of change at times, only to return to the theme, until at
last the Girl lifted her head.
``It's away past ten minutes,'' she said, ``but that was
a real rest. Truly, I am better prepared for work.''
``Broke the rule, too!'' said the Harvester. ``It was,
for me to say when time was up. Can't you allow me
to have my way for ten minutes?''
``I am so anxious to see and draw this moth,'' she
answered. ``And first of all you promised to bring the
drawings you have been using.''
``Now where does my programme come in?'' inquired
the Harvester. ``You are spoiling everything, and I
refuse to have my lucky day interfered with; therefore
we will ignore the suggestion until we arrive at the place
where it is proper. Next thing is refreshments.''
He arose and coming over cleared the table. Then
he spread on it a paper tray cloth with a gay border,
and going into the thicket brought out a box and a big
bucket containing a jug packed in ice. The Girl's eyes
widened. She reached down, caught up a piece, and
holding it to drip a second started to put it in her mouth.
``Drop that!'' commanded the Harvester. ``That's
a very unhealthful proceeding. Wait a minute.''
From one end of the box he produced a tin of wafers
and from the other a plate. Then he dug into the ice
and lifted several different varieties of chilled fruit. From
the jug he poured a combination that he made of the
juices of oranges, pineapples, and lemons. He set the
glass, rapidly frosting in the heat, and the fruit before
``Now!'' he said.
For one instant she stared at the table. Then she
looked at him and in the depths of her dark eyes was an
appeal he never forgot.
``I made that drink myself, so it's all right,'' he
assured her. ``There's a pretty stiff touch of pineapple
in it, and it cuts the cobwebs on a hot day. Please
``I can't!'' cried the Girl with a half-sob. ``Think of
``Are you fond of her?''
``No. I never saw her until a few weeks ago. Since
then I've seen nothing save her poor, tired back. She lies
in a heap facing the wall. But if she could have things
like these, she needn't suffer. And if my mother could
have had them she would be living to-day. Oh Man,
I can't touch this.''
``I see,'' said the Harvester.
He reached over, picked up the glass, and poured its
contents into the jug. He repacked the fruit and closed
the wafer box. Then he made a trip to the thicket and
came out putting something into his pocket.
``Come on!'' he said. ``We are going to the house.''
She stared at him.
``I simply don't dare.''
``Then I will go alone,'' said the Harvester, picking
up the bucket and starting.
The Girl followed him.
``Uncle Henry may come any minute,'' she urged.
``Well if he comes and acts unpleasantly, he will get
what he richly deserves.''
``And he will make me pay for it afterward.''
``Oh no he won't!'' said the Harvester, ``because I'll
look out for that. This is my lucky day. He isn't going
When he reached the back door he opened it and
stepped inside. Of all the barren places of crude,
disheartening ugliness the Harvester ever had seen, that was
``I want a glass and a spoon,'' he said.
The Girl brought them.
``Where is she?''
``In the next room.''
At the sound of their voices a small girl came to the
``How do you do?'' inquired the Harvester. ``Is Mrs.
``I don't know,'' answered the child. ``She just lies
The Harvester gave her the glass. ``Please fill that
with water,'' he said. Then he picked up the bucket and
went into the front room. When the child came with
the water he took a bottle from his pocket, filled the spoon,
and handed it to her.
``Hold that steadily,'' he said.
Then he slid his strong hands under the light frame and
turned the face of the faded little creature toward him.
``I am a Medicine Man, Mrs. Jameson,'' he said casually.
``I heard you were sick and I came to see if a
little of this stuff wouldn't brace you up. Open your
He held out the spoon and the amazed woman swallowed
the contents before she realized what she was
doing. Then the Harvester ran a hand under her shoulders
and lifting her gently he tossed her pillow with
the other hand.
``You are a light little body, just like my mother,''
he commented. ``Now I have something else sick people
He held the fruit juice to her lips as he slightly raised
her on the pillow. Her trembling fingers lifted and
closed around the sparkling glass.
``Oh it's cool!'' she gasped.
``It is,'' said the Harvester, ``and sour! I think you
can taste it. Try!''
She drank so greedily he drew away the glass and
urged caution, but the shaking fingers clung to him and
the wavering voice begged for more.
``In a minute,'' said the Harvester gently. But the
fevered woman would not wait. She drank the cooling
liquid until she could take no more. Then she watched
him fill a small pitcher and pack it in a part of the ice
and lay some fruit around it.
``Who, Ruth?'' she panted.
``A Medicine Man who heard about you.''
``What will Henry say?''
``He won't know,'' explained the Girl, smoothing the
hot forehead. ``I'll put it in the cupboard, and slip it
to you while he is out of the room. It will make you
strong and well.''
``I don't want to be strong and well and suffer it all
over again. I want to rest. Give me more of the cool
drink. Give me all I want, then I'll go to sleep.''
``It's wonderful,'' said the Girl. ``That's more than
I've heard her talk since I came. She is much stronger.
Please let her have it.''
The Harvester assented. He gave the child some of
the fruit, and told her to sit beside the bed and hold the
drink when it was asked for. She agreed to be very
careful and watchful. Then he picked up the bucket,
and followed by the Girl, returned to the woods.
``Now we have to begin all over again,'' he said, as
she seated herself at the table. ``Because of the walk in
the heat, this time the programme is a little different.''
He replaced the wafer box and opened it, filled the
glass, and heaped the cold fruit.
``Your aunt is going to have a refreshing sleep now,''
he said, ``and your mind can be free about her for an hour
or two. I am very sure your mother would not want you
deprived of anything because she missed it, so you are
to enjoy this, if you care for it. At least try a sample.''
The Girl lifted the glass to her lips with a trembling
``I'm like Aunt Molly,'' she said; ``I wish I could drink
all I could swallow, and then lie down and go to sleep
forever. I suppose this is what they have in Heaven.''
``No, it's what they drink all over earth at present,
but I have a conceit of my own brand. Some of it is
too strong of one fruit or of the other, and all too sweet
for health. This is compounded scientifically and it's
just right. If you are not accustomed to cold drinks,
``You can't scare me,'' said the Girl; ``I'm going to
drink all I want.''
There was a note of excitement in the Harvester's
``You must have some, too!''
``After a while,'' he said. ``I was thirsty when I made
it, so I don't care for any more now. Try the fruit and
those wafers. Of course they are not home made--
they are the best I could do at a bakery. Take time
enough to eat slowly. I'm going to tell you a tale while
you lunch, and it's about a Medicine Man named David
Langston. It's a very peculiar story, but it's quite
true. This man lives in the woods east of Onabasha,
accompanied by his dog, horse, cow, and chickens, and
a forest full of birds, flowers, and matchless trees. He
has lived there in this manner for six long years, and
every spring he and his dog have a seance and agree
whether he shall go on gathering medicinal herbs and
trying his hand at making medicine or go to the city
and live as other men. Always the dog chooses to remain
in the woods.
``Then every spring, on the day the first bluebird comes,
the dog also decides whether the man shall go on alone
or find a mate and bring her home for company. Each
year the dog regularly has decided that they live as
always. This spring, for some unforeseen reason, he
changed his mind, and compelled the man, according to
his vow in the beginning, to go courting. The man was
so very angry at the idea of having a woman in his home,
interfering with his work, disturbing his arrangements,
and perhaps wanting to spend more money than he could
afford, that he struck the dog for making that decision;
struck him for the very first time in his life----I believe
you'd like those apricots. Please try one.''
``Go on with the story,'' said the Girl, sipping
delicately but constantly at the frosty glass.
The Harvester arose and refilled it. Then he dropped
pieces of ice over the fruit.
``Where was I?'' he inquired casually.
``Where you struck Belshazzar, and it's no wonder,''
answered the Girl.
Without taking time to ponder that, the Harvester
``But that night the man had a wonderful, golden
dream. A beautiful girl came to him, and she was so
gracious and lovely that he was sufficiently punished
for striking his dog, because he fell unalterably in love
``Meaning you?'' interrupted the Girl.
``Yes,'' said the Harvester, ``meaning me. I----if
you like----fell in love with the girl. She came so
alluringly, and I was so close to her that I saw her better
than I ever did any other girl, and I knew her for all time.
When she went, my heart was gone.''
``And you have lived without that important organ
``Without even the ghost of it! She took it with her.
Well, that dream was so real, that the next day I began
building over my house, making furniture, and planting
flowers for her; and every day, wherever I went, I watched
``I can't see it.''
``You won't find a girl you dreamed about in a
``Wrong!'' cried the Harvester triumphantly. ``Saw
her in little less than three months, but she vanished and
it took some time and difficult work before I located
her again; but I've got her all solid now, and she doesn't
``Is she a `lovely and gracious lady'?''
``She is!'' said the Harvester, with all his heart.
``Young and beautiful, of course!''
``Please fill this glass. I told you what I was going
The Harvester refilled the glass and the Girl drained it.
``Now won't you set aside these things and allow me
to go to work?'' she asked. ``My call may come any
minute, and I'll never forgive myself if I waste time, and
don't draw your moth pattern for you.''
``It's against my principles to hurry, and besides, my
story isn't finished.''
``It is,'' said the Girl. ``She is young and lovely, gentle
and a lady, you have her `all solid,' and she can't `escape';
that's the end, of course. But if I were you, I wouldn't
have her until I gave her a chance to get away, and saw
whether she would if she could.''
``Oh I am not a jailer,'' said the Harvester. ``She shall
be free if I cannot make her love me; but I can, and I
will; I swear it.''
``You are not truly in earnest?''
``I am in deadly earnest.''
``Honestly, you dreamed about a girl, and found the
``Most certainly, I did.''
``It sounds like the wildest romancing.''
``It is the veriest reality.''
``Well I hope you win her, and that she will be
everything you desire.''
``Thank you,'' said the Harvester. ``It's written in
the book of fate that I succeed. The very elements are
with me. The South Wind carried a message to her for
me. I am going to marry her, but you could make it
much easier for me if you would.''
``I! What could I do?'' cried the Girl.
``You could cease being afraid of me. You could
learn to trust me. You could try to like me, if you see
anything likeable about me. That would encourage me
so that I could tell you of my Dream Girl, and then you
could show me how to win her. A woman always knows
about those things better than a man. You could be the
greatest help in all the world to me, if only you would.''
``I couldn't possibly! I can't leave here. I have no
proper clothing to appear before another girl. She would
be shocked at my white face. That I could help you is
the most improbable dream you have had.''
``You must pardon me if I differ from you, and persist
in thinking that you can be of invaluable assistance to
me, if you will. But you can't influence my Dream
Girl, if you fear and distrust me yourself. Promise me
that you will help me that much, anyway.''
``I'll do all I can. I only want to make you see that
I am in no position to grant any favours, no matter how
much I owe you or how I'd like to. Is the candlestick
you are carving for her?''
``It is,'' said the Harvester. ``I am making a pair of
maple to stand on a dressing table I built for her. It is
unusually beautiful wood, I think, and I hope she will
be pleased with it.''
``Please take these things away and let me begin. This
is the only thing I can see that I can do for you, and the
moth will want to fly before I have finished.''
The Harvester cleared the table and placed the box,
while the Girl spread the paper and began work eagerly.
``I wonder if I knew there were such exquisite things
in all the world,'' she said. ``I scarcely think I did. I am
beginning to understand why you couldn't kill one. You
could make a chair or a table, and so you feel free to destroy
them; but it takes ages and Almighty wisdom to evolve
a creature like this, so you don't dare. I think no one else
would if they really knew. Please talk while I work.''
``Is there a particular subject you want discussed?''
``Anything but her. If I think too strongly of her, I
can't work so well.''
``Your ginseng is almost dry,'' said the Harvester.
``I think I can bring you the money in a few days.''
``So soon!'' she cried.
``It dries day and night in an even temperature, and
faster than you would believe. There's going to be
between seven and eight pounds of it, when I make up
what it has shrunk. It will go under the head of the
finest wild roots. I can get eight for it sure.''
``Oh what good news!'' cried the Girl. ``This is my
lucky day, too. And the little girl isn't coming, so Aunt
Molly must be asleep. Everything goes right! If only
Uncle Henry wouldn't come home!''
``Let me fill your glass,'' proffered the Harvester.
``Just half way, and set it where I can see it,'' said the
Girl. She worked with swift strokes and there was a
hint of colour in her face, as she looked at him. ``I
hope you won't think I'm greedy,'' she said, ``but truly,
that's the first thing I've had that I could taste in----I
can't remember when.''
``I'll bring a barrel to-morrow,'' offered the Harvester,
``and a big piece of ice wrapped in coffee sacking.''
``You mustn't think of such a thing! Ice is expensive
and so are fruits.''
``Ice costs me the time required to saw and pack it at
my home. I almost live on the fruit I raise. I confess
to a fondness for this drink. I have no other personal
expenses, unless you count in books, and a very few
clothes, such as I'm wearing; so I surely can afford all
the fruit juice I want.''
``For yourself, yes.''
``Also for a couple of women or I am a mighty poor
attempt at a man,'' said the Harvester. ``This is my
day, so you are not to talk, because it won't do any good.
Things go my way.''
``Please see what you think of this,'' she said.
The Harvester arose and bent over her.
``That will do finely,'' he answered. ``You can stop.
I don't require all those little details for carving, I just
want a good outline. It is finished. See here!''
He drew some folded papers from his pocket and laid
them before her.
``Those are what I have been working from,'' he said.
The Girl took them and studied each carefully.
``If those are worth five dollars to you,'' she said gently,
``why then I needn't hesitate to take as much for mine.
They are superior.''
``I should say so,'' laughed the Harvester as he took
up the drawing and laid down the money.
``If you would make it half that much I'd feel better
about it,'' she said.
``How could I?'' asked the Harvester. ``Your fingers
are well trained and extremely skilful. Because some
one has not been paying you enough for your work is
no reason why I should keep it up. From now on you
must have what others get. As soon as you can arrange
for work, I want to tell you about some designs I have
studied out from different things, show you the plants
and insects, and have you make some samples. I'll
send them to proper places, and see what experts say
about the ideas and drawing. Work in the woods is
healthful, with proper precautions; it's easy compared
with the exactions of being bound to sewing or embroidering
in the confinement of a room; it's vividly interesting
in the search for new subjects, changes of material, and
differing harmonious combinations; it's truly artistic; and
it brings the prices high grade stuff always does.''
``Almost you give me hope,'' said the Girl. ``Almost,
Man----almost! Since mother died, I haven't thought
or planned beyond paying for the medicine she took and
the shelter she lies in. Oh I didn't mean to say that----!''
She buried her face in her hands. The Harvester
suffered until he scarcely knew how to bear it.
``Please finish,'' he begged. ``You hadn't planned
beyond the debt, you were saying----''
The Girl lifted her tired, strained face.
``Give me a little more of that delicious drink,'' she
said. ``I am ravenous for it. It puts new life in me.
This and what you say bring a far away, misty vision
of a clean, bright, peaceful room somewhere, and work
one could love and live on in comfort; enough to give a
desire to finish life to its natural end. Oh Man, you
make me hope in spite of myself!''
`` `Praise God from whom all blessings flow;' '' quoted
the Harvester reverently. ``Now try one of these peaches.
It's juicy and cold. Get that room right in focus in your
brain, and nurture the idea. Its walls shall be bright
as sunshine, its floor creamy white, and it shall open
into a little garden, where only yellow flowers grow, and
the birds shall sing. The first ray of sun that peeps
over the hills of morning shall fall through its windows
across your bed, and you shall work only as you please,
after you've had months of play and rest; and it's coming
true the instant you can leave here. Dream of
it, make up your mind to it, because it's coming. I
have a little streak of second sight, and I see it on the
``You are talking wildly,'' said the Girl, ``else you are
a good genie trying to conjure a room for me.''
``This room I am talking of is ready whenever you want
to take possession,'' said the Harvester. ``Accept it as
a reality, because I tell you I know where it is, that it
is waiting, and you can earn your way into it with no
obligation to any one.''
The Girl stretched out her right hand and slowly turned
and opened and closed it. Then she glanced at the Harvester
with a weary smile.
``From somewhere I feel a glimmering of the spirit,
but Oh, dear Lord, the flesh is weak!'' she said.
``That's where nourishing foods, appetizing drinks,
plenty of pure, fresh air, and good water come in. Now
we have talked enough for one day, and worked too
much. The fruit and drink go with you. I will carry
it to the house, and you can hide it in your room. I am
going to put a bottle of tonic on top that the best surgeon
in the state gave me for you. Try to eat something
strengthening and then take a spoonful of this, and use
all the fruit you want. I'll bring more to-morrow and
put it here, with plenty of ice. Now suppose you let
the moth go free,'' he suggested to avoid objections.
``You must take my word for it, that it is perfectly harmless,
lacking either sting or bite, and hold your hand before
it, so that it will climb on your fingers. Then stand
where a ray of sunshine falls and in a few minutes it will
go out to live its life.''
The Girl hesitated a second as she studied the clean-cut,
interested face of the man; then she held out her hand,
and he urged the moth to climb on her fingers. She
stepped where a ray of strong light fell on the forest floor
and held the moth in it. The brightness also touched
her transparent hand and white face and the gleaming
black hair. The Harvester choked down a rising surge
of desire for her, and took a new grip on himself.
``Oh!'' she cried breathlessly, as the clinging feet
suddenly loosened and the luna slowly flew away among the
trees. She turned on the Harvester. ``You teach me
wonders!'' she cried. ``You give life different meanings.
You are not as other men.''
``If that be true, it is because I am of the woods. The
Almighty does not evolve all his wonders in animal,
bird, and flower form; He keeps some to work out in
the heart, if humanity only will go to His school, and allow
Him to have dominion. Come now, you must go. I
will come back and put away all the things and tomorrow
I will bring your ginseng money. Any time you
cannot come, if you want to tell me why, or if there is
anything I can do for you, put a line under the oilcloth.
I will carry the bucket.''
``I am so afraid,'' she said.
``I will only go to the edge of the woods. You can
see if there is any one at the house first. If not, you can
send the child away, and then I will carry the bucket to
the door for you, and it will furnish comfort for one night,
They went to the cleared land and the Girl passed on
alone. Soon she reappeared and the Harvester saw the
child going down the road. He took up the bucket and
set it inside the door.
``Is there anything I can do for you?''
``Nothing but go, before you make trouble.''
``Will you hide that stuff and walk back as far as the
woods with me? There is something more I want to
say to you.''
The Girl staggered under the heavy load, and the man
turned his head and tried to pretend he did not see.
Presently she came out to him, and they returned to
the line of the woods. Just as they entered the shade
there was a flash before them, and on a twig a few rods
away a little gray bird alighted, while in precipitate
pursuit came a flaming wonder of red, and in a burst
of excited trills, broken whistles, and imploring gestures,
perched beside her.
The Harvester hastily drew the Girl behind some
``Watch!'' he whispered. ``You are going to see a
sight so lovely and so rare it is vouchsafed to few mortals
ever to behold.''
``What are they fighting about?'' she whispered.
``You are witnessing a cardinal bird declare his love,''
breathed the Harvester.
``Do cardinals love different birds?''
``No. The female is gray, because if she is coloured
the same as the trees and branches and her nest, she
will have more chance to bring off her young in safety.
He is blood red, because he is the bravest, gayest, most
ardent lover of the whole woods,'' explained the Harvester.
The Girl leaned forward breathlessly watching and a
slow surge of colour crept into her cheeks. The red bird
twisted, whistled, rocked, tilted, and trilled, and the gray
sat demurely watching him, as if only half convinced
he really meant it. The gay lover began at the beginning
and said it all over again with more impassioned gestures
than before, and then he edged in touch and softly
stroked her wing with his beak. She appeared startled,
but did not fly. So again the fountain of half-whistled,
half-trilled notes bubbled with the acme of pleading
intonation and that time he leaned and softly kissed her
as she reached her bill for the caress. Then she fled in
headlong flight, while the streak of flame darted after her.
The Girl caught her breath in a swift spasm of surprise
and wonder. She turned to the Harvester.
``What was it you wanted to say to me?'' she asked
The Harvester was not the man to miss the goods the
gods provided. Truly this was his lucky day. Unhesitatingly
he took the plunge.
``Precisely what he said to her. And if you observed
closely, you noticed that she didn't ask him `why.' ''
Before she could open her lips, he was gone, his swift
strides carrying him through the woods.
``THE WAY OF A MAN WITH A MAID''
The next day the Harvester lifted the oilcloth,
and picking up a folded note he read----
``Aunt Molly found rest in the night. She was
more comfortable than she had been since I have known
her. Close the end she whispered to me to thank you
if I ever saw you again. She will be buried to-morrow.
Past that, I dare not think.''
The Harvester sat on the log and studied the lines.
She would not come that day or the next. After a long
time he put the note in his pocket, wrote an answer
telling her he had been there, and would come on the
following day on the chance of her wanting anything
he could do, and the next he would bring the ginseng
money, so she must be sure to meet him.
Then he went back to the wagon, turned Betsy, and
drove around the Jameson land watching closely. There
were several vehicles in the barn lot, and a couple of
men sitting under the trees of the door yard. Faded
bedding hung on the line and women moved through
the rooms, but he could not see the Girl. Slowly he
drove on until he came to the first house, and there he
stopped and went in. He saw the child of the previous
day, and as she came forward her mother appeared in
The Harvester explained who he was and that he was
examining the woods in search of some almost extinct
herbs he needed in his business. Then he told of having
been at the adjoining farm the day before and mentioned
the sick woman. He added that later she had died.
He casually mentioned that a young woman there seemed
pale and ill and wondered if the neighbours would see
her through. He suggested that the place appeared as
if the owner did not take much interest, and when the
woman finished with Henry Jameson, he said how very
important it seemed to him that some good, kind-hearted
soul should go and mother the poor girl, and the woman
thought she was the very person. Without knowing
exactly how he did it, the Harvester left with her promise
to remain with the Girl the coming two nights. The
woman had her hands full of strange and delicious fruit
without understanding why it had been given her, or
why she had made those promises. She thought the
Harvester a remarkably fine young man to take such
interest in strangers and she told him he was welcome
to anything he could find on her place that would help
with his medicines.
The Harvester just happened to be coming from the
woods as the woman freshly dressed left the house, so
he took her in the wagon and drove back to the Jameson
place, because he was going that way. Then he returned
to Medicine Woods and worked with all his might.
First he polished floors, cleaned windows, and arranged
the rooms as best he could inside the cabin; then he
gave a finishing touch to everything outside. He could
not have told why he did it, but he thought it was
because there was hope that now the Girl would come
to Onabasha. If he found opportunity to bring her
to the city, he hoped that possibly he might drive home
with her and show Medicine Woods, so everything must
be in order. Then he worked with flying fingers in the
dry-house, putting up her ginseng for market, and never
was weight so liberal.
The next morning he drove early to Onabasha and
came home with a loaded wagon, the contents of which
he scattered through the cabin where it seemed most
suitable, but the greater part of it was for her. He
glanced at the bare floors and walls of the other rooms,
and thought of trying to improve them, but he was
afraid of not getting the right things.
``I don't know much about what is needed here,''
he said, ``but I am perfectly safe in buying anything a
girl ever used.''
Then he returned to the city, explained the situation
to the doctor, and selected the room he wanted in case
the Girl could be persuaded to come to the hospital.
After that he went to see the doctor's wife, and made
arrangements for her to be ready for a guest, because
there was a possibility he might want to call for help.
He had another jug of fruit juice and all the delicacies
he could think of, also a big cake of ice, when he
reached the woods. There were only a few words for
``I will come to-morrow at two, if at all possible; if
not, keep the money until I can.''
There was nothing to do except to place his offering
under the oilcloth and wait, but he simply was compelled
to add a line to say he would be there, and to express
the hope that she was comfortable as possible and thinking
of the sunshine room. Then he returned to Medicine
Woods to wait, and found that possible only by
working to exhaustion. There were many things he
could do, and one after another he finished them, until
completely worn out; and then he slept the deep sleep
At noon the next day he bathed, shaved, and dressed
in fresh, clean clothing. He stopped in Onabasha for
more fruit, and drove to the Jameson woods. He was
waiting and watching the usual path the Girl followed,
when her step sounded on the other side. The Harvester
arose and turned. Her pallor was alarming. She stepped
on the rug he had spread, and sank almost breathless
to the chair.
``Why do you come a new way that fills you with fear?''
asked the Harvester.
``It seems as if Uncle Henry is watching me every
minute, and I didn't dare come where he could see. I
must not remain a second. You must take these things
away and go at once. He is dreadful.''
``So am I,'' said the Harvester, ``when affairs go too
everlastingly wrong. I am not afraid of any man living.
What are you planning to do?''
``I want to ask you, are you sure about the prices of
my drawing and the ginseng?''
``Absolutely,'' said the Harvester. ``As for the ginseng
it went in fresh and early, best wild roots, and it
brought eight a pound. There were eight pounds when
I made up weight and here is your money.''
He handed her a long envelope addressed to her.
``What is the amount?'' she asked.
``I can't believe it.''
``You have it in your fingers.''
``You know that I would like to thank you properly,
if I had words to express myself.''
``Never mind that,'' said the Harvester. ``Tell me
what you are planning. Say that you will come to the
hospital for the long, perfect rest now.''
``It is absolutely impossible. Don't weary me by
mentioning it. I cannot.''
``Will you tell me what you intend doing?''
`I must,'' she said, ``for it depends entirely on your
word. I am going to get Uncle Henry's supper, and then
go and remain the night with the neighbour who has
been helping me. In the morning, when he leaves, she
is coming with her wagon for my trunk, and she is going
to drive with me to Onabasha and find me a cheap room
and loan me a few things, until I can buy what I need.
I am going to use fourteen dollars of this and my drawing
money for what I am forced to buy, and pay fifty on
my debt. Then I will send you my address and be
ready for work.''
She clutched the envelope and for the first time looked
``Very well,'' said the Harvester. ``I could take you
to the wife of my best friend, the chief surgeon of
the city hospital, and everything would be ease
and rest until you are strong; she would love to have
The Girl dropped her hands wearily.
``Don't tire me with it!'' she cried. ``I am almost
falling despite the stimulus of food and drink I can
touch. I never can thank you properly for that. I
won't be able to work hard enough to show you how
much I appreciate what you have done for me. But
you don't understand. A woman, even a poverty-poor
woman, if she be delicately born and reared, cannot go
to another woman on a man's whim, and when she
lacks even the barest necessities. I don't refuse to meet
your friends. I shall love to, when I can be so dressed
that I will not shame you. Until that times comes, if
you are the gentleman you appear to be, you will wait
without urging me further.''
``I must be a man, in order to be a gentleman,'' said
the Harvester. ``And it is because the man in me is
in hot rebellion against more loneliness, pain, and suffering
for you, that the conventions become chains I do
not care how soon or how roughly I break. If only you
could be induced to say the word, I tell you I could bring
one of God's gentlest women to you.''
``And probably she would come in a dainty gown,
in her carriage or motor, and be disgusted, astonished,
and secretly sorry for you. As for me, I do not require
her pity. I will be glad to know the beautiful, refined,
and gentle woman you are so certain of, but not until
I am better dressed and more attractive in appearance
than now. If you will give me your address, I will write
you when I am ready for work.''
Silently the Harvester wrote it. ``Will you give me
permission to take these things to your neighbour for
you?'' he asked. ``They would serve until you can do
better, and I have no earthly use for them.''
She hesitated. Then she laughed shortly.
``What a travesty my efforts at pride are with you!''
she cried. ``I begin by trying to preserve some proper
dignity, and end by confessing abject poverty. I yet
have the ten you paid me the other day, but twenty-four
dollars are not much to set up housekeeping on, and
I would be more glad than I can say for these very
``Thank you,'' said the Harvester. ``I will take them
when I go. Is there anything else?''
``I think not.''
``Will you have a drink?''
``Yes, if you have more with you. I believe it is really
cooling my blood.''
``Are you taking the medicine?''
``Yes,'' she said, ``and I am stronger. Truly I am.
I know I appear ghastly to you, but it's loss of sleep,
and trying to lay away poor Aunt Molly decently,
``And fear of Uncle Henry,'' added the Harvester.
``Yes,'' said the Girl. ``That most of all! He thinks
I am going to stay here and take her place. I can't
tell him I am not, and how I am to hide from him when
I am gone, I don't know. I am afraid of him.''
``Has he any claim on you?''
``Shelter for the past three months.''
``Are you of age?''
``I am almost twenty-four,'' she said.
``Then suppose you leave Uncle Henry to me,''
suggested the Harvester.
``Careful now! The red bird told you why!'' said
the man. ``I will not urge it upon you now, but keep
it steadily in the back of your head that there is a
sunshine room all ready and waiting for you, and I am going
to take you to it very soon. As things are, I think you
might allow me to tell you----''
She was on her feet in instant panic. ``I must go,''
she said. ``Uncle Henry is dogging me to promise to
remain, and I will not, and he is watching me. I must
``Can you give me your word of honour that you will
go to the neighbour woman to-night; that you feel
She hesitated. ``Yes, I----I think so. Yes, if he
doesn't find out and grow angry. Yes, I will be safe.''
``How soon will you write me?''
``Just as soon as I am settled and rest a little.''
``Do you mean several days?''
``Yes, several days.''
``An eternity!'' cried the Harvester with white lips.
``I cannot let you go. Suppose you fall ill and fail to
write me, and I do not know where you are, and there
is no one to care for you.''
``But can't you see that I don't know where I will
be? If it will satisfy you, I will write you a line to-
morrow night and tell you where I am, and you can come
``Is that a promise?'' asked the Harvester.
``It is,'' said the Girl.
``Then I will take these things to your neighbour and
wait until to-morrow night. You won't fail me?''
``I never in all my life saw a man so wild over designs,''
said the Girl, as she started toward the house.
``Don't forget that the design I'm craziest about is
the same as the red bird's,'' the Harvester flung after
her, but she hurried on and made no reply.
He folded the table and chair, rolled the rug, and
shouldering them picked up the bucket and started down
the river bank.
Such a faint little call he never would have been sure
he heard anything if Belshazzar had not stopped suddenly.
The hair on the back of his neck arose and he
turned with a growl in his throat. The Harvester dropped
his load with a crash and ran in leaping bounds, but the
dog was before him. Half way to the house, Ruth Jameson
swayed in the grip of her uncle. One hand clutched
his coat front in a spasmodic grasp, and with the other
she covered her face.
The roar the Harvester sent up stayed the big, lifted
fist, and the dog leaped for a throat hold, and compelled
the man to defend himself. The Harvester never knew
how he covered the space until he stood between them,
and saw the Girl draw back and snatch together the
front of her dress.
``He took it from me!'' she panted. ``Make him, oh
make him give back my money!''
Then for a few seconds things happened too rapidly to
record. Once the Harvester tossed a torn envelope
exposing money to the Girl, and again a revolver, and
then both men panting and dishevelled were on their
``Count your money, Ruth?'' said the Harvester in a
voice of deadly quiet.
``It is all here,'' said she.
``Her money?'' cried Henry Jameson. ``My money!
She has been stealing the price of my cattle from my
pockets. I thought I was short several times lately.''
``You are lying,'' said the Harvester deliberately.
``It is her money. I just paid it to her. You were trying
to take it from her, not the other way.''
``Oh, she is in your pay?'' leered the man.
``If you say an insulting word I think very probably
I will finish you,'' said the Harvester. ``I can, with my
naked hands, and all your neighbours will say it is a
a good job. You have felt my grip! I warn you!''
``How does my niece come to be taking money from you!''
``You have forfeited all right to know. Ruth, you
cannot remain here. You must come with me. I will
take you to Onabasha and find you a room.''
A horrible laugh broke from the man.
``So that is the end of my saintly niece!'' he said.
``Remember!'' cried the Harvester advancing a step.
``Ruth, will you go to the rest I suggested for you?''
``Will you go to Doctor Carey's wife?''
``Will you marry me and go to the shelter of my home
Wild-eyed she stared at him.
``Because I love you, and want life made easier for
you, above anything else on earth.''
``But your Dream Girl!''
``YOU ARE THE DREAM GIRL! I thought the red bird told
you for me! I didn't know it would be a shock. I
believed I had made you understand.''
By that time she was shaking with a nervous chill,
and the sight unmanned the Harvester.
``Come with me!'' he urged. ``We will decide what
you want to do on the way. Only come, I beg you.''
``First it was marry, now it's decide later,'' broke in
Henry Jameson, crazed with anger. ``Move a step
and I'll strike you down. I'd better than see you
The Harvester advanced and Jameson stepped back.
``Ruth,'' said the Harvester, ``I know how impossible
this seems. It is giving you no chance at all. I had
intended, when I found you, to court you tenderly as
girl ever was wooed before. Come with me, and I'll
do it yet. The new home was built for you. The
sunshine room is ready and waiting for you. There is
pure air, fresh water, nothing but rest and comfort.
I'll nurse you back to health and strength, and you shall
be courted until you come to me of your own accord.''
``Impossible!'' cried the girl.
``Only if you make it so. If you will come now, we
can be married in a few hours, and you can be safe in
your own home. I realize now that this is unexpected and
shocking to you, but if you will come with me and allow
me to restore you to health and strength, and if, say, in
a year, you are convinced that you do not love me, I
will set you free. If you will come, I swear to you that you
shall be my wife first, and my honoured guest afterward,
until such time as you either tell me you love me or that
you never can. Will you come on those terms, Ruth?''
``It will end fear, uncertainty, and work, until you
are strong and well. It will give you home, rest, and
love, that you will find is worth your consideration. I
will keep my word; of that you may be sure.''
``No,'' she cried. ``No! But take back this money!
Keep it until I tell you to whom to pay it.''
She started toward him holding out the envelope.
Henry Jameson, with a dreadful oath, sprang for it,
his contorted face a drawn snarl. The Harvester caught
him in air and sent him reeling. He snatched the revolver
from the Girl and put the money in his pocket.
``Ruth, I can't leave you here,'' he said. ``Oh my
Dream Girl! Are you afraid of me yet? Won't you
trust me? Won't you come?''
``You are right about that, my lady; you will come
back to the house, that's what you'll do,'' said Henry
Jameson, starting toward her.
``No!'' cried the Girl retreating. ``Oh Heaven help
me! What am I to do?''
``Ruth, you must come with me,'' said the Harvester.
``I don't dare leave you here.''
She stood between them and gave Henry Jameson
one long, searching look. Then she turned to the Harvester.
``I am far less afraid of you. I will accept your offer,''
``Thank you!'' said the Harvester. ``I will keep my
word and you shall have no regrets. Is there anything
here you wish to take with you?''
``I want a little trunk of my mother's. It contains
some things of hers.''
``Will you show me where it is?''
She started toward the house; he followed, and Henry
Jameson fell in line. The Harvester turned on him.
``You remain where you are,'' he said. ``I will take
nothing but the trunk. I know what you are thinking,
but you will not get your gun just now. I will return
this revolver to-morrow.''
``And the first thing I do with it will be to use it on
you,'' said Henry Jameson.
``I'll report that threat to the police, so that they
can see you properly hanged if you do,'' retorted the
Harvester, as he followed the girl.
``Where is his gun?'' he asked as he overtook her.
When he reached the house he told her to watch the
door. He went inside, broke the lock from the gun in
the corner, found the trunk, and swinging it to his
shoulder, passed Henry Jameson and went back through
the woods. The Harvester set the trunk in the wagon,
helped the Girl in, and returned for the load he had
dropped at her call. Then he took the lines and started
The Girl beside him was almost fainting. He stopped
to give her a drink and tried to encourage her.
``Brace up the best you can, Ruth,'' he said. ``You
must go with me for a license; that is the law. Afterward,
I'll make it just as easy for you as possible. I
will do everything, and in a few hours you will be
comfortable in your room. You brave girl! This must
come out right! You have suffered more than your
share. I will have peace for you the remainder of the
She lifted shaking hands and tried to arrange her
hair and dress. As they neared the city she spoke.
``What will they ask me?''
``I don't know. But I am sure the law requires you
to appear in person now. I can take you somewhere
and find out first.''
``That will take time. I want to reach my room.
What would you think?''
``If you are of age, where you were born, if you are
a native of this country, what your father and mother
died of, how old they were, and such questions as that.
I'll help you all I can. You know those things. don't
``Yes. But I must tell you----''
``I don't want to be told anything,'' said the Harvester.
``Save your strength. All I want to know is any way
in which I can make this easier for you. Nothing else
matters. I will tell you what I think; if you have any
objections, make them. I will drive to the bank and get
a draft for what you owe, and have that off your mind.
Then we will get the license. After that I'll take you