Part 2 out of 8
"Four thousand for everything, it's not enough but there are not
many buyers in this neighbourhood."
"Say, there's nothing rash about that feller. When do you close?"
"Must close to-morrow night. He has a chance of another place."
"Oh, he has, eh? Big rush on, eh? Well, don't you close until I
see you some time to-morrow, partner."
Mr. Sleighter scented another salvage deal, his keen eyes gleamed a
bit, the firm lips were pressed a little more closely together.
"And say," he said, turning back, "I don't wonder you can't do
business. I couldn't do anything myself with a missis like yours.
I couldn't get any smooth work over with her lookin' at me like
that, durned if I could. Well, good-night; see you to-morrow."
Mr. Sleighter spent the early hours of the following day among the
farmers with whom his salvage deal had brought him into contact.
The wrecker's instinct was strong in him, and besides he regarded
with abhorrence the tactics of Mr. Martin and welcomed an
opportunity to beat that gentleman at his own game. He could
easily outbid the Martin offer and still buy the farm at a low
price. As a result of his inquiries he had made up his mind that
the land was worth at the very least eighty dollars an acre and the
buildings at least two thousand more. Five thousand would be a
ridiculously low figure and six thousand not extravagantly high for
both buildings and farm. The farm with the store and machine
business attached might offer a fair opening to his son, who was
already weary of school and anxious to engage in business for
"Guess I'll take a whirl out of the old boy," he said to himself.
"He's a durn fool anyway and if I don't get his money some one else
In the afternoon he made his way to the store. "Boss ain't in?" he
inquired of the clerk.
"No, he's at the house, I guess."
"Don't know. Guess he's busy over there."
"Seen Mr. Martin around?"
"Yes, he was here a while ago. Said he would be in again later."
Mr. Sleighter greatly disliked the idea of doing business with Mr.
Gwynne at his own house. "Can't do no business with his missis and
kids around," he said to himself. "Can't get no action with that
woman lookin' on seemingly. But that there old Martin geyser is on
the job and he might close things up. I guess I will wander over."
To his great relief he found Mr. Gwynne alone and without
preliminaries, and with the design of getting "quick action"
before the disturbing element of Mrs. Gwynne's presence should
be introduced, he made his offer. He explained his purpose in
purchasing, and with something of a flourish offered five thousand
for "the hull plant, lock, stock and barrel," cash down if specially
desired, but he would prefer to pay half in six months. He must have
his answer immediately; was not anxious to buy, but if Mr. Gwynne
wanted to close up, he only had to say so. He was not going to
monkey with the thing.
"You have made me a much better offer than the one I received from
Mr. Martin, and I am inclined to accept it, but inasmuch as I have
promised to give him an answer to-day, I feel that it's due to him
that I should meet him with the bargain still unclosed."
"Why?" enquired Mr. Sleighter in surprise.
"Well, you see I asked him to hold the offer open until this
afternoon. I feel I ought to go to him with the matter still
"Want to screw him up, eh?" said Mr. Sleighter, his lips drawing
"No, sir." Mr. Gwynne's voice had a little ring in it. "I
consider it fairer to Mr. Martin."
"Don't see as how he has much claim on you," replied Mr. Sleighter.
"But that's your own business. Say, there he comes now. Look
here, my offer is open until six o'clock. After that it's a new
deal. Take it or leave it. I will be at your store."
"Very well," said Mr. Gwynne stiffly.
Mr. Sleighter was distinctly annoyed and disappointed. A few
minutes' longer pressure, he was convinced, would have practically
closed a deal which would have netted him a considerable profit.
"Durn old fool," he muttered to himself as he passed out of the
In the hallway Mrs. Gwynne's kindly welcome halted him. She
greeted him as she would a friend. Would he not sit down for a few
moments. No, he was busy. Mr. Sleighter was quite determined to
get away from her presence.
"The children were delighted with your description of your western
home," she said. "The free life, the beautiful hills, the
mountains in the distance--it must indeed be a lovely country."
Mr. Sleighter was taken off his guard. "Yes, ma'am, that's lovely
country all right. They'd like it fine out there, and healthy too.
It would make a man of that little kid of yours. He looks a little
on the weak side to me. A few months in the open and you wouldn't
know him. The girls too--"
"Come in here and sit down, won't you, Mr. Sleighter?" said Mrs.
Mr. Sleighter reluctantly passed into the room and sat down. He
knew he was taking a risk. However, his offer was already made and
the deal he believed would be closed in the store by six o'clock.
"I suppose the land is all taken up out there?" said Mrs. Gwynne.
"Oh, yes, mostly, unless away back. Folks are comin' in all the
time, but there's still lots of cheap land around."
"Cheap land, is there?" inquired Mrs. Gwynne with a certain
eagerness in her voice. "Indeed I should have thought that that
beautiful land would be very dear."
"Why, bless your heart, no. I know good land going for six--seven--
eight--ten dollars an acre. Ten dollars is high for good farm
lands; for cattle runs four dollars is good. No, there's lots of
good land lying around out of doors there. If these people around
here could get their heads up long enough from grubbing in the muck
they wouldn't stay here over night. They'd be hittin' the trail
for the west, you bet."
Mrs. Gwynne turned her honest eyes upon him. "Mr. Sleighter, I
want to ask your advice. I feel I can rely upon you ["Durn it all,
she's gettin' her work in all right," thought Mr. Sleighter to
himself], and I am getting quite anxious in the matter. You see,
my husband is determined to leave this place. He wishes to try
something else. Indeed, he must try something else. We must make
a living, Mr. Sleighter." Mrs. Gwynne's voice became hurried and
anxious. "We were delighted last night by your description of that
wonderful country in the West, and the children especially. I have
been wondering if we might venture to try a small farm in that
country--quite a small farm. We have a little money to invest. I
thought I might be bold enough to ask you. I know your judgment
would be good and I felt somehow that we could trust you. I hope
I am not taking a liberty, but somehow I feel that you are not a
"No, ma'am, certainly not," said Mr. Sleighter in a loud voice, his
hope of securing "quick action on that deal" growing dim.
"Do you happen to know any farm--a small farm--which we might be
able to buy? We hope to receive four thousand dollars for this
place. I feel that it is worth a good deal more, but there are not
many buyers about here. Then, of course, perhaps we value our
place too highly. Then by your kind help we have got something out
of the business--twelve hundred and fifty dollars I think Mr.
Gwynne said. We are most grateful to you for that, Mr. Sleighter."
Her eyes beamed on him in a most disconcerting way. "And so after
our obligations here are met we might have about forty-five hundred
dollars clear. Could we do anything with that?"
"I donno, I donno," said Mr. Sleighter quickly and rising from his
chair, "I will think it over. I have got to go now."
At this moment Mr. Gwynne came into the room. "Oh, I am glad you
are not gone, Mr. Sleighter. I have just told Mr. Martin that I
cannot accept his offer."
"Cannot accept, Michael!" said Mrs. Gwynne, dismay in her voice and
in her eyes.
"I believe you said your offer was good until six, Mr. Sleighter?"
"Oh, I say, Gwynne, let's get out, let's get over to the store.
It's kind of hot here, and I've got to go. Come on over and we'll
clean up." Without a farewell word to either of them Mr. Sleighter
passed rapidly from the room.
"I do hope there's nothing wrong, Michael," said his wife. "I fear
I have made a mistake. I spoke to Mr. Sleighter about the
possibility of getting a small farm in the West. You were so eager
about it, Michael dear, and I spoke to Mr. Sleighter about it. I
hope there is nothing wrong."
"Don't worry, mother. I have his offer for five thousand dollars.
Of course he is rather peculiar, I confess, but I believe--" The
door opened abruptly upon them, admitting Mr. Sleighter.
"See here, Mr. Gwynne, I can't do no business with you."
"Sir, you made me an offer for my farm," said Mr. Gwynne indignantly,
"and I have just refused an offer from Mr. Martin on account of
"Oh, we'll cut that all out," said Mr. Sleighter, whose voice and
manner indicated strong excitement. "Now don't talk. Listen to
me, my son. You ain't got any right to be playing around with
business men anyhow. Now I am going to do a little business for
you, if you will allow me, ma'am. I take it you want to get away
from here." Mr. Gwynne nodded, gazing at him in astonishment.
"You want to go West." Again Mr. Gwynne nodded. "Well, there's
only one spot in the West--Alberta. You want a farm."
"Yes," said Mr. Gwynne.
"Yes, certainly," said Mrs. Gwynne.
"There's just one farm that will suit you, an' that's Lakeside
Farm, Wolf Willow, Alberta, owned by H. P. Sleighter, Esq., who's
going to stump you to a trade. Five hundred acres, one hundred
broke an' a timber lot; a granary; stables and corral, no good;
house, fair to middlin'. Two hundred an' fifty acres worth ten
dollars at least, best out of doors; cattle run, two hundred acres
worth five; swamp and sleugh, fifty acres, only good to look at but
mighty pretty in the mornin' at sun-up. Not much money in scenery
though. Building worth between two and three thousand. Your plant
here is worth about six thousand. I know I offered you five
thousand, but I was buyin' then and now I am buyin' and sellin'.
Anyway, I guess it's about even, an' we'll save you a lot of
trouble an' time an' money. An' so, if you really want a western
farm, you might just as well have mine. I did not think to sell.
Of course I knew I must sell in the long run, but couldn't just see
my place in anybody else's hands. Somehow it seems different
though to see you folks on it. You seem to fit. Anyway, there's
the offer. What do you say?"
"Sit down, Mr. Sleighter," said Mr. Gwynne. "This is a rather
Mrs. Gwynne's eyes grew soft. "Michael, I think it is wonderful."
But Mr. Gwynne would not look at his wife. "Let me see, Mr.
Sleighter, your farm, you say, with buildings, is worth about six
thousand to sixty-five hundred. Mine is worth from fifty-five
hundred to six thousand. I will take your offer and pay the
"Oh, come off your perch," said Mr. Sleighter. "You're doin' the
highfalutin' Vere de Vere act now. Listen to me. The deal is as
level as I can figger it. Your farm and store with the machine
business suit me all right. I feel I can place my boy right here
for a while anyway. My farm, I believe, would suit you better than
anythin' else you can get. There's my offer. Take it or leave
"I think we will take it, Mr. Sleighter," said Mrs. Gwynne.
"Michael dear, I feel Mr. Sleighter is right, and besides I know
he is doing us a great kindness."
"Kindness, ma'am, not at all. Business is business, and that's all
there is to it. Well, I'll be goin'. Think it over, get the
papers fixed up by to-morrow. No, don't thank me. Good-bye."
Mrs. Gwynne followed him to the door, her face flushed, her eyes
aglow, a smile hovering uncertainly about her lips. "Mr. Sleighter,"
she said, "the Lord sent you to us because He knew we were in
need of guiding."
"Ho, ho!" laughed Mr. Sleighter. "Like that Samaritan chap in the
reading, eh? I guess you had got among thieves all right, more of
'em perhaps than you recognised too."
"He sent you to us," repeated Mrs. Gwynne, offering him her hand.
"Well, I donno but that He steered me to you. But all the same I
guess the advantage is to me all right." Mr. Sleighter looked hard
down the street, then turned and faced her squarely. "I want to
say that it's done me a pile of good to have seen you, ma'am. It's
made things look different."
"You are a good man, Mr. Sleighter," she said, looking at him with
"A good man!" Mr. Sleighter was seized with a cough. "A good man!
Good Lord, ma'am! nobody never found it out but you--durn that
cough anyway." And still troubled by his cough, Mr. Sleighter
hurried down the path to the gate and out on to the road.
Once resolved to break up their home in Eastern Canada, the Gwynnes
lost no time in completing their arrangements for the transportation
of themselves and their household gods and such of their household
goods as Mr. Sleighter advised, to the new western country.
Mr. Sleighter appeared to regard the migration of the Gwynne family
to the western country as an enterprise in which he had made an
investment from which he was bound to secure the greatest possible
return. The principle of exchange which had been the basis of the
deal as far as the farms were concerned was made to apply as far as
possible to farm implements and equipment, household goods and
"What's the use of your packin' a hull bunch of stuff West an' my
packin' a hull bunch of stuff East. We'll just tote up the stock
an' stuff we have got and make a deal on it. I know all my stuff
an' yours is here. We'll make a trade."
To this Mr. Gwynne gladly agreed. The arrangement would save
trouble and useless expenditure. Hence the car was packed with
such goods as Mr. Sleighter considered especially useful in the new
home, and with such household furniture as the new home lacked and
such articles as were precious from family or personal associations.
"What about the pictures and curtains?" inquired Mr. Gwynne. "We
don't need them."
"Take 'em all," said Mr. Sleighter. "Pictures are like folks.
They got faces an' looks. And curtains--my missis got hers all
packed. Curtains are like clothes--they only fit them that owns
"And the piano?"
"Sure thing. Say, a piano in that country is like the village
pump--the hull country gets about it. Take things to eat an'
things to wear an' things to make the shack look pretty an'
interestin' and comfortable. They don't take much room and they
take the bareness off. That's what kills the women folk in the
West, the bareness inside and outside. Nothin' but chairs, table
an' stove inside; nothin' but grass an' sand outside. That's what
makes 'em go crazy."
So the car was filled with things to eat and to wear, and things
"to take the bareness off." Somewhere in the car was found a place
for Rosie, the cow, a remarkable milker and "worth her weight in
butter," as Mr. Sleighter said, and for Rover, Larry's collie dog,
who stood to him as comrade almost as a brother. A place in the
car too was found for Joe Gagneau who from the first moment of the
announced departure had expressed his determination to accompany
Larry no matter at what cost or against whose opposition.
"A'm goin' be in dat car' me, by gar!" was his ultimatum, and the
various authorities interested recognised the inevitable and
accepted it, to the great delight of both boys. Joe had a mouth
organ and so had Larry, and they were both in the same key. Joe
too had an old fiddle of his father's on which he could scrape with
joy to himself, and with more or less agony to others, the dance
tunes of local celebrity, the "Red River Jig," picked up from his
father, "Money Musk" and "The Deil Amang the Tailors," the two
latter from Dan Monroe at the country dances.
In due time the car, packed with the Gwynne household goods and
treasures and in charge of the two superlatively happy boys, with
Rosie and Rover to aid in providing them with sustenance and
protection, set forth, Westward Ho! Mr. Gwynne rode in the caboose
of the train to which his car was attached. Mrs. Gwynne and the
girls were to follow by passenger train and would doubtless be
found awaiting them on their arrival at Winnipeg.
The journey westward was to the boys full of interest and
adventure. At Toronto they picked up a stowaway, who, taking
advantage of their absence, boarded the car and made himself a bed
behind some bales of hay. Upon discovery by Rover, he made so
piteous an appeal for refuge from some pursuing terror which he
declined to specify, that the boys agreed to conceal him a night
and a day till they were well on their way along the north shore of
Lake Superior. When Larry's conscience made further concealment a
burden greater than could be borne, Mr. Gwynne was taken into the
boys' confidence and, after protest, agreed to make arrangement
with the railroad authorities whereby Sam--for that was the
stowaway's name--might retain his place in the car.
He was a poor, wretched creature, reminding Larry of the scarecrow
which he had put up in their garden the summer before. He was thin
beyond anything the boys had ever seen. His face was worn and old
and came to a peak at the nose, which gave him the appearance of a
monster rat, a resemblance emphasised by the little blinking, red-
rimmed eyes. His hair was closely cropped and of brilliant
But he had seen life in a great city and had gathered a store of
worldly wisdom, not all of which was for his good, and a repertoire
of accomplishments that won him admiration and wonder from the
simple country boys. He had all the new ragtime songs and dances,
which he rendered to his own accompaniment on an old battered
banjo. He was a contortionist of quite unusual cleverness, while
his fund of stories never ran dry throughout the seven days'
journey to Winnipeg. He set himself with the greatest assiduity to
impart his accomplishments to the boys, and by the time the party
had reached the end of the first stage in their westward journey,
Sam had the satisfaction of observing that his pupils had made very
satisfactory progress, both with the clog dancing and with the
ragtime songs. Besides this, he had made for himself an assured
place in their affection, and even Mr. Gwynne had come to feel such
an interest in the bit of human driftwood flung up against him,
that he decided to offer the waif a chance to try his fortune in
Mr. Brown was a busy man, but he never failed to be in his place at
the foot of the table every day punctually at half past twelve,
solely because at that hour his little daughter, Jane, would show
her grave and earnest and dark brown, almost swarthy, face at the
head. Eight years ago another face used to appear there, also
grave, earnest, but very fair and very lovely to look upon, to the
doctor the fairest of all faces on the earth. The little, plain,
swarthy-faced child the next day after that lovely face had been
forever shut away from the doctor's eyes was placed in her high
chair at the head of the table, at first only at the lunch hour,
but later at all meal times before the doctor to look at. And it
was an ever-recurring joy to the lonely man to discover in the
little grave face before him fleeting glimpses of the other face so
tenderly loved and so long vanished. These glimpses were to be
discovered now in the deep blue eyes, deep in colour and in
setting, now in the smile that lit up the dark, irregular features
like the sudden break of sunlight upon the rough landscape,
transforming it into loveliness, now in the knitting of the heavy
eyebrows, and in the firm pressing of the lips in moments of
puzzled thought. In all the moods and tenses of the little maid
the doctor looked for and found reminiscences of her mother.
Through those eight lonely years the little girl had divided with
his profession the doctor's days. Every morning after breakfast he
stood to watch the trim, sturdy, round little figure dance down the
steps, step primly down the walk, turn at the gate to throw a kiss,
and then march away along the street to the corner where another
kiss would greet him before the final vanishing. Every day they
met at noon to exchange on equal terms the experiences of the
morning. Every night they closed the day with dinner and family
prayers, the little girl gravely taking her part in the reading
during the last year from her mother's Bible. And so it came that
with the years their friendship grew in depth, in frankness and in
tenderness. The doctor was widely read beyond the literature of
his profession, and every day for a half hour it was his custom to
share with the little girl the treasures of his library. The
little maid repaid him with a passionate love and a quaint
mothering care tender and infinitely comforting to the lonely man.
The forenoon had been hot and trying, and Dr. Brown, having been
detained in his office beyond his regular hour, had been more than
usually hurried in his round of morning calls, and hence was more
than ordinarily tired with his morning's work. At his door the
little girl met him.
"Come in, Papa, I know you're hot," she said, love and reproach in
her face, "because I was hot myself, and you will need a nice, cool
drink. I had one and yours is in here." She led him into the
study, hovering about him with little touches and pushes. "You
ought not to have taken so long a round this morning," she said
with gentle severity. "I know you went out to St. James to see
Mrs. Kale, and you know quite well she doesn't need you. It would
do in the afternoon. And it was awful hot in school."
"Awful?" said the doctor.
"Well, very exceedingly then--and the kids were very tired and Miss
Mutton was as cross as anything."
"It was no wonder. How many kids were there for her to watch?"
"Oh, Papa, you said 'kids!'"
"I was just quoting my young daughter."
"And she said we were to get out this afternoon an hour earlier,"
continued Jane, ignoring his criticism, "and so I am going to take
my bicycle and go with Nora and the girls down to the freight
"The freight sheds?"
"Yes, Larry and Joe have come in, and Rover and Rosie--she's the
cow, and they milked her every day twice and drank the milk and
they used to have their meals together in the car."
"Rosie, too? Very interesting indeed."
"Now, Papa, you must not laugh at me. It is very interesting.
They all came for days and days together in the car from somewhere
down East, Ontario, I think. And Mr. Gwynne says they are just
like a circus. And they play instiments and dance."
"What, Rosie too? How clever of her!"
The child's laugh rang out joyously. "Oh, Papa, that's awfully
funny. And we're going down on our wheels. Nora can ride now, you
know, and she's going to take Ethel May's wheel. It's awfully hard
to ride, but Nora's as strong as Kathleen."
"Well, well," said her father, greatly interested in this exciting
but somewhat confused tale. "Just wait until I wash my hands and
then you shall tell me what it all means. Thank you for this
deliciously cool lemonade. It is very refreshing. You will tell
me all about it at lunch."
The lunch hour was devoted first of all to disentangling from the
mass the individual members of the car party, which after an
adventurous journey across half a continent had apparently made
camp at the Winnipeg freight sheds. Then followed the elucidation
of the details of the plan by which this camp was to be attacked
and raided during the afternoon.
"Now that I have a fairly clear conception of whom Larry, Joe, Sam,
Rosie and Rover are--I think I have them right--"
"I wish to find out just who are to form the advance party, the
"The scouting party? I don't know what you mean. But Nora--you
"Certainly, the little black-eyed Irish Terrier--terror, I mean."
"Oh, Papa, she's just lovely and she's my friend."
"Is she, dear, then I apologise, but indeed I meant nothing
derogatory to her. I greatly like her, she is so spunky."
"Yes, there's Nora, and Kathleen, Nora's sister."
"Oh, Kathleen, the tall beautiful girl with the wonderful hair?"
The little girl sighed. "Oh, such lovely long yellow hair." The
little maid's hair was none of these. "And she is not a bit proud--
just nice, you know--just as if she were not so lovely, but like--
only like me."
"Like you, indeed!" exclaimed the doctor indignantly. "Like my
little girl? I don't see any one quite like my little girl. There
is not one of them with all their yellow hair and things that is to
be compared with my own little girl."
"Oh, Papa. I know you think so, and I wish it was so. And I am
awfully glad you think so, but of course you are prejuist, you
"Prejudiced? Not a bit, not a bit."
"Well, that's Kathleen and Nora, and--and perhaps Hazel--you know
Hazel, Papa, Hazel Sleighter?"
"The western girl--not at all wild and woolly though. A very
modern and very advanced young lady, isn't she?"
"Oh, I don't know what you mean, Papa. She says she may go down,
but I don't think she likes going with a lot of kids. You know she
has her hair up. She has to have it up in the store. She says the
man would not have her behind the counter if she had not her hair
"Oh, that's it. I thought perhaps the maturity of her age made it
"I don't know what maturevy means, but she is awfully old. She is
going on sixteen."
"Dear me, as old as that?" inquired her father.
"Yes, but she said she wanted to see that circus car. That's what
she calls Mr. Gwynne's car. And she says she wants to see the
elephunts perform. There are not any elephunts. There's only
Rosie and Rover. But she may get off. She can get off if she can
fool her boss, she says. So we're all going down and we may bring
Larry home with us, Mrs. Sleighter says. Though Mrs. Gwynne says
there's not any room, they're so filled up now. And I said Larry
could come here and Joe, too. But I am not so sure about Sam. I
think he must be awfully queer. Mr. Gwynne thinks he's queer."
"It is quite possible, indeed probable, my dear," assented her
"Yes, Mr. Gwynne said he looked like a third-rate how-do-you-feel
"A what, exactly?"
"A how-do-you-feel performer."
"Oh, a vaudeville performer."
"Yes, a fodefeel performer. I don't know what that means, but he
must be queer. But I think Larry would be all right, and Joe. You
see, we know THEM."
"Oh, do we?"
"Yes, certainly, Papa. Larry is Nora's brother. He's awfully
clever. He's only fifteen and he passed the Entrance in Ontario
and that's ever so much harder than here. He passed it before he
"Before he was fourteen!" replied her father. "Amazing!"
"Yes, and he plays the mouth organ and the tin whistle and the
fiddle, and Mr. Gwynne says he has learned some stunts from Sam. I
think he must be awfully nice. So I said he could come here. And
Mrs. Gwynne thanked me so nicely, and she's just lovely, Papa."
"I have not seen her," said her father, "but I have heard her
voice, and I quite agree with you. The voice always tells. Have
you noticed that? The voice gives the keynote of the soul."
"I don't know, Papa. There's Mrs. Sleighter's voice. I don't like
it very much, but I think she's nice inside."
"Ah, you are right, my dear. Perhaps I should have said that a
certain kind of voice always goes with a beautiful soul."
"I know," replied his daughter. "That's like Mrs. Gwynne's voice.
And so we'll go down to the car and bring Larry home with us, and
perhaps his mother will let him come here. She did not say she
would and you can't tell. She's quiet, you know, but somehow she
isn't like Mrs. Sleighter. I don't think you could coax her to do
what she didn't want."
"And Mrs. Sleighter--can you coax Mrs. Sleighter?"
"Oh, yes, the girls just coax her and coax her, and though she
doesn't want to a bit, she just gives in."
"That's nice of her. That must be very nice for the girls, eh?"
"Oh, I don't know, Papa."
"What? don't you think it is nice to be able to coax people to do
what you want?"
"It is nice to get what you want, but I think REALLY, REALLY, you'd
rather you could not coax them to do it just because you coax
"Ah, I see."
"Yes; you see, you're never really quite sure after you get it
whether you ought to get it after all."
"I see," said her father; "that rather spoils it."
"Yes, but you never do that, Papa."
"Oh, you can't coax me, eh? I am glad to know that. I was afraid,
"Well, of course, I can coax you, Papa, but you usually find some
other way, and then I know it is quite right."
"I wish I was quite as sure of that, Jane. But you are going to
bring Larry home with you?"
"Yes, if Mrs. Gwynne will let him come. I told her we had four
rooms and we were only using two, and they are all crowded up in
Mrs. Sleighter's, two girls in each room, and Tom's room is so
tiny, and I don't think Larry would like to go in Tom's room.
And we have two empty rooms, so we might just as well."
"Yes, certainly, we might just as well. You might perhaps mention
it to Anna."
"Oh, I did, Papa, and she said she would have it all ready."
"So it is all arranged. I was thinking--but never mind."
"I know you were thinking, that I ought to have asked you, Papa;
and I ought to have. But I knew that when a little boy had no home
to go to you would of course--"
"Of course," replied her father hurriedly. "You were quite right,
Jane. And with those two rooms, why not bring them all, Joe and
Pete--Pete, is it?"
"Sam, Papa. I am not so sure. I think we should leave Joe and
Sam. You see Joe won't mind staying in the car. Nora says he
lives in just a shack at home, and Sam--I am a little afraid of
Sam. We don't know him very well, you see."
"I see. We are quite safe in your hands, little woman. You can do
just as you and Mrs. Gwynne arrange."
As the father watched the little, trim, sturdy figure stepping down
the street he muttered to himself, "That child grows more like her
mother every day." He heaved a great sigh from the depths of his
heart. "Well, God keep her, wise little woman that she is! I wish
I were a wiser man. I must be firm with her; it would be a shame
to spoil her. Yes, I must be firm." But he shrugged his shoulders
and smiled at himself. "The worst of it is, or the best of it is,"
he continued, "the little witch is almost always right, God bless
her, just like her mother, just like her mother." He hastily wiped
his eyes, and went off to his office where Mrs. Dean awaited him
and her little girl with the burned hand. And the mother wondered
at the gentleness of him as he dressed the little girl's wounded
It followed that the scouting party included not only Miss Hazel
Sleighter, but also her big brother Tom, who, being temporarily in
the high school, more perhaps because of his size and the maturity
of his bearing than by virtue of his educational qualifications,
was at the present moment most chiefly concerned in getting into
form his baseball team for the match the following Saturday in
which the High School was to meet All Comers under eighteen. The
freight shed being on his way to the practice ground, Tom deigned
to join the party and to take in the circus car as he passed. The
car dwellers were discovered on the open prairie not far from the
freight shed, keeping guard over Rosie, who was stretching her legs
after her railway journey. The boys were tossing a baseball to
each other as Tom pedalled up on his wheel.
"Hello, there, here you are," he shouted to Sam, holding up his
hands for a catch.
The ball came with such impact that Tom was distinctly jarred, and
dropped the ball. With all his force he threw the ball back to
Sam, who caught it with the ease of a professional and returned it
with such vigour that again Tom dropped it.
"Let's have a knock-up," he said, hitting a long fly.
Sam flew after the ball with amazing swiftness, his scarecrow
garments fluttering and flapping in the air, and caught it with an
upward leap that landed him on his back breathless but triumphant.
"Say, you're a crackerjack," said Tom; "here's another."
Meanwhile Larry was in the hands of his sisters, who had delightedly
kissed him to his shamefaced chagrin, and introduced him to their
"So this is Larry." said Miss Hazel Sleighter, greeting him with a
dazzling smile. "We have heard a lot about you. I think you must
be quite wonderful. Come here, Tom, and meet your friends."
Poor Larry! In the presence of this radiant creature and of her
well-dressed brother, he felt terribly conscious of the shabbiness
of the second best suit which his mother had thought good enough
for the journey in the car. Tom glanced at the slight, poorly
dressed, pale-faced lad who stood before him with an embarrassed,
almost a beseeching look in his eyes.
"Can you play ball?" asked Tom.
"Not much," replied Larry; "not like Sam. Come here, Sam," he
called, remembering that he had not introduced his friend. Sam
shuffled over with an air of complete nonchalance.
"This is Sam," said Larry. "Sam--I have forgotten your name."
"Nolan," said Sam shortly.
"Miss Hazel Sleighter," said Larry.
"How do you do, Miss Hazel," said Sam, sweeping her an elaborate
bow, and then gazing boldly into her eyes. "I hope you're well.
If you're as smart as you look, I guess you're way up in G."
"I am quite well, thank you," returned Miss Hazel, the angle of her
chin indicating her most haughty air.
"Say, young lady, pass up the chilly stuff," replied Sam with a
laugh. "It don't go with that mighty fine complexion of yours.
Say, did you ever see the leading lady in 'The Spider's Web'?
Well, you make me think of her, and she was a peacherino. Never
seen her? No? Well, you ought to see her some day and think of
Hazel turned a disgusted shoulder on Sam's impudent face and
engaged Larry in vivacious conversation.
"Well, I am off to the ball practice," said Tom. "Got a match on
Saturday--High School against the world. Guess they would like to
have you, Sam, only I wouldn't care to have you play against us.
You don't play baseball, eh?" continued Tom, addressing Larry.
"What do you play--football?"
"Not much; never tried much," said Larry, flushing over his lack of
"He plays the fiddle," said a quiet little voice.
Larry, flushing violently, turned around and saw a little, brown-
faced maid gazing thoughtfully at him.
"Oh, he does, eh? Ha, ha, ha. Good game, eh? Ha, ha, ha." They
all joined in the laugh.
"And he plays the mouth organ, too, and does funny stunts,"
sturdily continued the little girl, disdaining Tom's scornful
"Good for you, Jane."
"Yes, and he passed his entrance to the High School a year ago when
he was fourteen, in Ontario, anyway." This appeared to check Tom's
"My, what a wonder he is! And did he tell you all this himself?"
"No, indeed," said Jane indignantly.
"Oh, I am glad to hear that," said Tom with a grin. "Won't you
come along, Sam? It's only a little way down."
"All right," said Sam cheerfully. "So long, folks. See you later,
Larry. Au reservoir, young lady, as the camel said to the elephant
when he asked what he'd have. Hope I see you later if not sooner--
ta-ta; tinga-ling; honk honk." Again he swept Miss Hazel an
"Thinks he's smart," said that young lady, lifting her nose. "He's
a regular scarecrow. Who in the world is he and where did he come
from?" she demanded of Larry, who proceeded to account for Sam's
presence with their party.
The visitors peered into the car and poked into its recesses,
discovered the food supplies for boy and beast, and inspected the
dormitories under Larry's guidance, while the boy, who had
recovered from his embarrassment, discoursed upon the wonderful
experience of the journey. Miss Hazel flashed her great blue eyes
and her white teeth upon him, shook all her frizzes in his face,
smiled at him, chattered to him, jeered at him, flattered him with
all the arts and graces of the practiced flirt she was, until
Larry, swept from his bearings, walked the clouds in a wonder world
of rosy lights and ravishing airs. His face, his eyes, his eager
words, his tremulous lips, were all eloquent of this new passion
that possessed him.
As for Miss Hazel, accustomed as she was to the discriminating
admiration of her fellow clerks, the sincerity and abandonment of
this devotion was as incense to her flirtatious soul. Avid of
admiration and experienced in most of the arts and wiles necessary
to secure this from contiguous males, small wonder that the
unsophisticated Larry became her easy prey long before she had
brought to bear the full complement of her enginery of war.
It was a happy afternoon for the boy, but when informed by his
sisters of his mother's desire that he should return with them, he
was resolute in his refusal, urging many reasons why it was
impossible that he should leave the car and his comrades. There
was nothing for it but to leave him there and report to his mother
"I might have known," she said. "He would never come to a
stranger's house in his old clothes. I will just bring down his
best suit after tea."
The dinner hour at Dr. Brown's was fully occupied with an animated
recital of the adventures of the afternoon. Each member of the car
party was described with an accuracy and fulness of detail that
would have surprised him.
"And you know, Papa," said the little maid, "Tom just laughed at
Larry because he could not play baseball and things, and I just
told him that Larry could play the mouth organ lovely and the
fiddle, and they laughed and laughed. I think they were laughing
at me. Tom laughed loudest of all, and he's not so smart himself,
and anyway Larry passed the entrance a year ago and I just told him
"Oh, did you," said her father, "and how did Master Tom take that?"
"He didn't laugh quite as much. I don't think I like him very
"But Hazel, she was just lovely to Larry. I think she's nice,
Papa, and such lovely cheeks and hair." Here Jane sighed.
"Oh, has she? She is quite a grown-up young lady, is she not?"
"She has her hair up, Papa. She's sixteen, you know."
"I remember you told me that she had reached that mature age."
"And I think Larry liked her, too."
"Ah? And why do you think so?"
"He just looked at her, and looked, and looked."
"Well, that seems fairly good evidence."
"And he is coming up here to-night when we bring him his good
"Oh, you are to bring him his good clothes, are you?"
"Yes, Mrs. Gwynne and I are taking them down in the carriage."
"Oh, in the carriage--Mrs. Gwynne--"
"Yes, you know-- Oh, here's Nora at the door. Excuse me, Papa. I
am sure it is important."
She ran to the door and in a moment or two returned with a note.
"It's for you, Papa, and I know it's about the carriage." She
watched her father somewhat anxiously as he read the note.
"Umm-um. Very good, very nice and proper. Certainly. Just say to
Mrs. Gwynne that we are very pleased to be able to serve her with
the carriage, and that we hope Larry will do us the honour of
coming to us."
Jane nodded delightedly. "I know, Papa. I told her that already.
But I'll tell her this is the answer to the note."
Under Jane's direction and care they made their visit to the car,
but on their return no Larry was with them. He would come after
the picnic and baseball game tomorrow, perhaps, but not to-night.
His mother was plainly disappointed, and indeed a little hurt. She
could not understand her son. It was not his clothes after all as
she had thought. She pondered over his last words spoken as he
bade her farewell at the car door, and was even more mystified.
"I'll be glad when we get to our own place again," he said. "I
hate to be beholden to anybody. We're as good as any of them
anyway." The bitterness in his tone mystified her still more.
It was little Jane who supplied the key to the mystery. "I don't
think he likes Tom very much," said the little girl. "He likes
Hazel, though. But he might have come to our house; I did not
laugh." And then the mother thought she understood.
That sudden intensity of bitterness in her boy's voice startled her
a little, but deep down in her heart she was conscious of a queer
feeling of satisfaction, almost of pride. "He's just like his
father," she said to herself. "He likes to be independent."
Strict honesty in thought made her add, "And like me, too, I fear."
The picnic day was one of those intensely hot June days when the
whole world seems to stand quivering and breathlessly attent while
Nature works out one of her miracles over fields of grain, over
prairie flowers, over umbrageous trees and all things borne upon
the bosom of Mother Earth, checking the succulence of precocious
overgrowths, hardening fibre, turning plant energy away from
selfish exuberance in mere stalk building into the altruistic
sacrament of ripening fruit and hardening grain. A wise old
alchemist is Mother Earth, working in time but ever for eternity.
The picnickers who went out to the park early in the day were
driven for refuge from the blazing sun to the trees and bushes,
where prostrated by the heat they lay limp and flaccid upon the
grass. Miss Hazel Sleighter, who for some reason which she could
not explain to herself had joined the first contingent of
picnickers, was cross, distinctly and obviously cross. The heat
was trying to her nerves, but worse, it made her face red--red all
over. Her pink parasol intensified the glow upon her face.
"What a fool I was to come, in this awful heat," she said to
herself. "They won't be here for hours, and I will be just like
Nor was Larry enjoying the picnic. The material comforts in the
form of sandwiches, cakes and pies, gloriously culminating in
lemonade and ice cream, while contributing a temporary pleasure,
could not obliterate a sense of misery wrought in him by Miss
Hazel's chilly indifference. That young lady, whose smiles so
lavishly bestowed only yesterday had made for him a new heaven and
a new earth, had to-day merely thrown him a passing glance and a
careless "Hello," as she floated by intent on bigger game.
In addition, the boy was conscious of an overpowering lassitude
that increased as the day wore on. His misery and its chief cause
had not escaped the observing eyes of the little maid, Jane Brown,
whose clear and incisive voice was distinctly audible as she
confided to her friend Nora her disappointment in Miss Hazel.
"She won't look at him to-day," she said. "She's just waiting for
the boys to come. She'll be nicer then."
There was no animus in the voice, only surprise and disappointment.
To Larry, however, the fact that the secret tragedy of his soul was
thus laid bare, filled him with a sudden rage. He cast a wrathful
eye upon the little maid. She met his glance with a placid smile,
volunteering the cheerful remark, "They won't be long now."
A fury possessed the boy. "Oh shut your mouth, will you?" he said,
glaring at her.
For a moment little Jane looked at him, surprise, dismay, finally
pity succeeding each other in the deep blue eyes. Hastily she
glanced about to see if the others had heard the awful outburst.
She was relieved to note that only Joe and Nora were near enough to
hear. She settled herself down in a position of greater comfort
and confided to her friend Nora with an air of almost maternal
solicitude, "I believe he has a pain. I am sure he has a pain."
Larry sprang to his feet, and without a glance at his anxious
tormentor said, "Come on, Joe, let's go for a hunt in the woods."
Jane looked wistfully after the departing boys. "I wish they would
ask us, Nora. Don't you? I think he is nice when he isn't mad,"
she said. To which Nora firmly assented.
A breeze from the west and the arrival of the High School team,
resplendent in their new baseball uniforms, brought to the limp
loiterers under the trees a reviving life and interest in the day's
It was due to Jane that Sam got into the game, for when young Frank
Smart was searching for a suitable left fielder to complete the All
Comers team, he spied seated among the boys the little girl.
"Hello, Jane; in your usual place, I see!" he called out to her as
"Hello, Frank!" she called to him brightly. "Frank! Frank!" she
cried, after the young man had passed, springing up and running
"I am in a hurry, Jane; I must get a man for left field."
"But, Frank," she said, catching his arm, for young Smart was a
great friend of hers and of her father's. "I want to tell you.
You see that funny boy under the tree," she continued, lowering her
voice. "Well, he's a splendid player. Tom doesn't want him to
play, and I don't either, because I want the High School to beat.
But it would not be fair not to tell you, would it?"
Young Smart looked at her curiously. "Say, little girl, you're a
sport. And is he a good player?"
"Oh, he's splendid, but he's queer--I mean he looks queer. He's
awfully funny. But that doesn't matter, does it?"
"Not a hair, if he can play ball. What's his name?"
"Sam Something? That is a funny name."
"Oh, you know, Sam. I don't know his other name."
"Well, I'll try him, Jane," said young Smart, moving toward the boy
and followed by the eager eyes of the little girl.
"I say, Sam," said Smart, "we want a man for left field. Will you
take a go at it?"
"Too hot," grunted Sam.
"Oh, you won't find it too hot when you get started. Rip off your
coat and get into the game. You can play, can't you?"
"Aw, what yer givin' us. I guess I can give them ginks a few
"Well, come on."
"Too hot," said Sam.
Jane pulled young Smart by the sleeve. "Tell him you will give him
a jersey," she said in a low voice. "His shirt is torn."
Again young Smart looked at Jane with scrutinising eyes. "You're a
wonder," he said.
"Come along, Sam. You haven't got your sweater with you, but I
will get one for you. Get into the bush there and change."
With apparent reluctance, but with a gleam in his little red eyes,
Sam slouched into the woods to make the change, and in a few
moments came forth and ran to take his position at left field.
The baseball match turned out to be a mere setting for the display
of the eccentricities and superior baseball qualities of Sam, which
apparently quite outclassed those of his teammates in the match.
After three disastrous innings, Sam caused himself to be moved
first to the position of short stop, and later to the pitcher's
box, to the immense advantage of his side. But although, owing to
the lead obtained by the enemy, his prowess was unable to ward off
defeat from All Comers, yet under his inspiration and skilful
generalship, the team made such a brilliant recovery of form and
came so near victory that Sam was carried from the field in triumph
shoulder high and departed with his new and enthusiastically
grateful comrades to a celebration.
Larry, however, was much too miserable and much too unhappy for
anything like a celebration. The boy was oppressed with a feeling
of loneliness, and was conscious chiefly of a desire to reach his
car and crawl into his bed there among the straw. Stumbling
blindly along the dusty road; a cheery voice hailed him.
"Hello, Larry!" It was Jane seated beside her father in his car.
"Hello!" he answered faintly and just glanced at her as the car
But soon the car pulled up. "Come on, Larry, we'll take you home,"
"Oh, I'm all right," said Larry, forcing his lips into his old
smile and resolutely plodding on.
"Better come up, my boy," said the doctor.
"I don't mind walking, sir," replied Larry, stubbornly determined
to go his lonely way.
"Come here, boy," said the doctor, regarding him keenly. Larry
came over to the wheel. "Why, boy, what is the matter?" The
doctor took hold of his hand.
Larry gripped the wheel hard. He was feeling desperately ill and
unsteady on his legs, but still his lips twisted themselves into a
smile. "I'm all right, sir," he said; "I've got a headache and it
was pretty hot out there."
But even as he spoke his face grew white and he swayed on his feet.
In an instant the doctor was out of his car. "Get in, lad," he
said briefly, and Larry, surrendering, climbed into the back seat,
fighting fiercely meanwhile to prevent the tears from showing in
his eyes. Keeping up a brisk and cheerful conversation with Jane
in regard to the game, the doctor drove rapidly toward his home.
"You will come in with us, my boy," said the doctor as they reached
By this time Larry was past all power of resistance and yielded
himself to the authority of the doctor, who had him upstairs and
into bed within a few minutes of his arrival. A single word Larry
uttered during this process, "Tell my mother," and then sank into a
long nightmare, through which there mingled dim shapes and quiet
voices, followed by dreamless sleep, and an awakening to weakness
that made the lifting of his eyelids an effort and the movement of
his hand a weariness. The first object that loomed intelligible
through the fog in which he seemed to move was a little plain face
with great blue eyes carrying in them a cloud of maternal anxiety.
Suddenly the cloud broke and the sun burst through in a joyous
riot, for in a voice that seemed to him unfamiliar and remote Larry
uttered the single word, "Jane."
"Oh!" cried the little girl rapturously. "Oh, Larry, wait." She
slipped from the room and returned in a moment with his mother, who
quickly came to his side.
"You are rested, dear," she said, putting her hand under his head.
"Drink this. No, don't lift your head. Now then, go to sleep
again, darling," and, stooping down, she kissed him softly.
"Why--are--you--crying?" he asked faintly. "What's the--matter?"
"Nothing, darling; you are better. Just sleep."
"Yes, you have been sick," said his mother.
"Awfully sick, " said Jane solemnly. "A whole week sick. But you
are all right now," she added brightly, "and so is Joe, and Sam,
and Rover and Rosie. I saw them all this morning and you know we
have been praying and praying and--"
"Now he will sleep, Jane," said his mother, gently touching the
little girl's brown tangle of hair.
"Yes, he will sleep; oh, I'm just awful thankful," said Jane,
suddenly rushing out of the room.
"Dear little girl," said the mother. "She has been so anxious and
so helpful--a wonderful little nurse."
But Larry was fast asleep, and before he was interested enough to
make inquiry about his comrades in travel the car in charge of Joe
and Sam, with Mr. Gwynne in the caboose, was far on its way to
Alberta. After some days Jane was allowed to entertain the sick
boy, as was her custom with her father, by giving an account of her
day's doings. These were happy days for them both. Between the
boy and the girl the beginnings of a great friendship sprang up.
"Larry, I think you are queer," said Jane to him gravely one day.
"You are not a bit like you were in the car."
A quick flush appeared on the boy's face. "I guess I was queer
that day, Jane," he said. "I know I felt queer."
"Yes, that's it," said Jane, delighted by some sudden recollection.
"You were queer then, and now you're just ornary. My, you were
sick and you were cross, too, awful cross that day. I guess it was
the headick. I get awfully cross, too, when I have the headick. I
don't think you will be cross again ever, will you, Larry?"
Larry, smiling at her, replied, "I'll never be cross with you,
Jane, anyway, never again."
THE GIRL OF THE WOOD LOT
June, and the sun flooding with a golden shimmer a land of tawny
prairie, billowy hills, wooded valleys and mountain peaks white
with eternal snows, touching with silver a stream which, glacier-
born, hurled itself down mountain sides in fairy films of mist,
rushed through canyons in a mad torrent, hurried between hills in a
swollen flood, meandered along wide valleys in a full-lipped tide,
lingered in a placid lake in a bit of lowland banked with poplar
bluffs, and so onward past ranch-stead and homestead to the great
Saskatchewan and Father Ocean, prairie and hills, valleys and
mountains, river and lake, making a wonder world of light and
warmth and colour and joyous life.
Two riders on rangey bronchos, followed by two Russian boarhounds,
climbed the trail that went winding up among the hills towards a
height which broke abruptly into a ridge of bare rock. Upon the
ridge they paused.
"There! Can you beat that? If so, where?" The lady swept her
gauntletted hand toward the scene below. Mrs. Waring-Gaunt was
tall, strongly made, handsome with that comeliness which perfect
health and out-of-doors life combine to give, her dark hair, dark
flashing eyes, straight nose, wide, full-lipped curving mouth, and
a chin whose chiselled firmness was softened but not weakened by a
dimple, making a picture good to look upon.
"There!" she cried again, "tell me, can you beat it?"
"Glorious! Sybil, utterly and splendidly glorious!" said her
brother, his eyes sweeping the picture below. "And you too,
Sybil," he said, turning his eyes upon her. "This country has done
you well. By jove, what a transformation from the white-faced,
"Weedy," said she.
"Well, as it's no longer true, weedy--woman that faded out of
London, how many--eight years ago!"
"Ten years, ten long, glorious, splendid years."
"Ten years! Surely not ten!"
"Yes, ten beautiful years."
"I wish to God I had come with you then. I might have been--well,
I should have been saved some bumps and a ghastly cropper at last."
"'Cut it out,' Jack, as the boys say here. En avant! We never
look back in this land, but ever forward. Oh, now isn't this worth
while?" Again she swept her hand toward the scene below her.
"Look at that waving line in the east, that broad sweep; and here
at our left, those great, majestic things. I love them. I love
every scar in their old grey faces. They have been good friends to
me. But for them some days might have been hard to live through,
but they were always there like friends, watching, understanding.
They kept me steady."
"You must have had some difficult days, old girl, in this awful
land. Yes, yes, I know it's glorious, especially on a day like
this and in a light like this; but after all, you are away from the
world, away from everybody, and shut off from everything, from
life, art--how could you stick it?"
"Jack are you sympathising with me? Let me tell you your sympathy
is wasted. I have had lonely days in this land, of course. When
Tom was off on business--Oh! that man has been perfectly splendid.
Jack! He's been--well, I can't tell you all he has been to me--
father, mother, husband, chum, he's been to me, and more. And he's
made good in the country, too. Now look again at this view. We
always stop to look at it, Tom and I, from this point. Tell me if
you have ever seen anything quite as wonderful!"
"Yes, it's glorious, a little like the veldt, with, of course, the
mountains extra, and they do rather finish the thing in the grand
"Grand style, well, rather! A great traveller who has seen most of
the world's beautiful spots told me he had never looked on anything
quite so splendid as the view from here--so spacious, so varied, so
majestic. Ah, I love it, and the country has been good to me!
"I don't mean physically only, but in every way--in body, soul and
mind. And for Tom, too, the country has done much. In England,
you know, he was just loafing, filling in time with one useless
thing after another, and on the way to get fat and lazy. Here he
is doing things, things worth while. His ranch is quite a success.
Then he is always busy organising various sorts of industries in
the country--dairying, lumbering and that sort of thing. He has
introduced thoroughbred stock. He helps with the schools, the
churches, the Agricultural Institutes. In short, he is doing his
part to bring this country to its best. And this, you know, is the
finest bit of all Canada!"
Her brother laughed. "Pardon me," he said, "there are so many of
these 'finest bits.' In Nova Scotia, in Quebec, I have found them.
The people of Ontario are certain that the 'finest bit' is in their
province, while in British Columbia they are ready to fight if one
suggests anything to the contrary."
"I know. I know. It is perfectly splendid of them. You know we
Canadians are quite foolish about our country."
"Yes. WE Canadians. What else? We are quite mad about the future
of our country. And that is why I wanted you to come out here,
Jack. There is so much a man like you might do with your brains
and training. Yes. Your Oxford training is none too good for this
country, and your brain none too clever for this big work of laying
the foundations of a great Empire. This is big enough for the
biggest of you. Bigger, even, than the thing you were doing at
home, Jack. Oh, I heard all about it!"
"You heard all about it? I hope not. I hope you have not heard of
the awful mess I made of things."
"Nonsense, Jack! 'Forward' is the word here. Here is an Empire in
the making, another Britain, greater, finer, and without the
hideous inequalities, injustices and foolish class distinctions of
"My God! Sybil, you sound like Lloyd George himself! Please don't
recall that ghastly radicalism to me."
"Never mind what it sounds like. You will get it too. We all
catch it here, especially Old Country folk. For instance, look
away to the left there. See that little clump of buildings beside
the lake just through the poplars. There is a family of Canadians
typical of the best, the Gwynnes, our closest neighbours. Good
Irish stock, they are. They came two years after we came. Lost
their little bit of money. Suffered, my! how they must have
suffered! though they were too proud to tell any of us. The father
is a gentleman, finely educated, but with no business ability. The
mother all gold and grit, heroic little woman who kept the family
together. The eldest boy of fifteen or sixteen, rather delicate
when he came, but fearfully plucky, has helped amazingly. He
taught the school, putting his money into the farm year after year.
While teaching the school he somehow managed to grip hold of the
social life of this community in a wonderful way, preached for Mr.
Rhye, taught a Bible Class for him, quite unique in its way;
organised a kind of Literary-Social-Choral-Minstrel Club and has
added tremendously to the life and gaiety of the neighbourhood.
What we shall do when he leaves, I know not. You will like them, I
am sure. We shall drop in there on our way, if you like."
"Ah, well, perhaps sometime later. They all sound rather terribly
industrious and efficient for a mere slacker like myself."
Along the trail they galloped, following the dogs for a mile or so
until checked by a full flowing stream.
"I say, Willow Creek is really quite in flood," said his sister.
"The hot sun has brought down the snows, you know. The logs are
running, too. We will have to go a bit carefully. Hold well up to
the stream and watch the logs. Keep your eye on the bank opposite.
No, no, keep up, follow me. Look out, or you will get into deep
water. Keep to the right. There, that's better."
"I say," said her brother, as his horse clambered out of the
swollen stream. "That's rather a close thing to a ducking.
Awfully like the veldt streams, you know. Ice cold, too, I fancy."
"Ice cold, indeed, glacier water, you know, and these logs make it
very awkward. The Gwynnes must be running down their timber and
firewood. We might just run up and look in on them. It's only a
mile or so. Nora will be there. She will be 'bossing the job,' as
she says. It will be rather interesting."
"Well, I hope it is not too far, for I assure you I am getting
"No, come along, there's a good trail here."
A smart canter brought them to a rather pretentious homestead with
considerable barns and outbuildings attached. "This is the
Switzers' place," said Mrs. Waring-Gaunt. "German-Americans, old
settlers and quite well off. The father owned the land on which
Wolf Willow village stands. He made quite a lot of money in real
estate--village lots and farm lands, you know. He is an excellent
farmer and ambitious for his family--one son and one daughter.
They are quite plain people. They live like--well, like Germans,
you know. The mother is a regular hausfrau; the daughter, quite
nice, plays the violin beautifully. It was from her young Gwynne
got his violining. The son went to college in the States, then to
Germany for a couple of years. He came back here a year ago,
terribly German and terribly military, heel clicking, ram-rod back,
and all that sort of thing. Musical, too, awfully clever; rather
think he has political ambitions. We'll not go in to-day. Some
day, perhaps. Indeed, we must be neighbourly in this country. But
the Switzers are a little trying."
"Why know them at all?"
"There you are!" cried his sister. "Fancy living beside people in
this country and not knowing them. Can't you see that we must not
let things get awry that way? We must all pull together. Tom is
fearfully strong on that, and he is right, too, I suppose, although
it is trying at times. Now we begin to climb a bit here. Then
there are good stretches further along where we can hurry."
But it seemed to her brother that the good stretches were rather
fewer and shorter than the others, for the sun was overhead when
they pulled up their horses, steaming and ready enough to halt, in
a small clearing in the midst of a thick bit of forest. The timber
was for the main part of soft woods, poplar, yellow and black,
cottonwood, and further up among hills spruce and red pine. In the
centre of the clearing stood a rough log cabin with a wide porch
running around two sides. Upon this porch a young girl was to be
seen busy over a cook stove. At the noise of the approaching
horses the girl turned from her work and looked across the clearing
"Heavens above! who is that, Sybil?" gasped her brother.
Mrs. Waring-Gaunt gave a delighted little cry. "Oh, my dear, you
are really back." In a moment she was off her horse and rushing
toward the girl with her arms outstretched. "Kathleen, darling!
Is it you? And you have really grown, I believe! Or is it your
hair? Come let me introduce you to my brother."
Jack Romayne was a young man with thirty years of experience of the
normal life of the well-born Englishman, during which time he had
often known what it was to have his senses stirred and his pulses
quickened by the sight of one of England's fair women, than whom
none of fresher and fairer beauty are to be found in all the world;
yet never had he found himself anything but master of his speech
and behaviour. But to-day, when, in obedience to his sister's
call, he moved across the little clearing toward the girl standing
at her side, he seemed to lose consciousness of himself and control
of his powers of action. He was instead faintly conscious that a
girl of tall and slender grace, with an aura of golden hair about a
face lovelier than he had ever known, was looking at him out of
eyes as blue as the prairie crocus and as shy and sweet, that she
laid her hand in his as if giving him something of herself, that
holding her hand how long he knew not, he found himself gazing
through those eyes of translucent blue into a soul of unstained
purity as one might gaze into a shrine, and that he continued
gazing until the blue eyes clouded and the fair face flushed
crimson, that then, without a word, he turned from her, thrilling
with a new gladness which seemed to fill not only his soul but the
whole world as well. When he came to himself he found his trembling
fingers fumbling with the bridle of his horse. For a few moments he
became aware of a blind rage possessing him and he cursed deeply his
stupidity and the gaucherie of his manner. But soon he forgot his
rage for thinking of her eyes and of what he had seen behind their
"My dear child," again exclaimed Mrs. Waring-Gaunt, "I declare you
have actually grown taller and grown--a great many other things
that I may not tell you. What have they done to you at that
wonderful school? Did you love it?"
The girl flushed with a quick emotion. "Oh, Mrs. Waring-Gaunt, it
was really wonderful. I had such a good time and every one was
lovely to me. I did not know people could be so kind. But it is
good to get back home again to them all, and to you, and to all
this." She waved her hand to the forest about her.
"And who are up here to-day, and what are you doing?" inquired Mrs.
"In the meantime I am preparing dinner," said the girl with a
"Dinner!" exclaimed Jack Romayne, who had meantime drawn near,
determined to rehabilitate himself in the eyes of this girl as a
man familiar with the decencies of polite society. "Dinner! It
smells so good and we are desperately hungry."
"Yes," cried Mrs. Waring-Gaunt. "My brother declared he was quite
faint more than an hour ago, and now I am sure he is."
"But I don't know," said the girl with serious anxiety on her face.
"You see, we have only pork and fried potatoes, and Nora just shot
a chicken--only one--and they are always so hungry. But we have
plenty of bread and tea. Would you stay?"
"It sounds really very nice," said Mrs. Waring-Gaunt.
"It would be awfully jolly of you, and I promise not to eat too
much," said the young man. "I am actually faint with hunger, and a
cup of tea appears necessary to revive me."
"Of course, stay," said the girl with quick sympathy. "We can't
give you much, but we can give you something."
"O-h-o-o-o-h! O-h-o-o-o-h!" A loud call came from the woods.
"There's Nora," said Kathleen. "O-o-o-o-o-h! O-o-o-o-o-h!" The
girl's answering call was like the winding of a silver horn. "Here
Out from the woods, striding into the clearing, came a young girl
dressed in workmanlike garb in short skirt, leggings and jersey,
with a soft black hat on the black tumbled locks. "Hello,
Kathleen, dinner ready? I'm famished. Oh, Mrs. Waring-Gaunt, glad
to see you."
"And my brother, Nora, Mr. Jack Romayne, just come from England,
and hungry as a bear."
"Just from England? And hungry? Well, we are glad to see you, Mr.
Romayne." The girl came forward with a quick step and frankly
offered her brown, strong hand. "We're awfully glad to see you,
Mr. Romayne," she repeated. "I ought to be embarrassed, I know,
only I am so hungry."
"Just my fix, Miss Nora," said the young man. "I am really anxious
to be polite. I feel we should decline the invitation to dinner
which your sister has pressed upon us; we know it is a shame to
drop in on you like this all unprepared, but I am so hungry, and
really that smell is so irresistible that I feel I simply cannot be
"Don't!" cried the girl, "or rather, do, and stay. There's enough
of something, and Joe will look after the horses." She put her
hands to her lips and called, "J-o-o-e!"
A voice from the woods answered her, followed by Joe himself.
"Here, Joe, take the horses and unsaddle them and tether them out
Despite Kathleen's fears there was dinner enough for all.
"This is perfectly stunning!" said Romayne, glancing round the
little clearing and up at the trees waving overhead, through the
interstices of whose leafy canopy showed patches of blue sky.
"Gorgeous, by Jove! Words are futile things for really great
"Ripping," said Nora, smiling impudently into his face. "Awfully
jolly! A-1! Top hole! That's the lot, I think, according to the
best authorities. Do you know any others?"
"I beg pardon, what?" said Romayne, looking up from his fried pork
"Those are all I have learned in English at least," said Nora. "I
am keen for some more. They are Oxford, I believe. Have you any
Mr. Romayne diverted his attention from his dinner. "What is she
talking about, Miss Gwynne? I confess to be entirely absorbed in
these fried potatoes."
"Words, words, Mr. Romayne, vocabulary, adjectives," replied Nora.
"Ah," said Romayne, "but why should one worry about words,
especially adjectives, when one has such divine realities as these
to deal with?"
"Have some muffles, Mr. Romayne," said Nora.
"Muffles? Now what may muffles be?"
"Muffles are a cross between muffins and waffles."
"Please elucidate their nature and origin," said Mr. Romayne.
"Let me show you," said Kathleen. She sprang up, dived into the
cabin and returned with a large, round, hard biscuit in her hand.
"This is Hudson Bay hard tack, the stand-by of all western people--
Hudson Bay freighters and cowboys, old timers and tenderfeet alike
swear by it. See, you moisten it slightly in water, fry it in
boiling fat, sugar it and keep hot till served. Thus Hudson Bay
hard tack becomes muffles."
"Marvellous!" exclaimed Mr. Romayne, "and truly delicious! And to
think that the Savoy chef knows nothing about muffles! But now
that my first faintness is removed and the mystery of muffles is
solved, may I inquire just what you are doing up here to-day, Miss
Gwynne? What is the business on hand, I mean?"
"Oh, Nora is getting out some logs for building and firewood for
next winter. The logs, you see, are cut during the winter and
hauled to the dump there."
"Dump!" exclaimed Mr. Romayne faintly.
"Yes. The bank there where you dump the logs into the creek below."
"But what exactly has Miss Nora to do with all this?"
"I?" enquired Nora, "I only boss the job."
"Don't you believe her," said Mrs. Waring-Gaunt. "I happen to
remember one winter day coming upon this young lady in these very
woods driving her team and hauling logs to the dump while Sam and
Joe did the cutting. Ask the boys there? And why shouldn't she?"
continued Mrs. Waring-Gaunt. "She can run a farm, with garden,
pigs and poultry thrown in; open a coal mine and--"
"Nonsense!" exclaimed Nora, "the boys here do it all. Mother
furnishes the head work."
"Oh, Nora!" protested Kathleen, "you know you manage everything.
Isn't that true, boys?"
"She's the hull works herself," said Sam. "Ain't she, Joe?"
"You bet yeh," said Joe, husky with the muffles.
"She's a corker," continued Sam, "double compressed, compensating,
forty horsepower, ain't she, Joe?"
"You bet yeh!" adding, for purpose of emphasis, "By gar!"
"Six cylinder, self-starter," continued Sam with increasing
"Self-starter," echoed Joe, going off into a series of choking
chuckles. "Sure t'ing, by gar!" Joe, having safely disposed of
the muffles, gave himself up to unrestrained laughter, throwing
back his head, slapping his knees and repeating at intervals,
"Self-starter, by gar!"
So infectious was his laughter that the whole company joined in.
"Cut it out, boys," said Nora. "You are all talking rot, you know;
and what about you," she added, turning swiftly upon her sister.
"Who runs the house, I'd like to know, and looks after everything
inside, and does the sewing? This outfit of mine, for instance?
And her own outfit?"
"Oh, Nora," protested Kathleen, the colour rising in her face.
"Did you make your own costume?" inquired Mr. Romayne.
"She did that," said Nora, "and mine and mother's, and she makes
father's working shirts."
"Oh, Nora, stop, please. You know I do very little."
"She makes the butter as well."
"They're a pair," said Sam in a low growl, but perfectly audible to
the company, "a regular pair, eh, Joe?"
"Sure t'ing," replied Joe, threatening to go off again into
laughter, but held in check by a glance from Nora.
For an hour they lingered over the meal. Then Nora, jumping up
quickly, took Mrs. Waring-Gaunt with her to superintend the work at
the dump, leaving Mr. Romayne reclining on the grass smoking his
pipe in abandoned content, while Kathleen busied herself clearing
away and washing up the dishes.
"May I help?" inquired Mr. Romayne, when the others had gone.
"Oh, no," replied Kathleen. "Just rest where you are, please; just
take it easy; I'd really rather you would, and there's nothing to
"I am not an expert at this sort of thing," said Mr. Romayne, "but
at least I can dry dishes. I learned that much on the veldt."
"In South Africa? You were in the war?" replied Kathleen, giving
him a towel.
"Yes, I had a go at it."
"It must have been terrible--to think of actually killing men."
"It is not pleasant," replied Romayne, shrugging his shoulders,
"but it has to be done sometimes."
"Oh, do you think so? It does not seem as if it should be
necessary at any time," said the girl with great earnestness. "I
can't believe it is either right or necessary ever to kill men; and
as for the Boer War, don't you think everybody agrees now that it
Mr. Romayne was always prepared to defend with the ardour of a
British soldier the righteousness of every war in which the British
Army has ever been engaged. But somehow he found it difficult to
conduct an argument in favour of war against this girl who stood
fronting him with a look of horror in her face.
"Well," said Mr. Romayne, "I believe there is something to be said
on both sides. No doubt there were blunders in the early part of
the trouble, but eventually war had to come."
"But that's just it," cried the girl. "Isn't that the way it is
always? In the early stages of a quarrel it is so easy to come to
an understanding and to make peace; but after the quarrel has gone
on, then war becomes inevitable. If only every dispute could be
submitted to the judgment of some independent tribunal. Nations
are just like people. They see things solely from their own point
of view. Do you know, Mr. Romayne, there is no subject upon which
I feel so keenly as upon the subject of war. I just loathe and
hate and dread the thought of war. I think perhaps I inherit this.
My mother, you know, belongs to the Friends, and she sees so
clearly the wickedness and the folly of war. And don't you think
that all the world is seeing this more clearly to-day than ever
There was nothing new in this argument or in this position to
Mr. Romayne, but somehow, as he looked at the girl's eager,
enthusiastic face, and heard her passionate denunciation of war,
he found it difficult to defend the justice of war under any
"I entirely agree with you, Miss Gwynne, that war is utterly
horrible, that it is silly, that it is wicked. I would rather not
discuss it with you, but I can't help feeling that there are
circumstances that make it necessary and right for men to fight."
"You don't wish to discuss this with me?" said Kathleen. "I am
sorry, for I have always wished to hear a soldier who is also"--
the girl hesitated for a moment--"a gentleman and a Christian--"
"Thank you, Miss Gwynne," said Romayne, with quiet earnestness.
"Discuss the reasons why war is ever necessary."
"It is a very big subject," said Mr. Romayne, "and some day I
should like to give you my point of view. There are multitudes of
people in Britain to-day, Miss Gwynne, who would agree with you.
Lots of books have been written on both sides. I have listened to
hours and hours of discussion, so that you can easily see that
there is much to be said on both sides. I always come back,
however, to the point that among nations of similar ethical
standards and who are equally anxious to preserve the peace of the
world, arbitration as a method of settling disputes ought to be
perfectly simple and easy. It is only when you have to deal with
nations whose standards of ethics are widely dissimilar or who are
possessed with another ambition than that of preserving the peace
of the world that you get into difficulty."
"I see your point," replied Kathleen, "but I also see that just
there you allow for all sorts of prejudice to enter and for the
indulgence in unfair argument and special pleading. But there, we
are finished," she said, "and you do not wish to discuss this just
"Some time, Miss Gwynne, we shall have this out, and I have some
literature on the subject that I should like to give you."
"And so have I," cried the girl, with a smile that rendered Mr.
Romayne for some moments quite incapable of consecutive thought.
"And now shall we look up the others?"
At the dump they found Joe and Sam rolling the logs, which during
the winter had been piled high upon the bank, down the steep
declivity or "dump" into the stream below. Mrs. Waring-Gaunt and
Nora were seated on a log beside them engaged in talk.
"May I inquire if you are bossing the job as usual?" said Mr.
Romayne, after he had watched the operation for a few moments.
"Oh, no, there's no bossing going on to-day. But," said the girl,
"I rather think the boys like to have me around."
"I don't wonder," said Mr. Romayne, enthusiastically.
"Are you making fun of me, Mr. Romayne?" said the girl, her face
indicating that she was prepared for battle.
"God forbid," replied Mr. Romayne, fervently.
"Not a bit of it, Nora dear," said his sister. "He is simply
consumed with envy. He has just come from a country, you know,
where only the men do things; I mean things that really count. And
it makes him furiously jealous to see a young woman calmly doing
things that he knows quite well he could not attempt to do."
"Quite true," replied her brother. "I am humbled to the ground at
my own all to obvious ineptitude, and am lost in admiration of the
marvellous efficiency of the young ladies of Canada whom it has
been my good fortune to meet."
Nora glanced at him suspiciously. "You talk well," she said. "I
half believe you're just making fun of us."
"Not a bit, Nora, not a bit," said his sister. "It is as I have
said before. The man is as jealous as he can be, and, like all
men, he hates to discover himself inferior in any particular to a
woman. But we must be going. I am so glad you are home again,
dear," she said, turning to Kathleen. "We shall hope to see a
great deal of you. Thank you for the delightful lunch. It was so
good of you to have us."
"Yes, indeed," added the young man. "You saved my life. I had
just about reached the final stage of exhaustion. I, too, hope to
see you again very soon and often, for you know we must finish that
discussion and settle that question."
"What question is that," inquired his sister, "if I may ask?"
"Oh, the old question," said her brother, "the eternal question--
"I suppose," said Nora, "Kathleen has been giving you some of her
peace talk. I want you to know, Mr. Romayne, that I don't agree
with her in the least, and I am quite sure you don't either."
"I am not so sure of that," replied the young man. "We have not
finished it out yet. I feel confident, however, that we shall come
to an agreement on it."
"I hope not," replied Nora, "for in that case you would become a
pacifist, for Kathleen, just like mother, you know, is a terrible
peace person. Indeed, our family is divided on that question--
Daddy and I opposed to the rest. And you know pacifists have this
characteristic, that they are always ready to fight."
"Yes," said her sister. "We are always ready to fight for peace.
But do not let us get into that discussion now. I shall walk with
you a little way."
Arm in arm she and Mrs. Waring-Gaunt walked down the steep trail,
Mr. Romayne following behind, leading the horses. As they walked
together, Mrs. Waring-Gaunt talked to the girl of her brother.
"You know he was in the Diplomatic Service, went in after the South
African War, and did awfully well there in the reconstruction work,
was very popular with the Boers, though he had fought them in the
war. He got to know their big men, and some of them are really big
men. As a matter of fact, he became very fond of them and helped
the Government at Home to see things from their point of view.
After that he went to the Continent, was in Italy for a while and
then in Germany, where, I believe, he did very good work. He saw
a good deal of the men about the Kaiser. He loathed the Crown
Prince, I believe, as most of our people there do. Suddenly he
was recalled. He refused, of course, to talk about it, but I
understand there was some sort of a row. I believe he lost his
temper with some exalted personage. At any rate, he was recalled,
chucked the whole service, and came out here. He felt awfully cut
up about it. And now he has no faith in the German Government,
says they mean war. He's awfully keen on preparation and that sort
of thing. I thought I would just tell you, especially since I
heard you had been discussing war with him."
As they neared the Switzer place they saw a young man standing on
the little pier which jutted out into the stream with a pike-pole
in his hand, keeping the logs from jambing at the turn.
"It's Ernest Switzer," cried Kathleen. "I have not seen him for
ever so long. How splendidly he is looking! Hello, Ernest!" she
cried, waving her hand and running forward to meet him, followed by
the critical eyes of Jack Romayne.
The young man came hurrying toward her. "Kathleen!" he cried. "Is
it really you?" He threw down his pole as he spoke and took her
hand in both of his, the flush on his fair face spreading to the
roots of his hair.
"You know Mrs. Waring-Gaunt," said Kathleen to him, for he paid no
attention at all to the others. Mrs. Waring-Gaunt acknowledged
Switzer's heel clicks, as also did her brother when introduced.
"You have been keeping the logs running, Ernest, I see. That is
very good of you," said Kathleen.
"Yes, there was the beginning of a nice little jamb here," said
Switzer. "They are running right enough now. But when did you
return?" he continued, dropping into a confidential tone and
turning his back upon the others. "Do you know I have not seen you
for nine months?"
"Nine months?" said Kathleen. "I was away seven months."
"Yes, but I was away two months before you went. You forget that,"
he added reproachfully. "But I do not forget. Nine months--nine
long months. And are you glad to be back, Kathleen, glad to see
all your friends again, glad to see me?"
"I am glad to be at home, Ernest, glad to see all of my friends, of
course, glad to get to the West again, to the woods here and the
mountains and all."
"And you did not come in to see us as you passed," gazing at her
with reproachful eyes and edging her still further away from the
"Oh, we intended to come in on our way back."
"Let's move on," said Romayne to his sister.
"We must be going, Kathleen dear," said Mrs. Waring-Gaunt. "You
will soon be coming to see us?"
"Yes, indeed, you may be sure. It is so good to see you," replied
the girl warmly, as Mrs. Waring-Gaunt kissed her good-bye. "Good-
bye, Mr. Romayne; we must finish our discussion another time."
"Always at your service," replied Mr. Romayne, "although I am
rather afraid of you. Thank you again for your hospitality. Good-
bye." He held her hand, looking down into the blue depths of her
eyes until as before the crimson in her face recalled him. "Good-
bye. This has been a wonderful day to me." He mounted his horse,
lifted his hat, and rode off after his sister.
"What sort of a chap is the Johnnie?" said Jack to his sister as
they rode away.
"Not a bad sort at all; very bright fellow, quite popular in this
community with the young fellows. He has lots of money, you know,
and spends it. Of course, he is fearfully German, military style
and all that."
"Seems to own that girl, eh?" said Jack, glancing back over his
shoulder at the pair.
"Oh, the two families are quite intimate. Ernest and his sister
were in Larry's musical organisations and they are quite good
"By Jove, Sybil, she is wonderful! Why didn't you give me a hint?"
"I did. But really, she has come on amazingly. That college in
"Oh, college! It is not a question of college!" said her brother
impatiently. "It's herself. Why, Sybil, think of that girl in
London in a Worth frock. But no! That would spoil her. She is
better just as she is. Jove, she completely knocked me out! I
made a fool of myself."
"She has changed indeed," said his sister. "She is a lovely girl
and so simple and unaffected. I have come really to love her. We
must see a lot of her."
"But where did she get that perfectly charming manner? Do you
realise what a perfectly stunning girl she is? Where did she get
that style of hers?"
"You must see her mother, Jack. She is a charming woman, simple,
quiet, a Quaker, I believe, but quite beautiful manners. Her
father, too, is a gentleman, a Trinity man, I understand."
"Well," said her brother with a laugh, "I foresee myself falling in
love with that girl in the most approved style."
"You might do worse," replied his sister, "though I doubt if you
are not too late."
"Why? That German Johnnie?"
"Well, it is never wise to despise the enemy. He really is a fine
chap, his prospects are very good; he has known her for a long
while, and he is quite mad about her."
"But, good Lord, Sybil, he's a German!"
"A German," said his sister, "yes. But what difference does that
make? He is a German, but he is also a Canadian. We are all
Canadians here whatever else we may be or have ever been. We are
all sorts and classes, high and low, rich and poor, and of all
nationalities--Germans, French, Swedes, Galicians, Russians--but we
all shake down into good Canadian citizens. We are just Canadians,
and that is good enough for me. We are loyal to Canada first."
"You may be right as far as other nationalities are concerned, but,
Sybil, believe me, you do not know the German. I know him and
there is no such thing as a German loyal to Canada first."
"But, Jack, you are so terribly insular. You must really get rid
of all that. I used to think like you, but here we have got to the
place where we can laugh at all that sort of thing."
"I know, Sybil. I know. They are laughing in England to-day at
Roberts and Charlie Beresford. But I know Germany and the German
mind and the German aim and purpose, and I confess to you that I am
in a horrible funk at the state of things in our country. And this
chap Switzer--you say he has been in Germany for two years? Well,
he has every mark characteristic of the German. He reproduces the
young German that I have seen the world over--in Germany, in the
Crown Prince's coterie (don't I know them?), in South Africa, in
West Africa, in China. He has every mark, the same military style,
the same arrogant self-assertion, the same brutal disregard of the
"Why, Jack, how you talk! You are actually excited."
"Did you not notice his manner with that girl? He calmly took
possession of her and ignored us who were of her party, actually
isolated her from us."
"But, Jack, this seems to me quite outrageous."
"Yes, Sybil, and there are more like you. But I happen to know
from experience what I am talking about. The elementary governing
principle of life for the young German of to-day is very simple and
is easily recognised, and it is this: when you see anything you
want, go for it and take it, no matter if all the decencies of life
"Jack, I cannot, frankly, I cannot agree with you in regard to
young Switzer. I know him fairly well and--"
"Let's not talk about it, Sybil," said her brother, quietly.
"Oh, all right, Jack."
They rode on in silence, Romayne gloomily keeping his eye on the
trail before him until they neared the Gwynne gate, when the young
man exclaimed abruptly:
"My God, it would be a crime!"
"Whatever do you mean, Jack?"