Part 7 out of 8
Mrs. Murray's hands, and Mrs. Murray, opening it, read:
MY DEAR MAIMIE: It is impossible for me to go to you tonight.
Your father and I have had a difference so serious that I can never
enter his house again, but I am writing now to tell you what I
meant to tell you to-night. I love you, Maimie. I love you with
all my heart and soul. I have loved you since the night I pulled
you from the fire.
"Maimie," said Mrs. Murray, handing her back the note, "I do not
think you ought to give me this. That is too sacred for any eyes
but your own."
"Oh, I know, auntie, but what can I do? I am so sorry for Ranald!
What shall I do, auntie?"
"My dear child, in this neither I nor any one can advise you. You
must be true to yourself."
"Oh, I wish I knew what to do!" cried Maimie. "He wants me to tell
him--" Maimie paused, her face once more covered with blushes,
"and I do not know what to say!"
"What does your heart say, Maimie?" said Mrs. Murray, quietly.
"Oh, auntie, I am so miserable!"
"But, Maimie," continued her aunt, "in this matter, as I said
before, you must be true to yourself. Do you love Ranald?"
"Oh, auntie, I cannot tell," cried Maimie, putting her face in her
"If Ranald were De Lacy would you love him?"
"Oh yes, yes, how happy I would be!"
Then Mrs. Murray rose. "Maimie, dear," she said, and her voice was
very gentle but very firm, "let me speak to you for your dear
mother's sake. Do not deceive yourself. Do not give your life for
anything but love. Ranald is a noble man and he will be a great
man some day, and I love him as my own son, but I would not have
you give yourself to him unless you truly loved him." She did not
mention De Lacy's name nor utter a word in comparison of the two,
but listening to her voice, Maimie knew only too well whither her
love had gone.
"Oh, auntie," she cried, "I cannot bear it!"
"Yes, Maimie dear, you can bear to do the right, for there is One
in whose strength we can do all things."
Before Maimie could reply her Aunt Frances came in.
"It is dinner-time," she announced, "and your father has just come
in, Maimie, and we must have dinner over at once."
Maimie rose, and going to the glass, smoothed back her hair. Her
Aunt Frances glanced at her face and then at Mrs. Murray, and as if
fearing Maimie's reply, went on hurriedly, "You must look your very
best to-night, and even better to-morrow," she said, smiling,
significantly. She came and put her hands on Maimie's shoulders,
and kissing her, said: "Have you told your Aunt Murray who is
coming to-morrow? I am sure I'm very thankful, my dear, you will
be very happy. It is an excellent match. Half the girls in town
will be wild with envy. He has written a very manly letter to your
father, and I am sure he is a noble fellow, and he has excellent
prospects. But we must hurry down to dinner," she said, turning to
Mrs. Murray, who with a look of sadness on her pale face, left the
room without a word.
"Ranald is not coming," said Maimie, when her Aunt Murray had gone.
"Indeed, from what your father says," cried Aunt Frank, indignantly,
"I do not very well see how he could. He has been most impertinent."
"You are not to say that, Aunt Frank," cried Maimie. "Ranald could
not be impertinent, and I will not hear it." Her tone was so
haughty and fierce that Aunt Frank thought it wiser to pursue this
subject no further.
"Well," she said, as she turned to leave the room, "I'm very glad
he has the grace to keep away tonight. He has always struck me as
a young man of some presumption."
When the door closed upon her Maimie tore the note from her bosom
and pressed it again and again to her lips: "Oh, Ranald, Ranald,"
she cried, "I love you! I love you! Oh, why can it not be? Oh, I
cannot--I cannot give him up!" She threw herself upon her knees
and laid her face in the bed. In a few minutes there came a tap at
the door, and her Aunt Frances's voice was heard, "Maimie, your
father has gone down; we must not delay." The tone was incisive
and matter-of-fact. It said to Maimie, "Now let's have no
nonsense. Be a sensible woman of the world." Maimie rose from her
knees. Hastily removing all traces of tears from her face, and
glancing in the glass, she touched the little ringlets into place
and went down to dinner.
It was a depressing meal. Mr. St. Clair was irritable; Harry
perplexed and sullen; Maimie nervously talkative. Mrs. Murray was
heroically holding herself in command, but the look of pain in her
eyes and the pathetic tremor on her lips belied the brave smiles
and cheerful words with which she seconded Aunt Frank.
After dinner the company separated, for there were still preparations
to make for the evening. As Mrs. Murray was going to her room, she
met Harry in the hall with his hat on.
"Where are you going, Harry?"
"Anywhere," he growled, fiercely, "to get out of this damnable
hypocrisy! Pardon me, Aunt Murray, I can't help it, it IS damnable,
and a whole lot of them are in it!"
Then Mrs. Murray came, and laying her hand on his arm, said:
"Don't go, Harry; don't leave me; I want some one; come upstairs."
Harry stood looking at the sweet face, trying to smile so bravely
in spite of the tremulous lips.
"You are a dear, brave little woman," he said, hanging up his hat,
"and I'll be hanged if I don't stay by you. Come along upstairs."
He stooped, and lifting her in his arms in spite of her laughing
protests, carried her upstairs to her room. When they came down to
the party they both looked braver and stronger.
The party was a great success. The appointments were perfect; the
music the best that could be had, and Maimie more beautiful than
ever. In some mysterious way, known only to Aunt Frank, the rumor
of Maimie's approaching engagement got about among the guests and
produced an undertone of excitement to the evenings gayety. Maimie
was too excited to be quite natural, but she had never appeared
more brilliant and happy, and surely she had every cause. She had
achieved a dizzy summit of social success that made her at once the
subject of her friends' congratulations and her rivals' secret
envy, and which was the more delightful it would be hard to say.
Truly, she was a fortunate girl, but still the night was long, and
she was tired of it all before it was over. The room seemed empty,
and often her heart gave a leap as her eyes fell upon some form
that appeared more handsome and striking than others near, but only
to sink again in disappointment when a second glance told her that
it was only some ordinary man. Kate, too, kept aloof in a very
unpleasant way, and Harry, devoting himself to Kate, had not done
his duty. But in spite of everything the party had been a great
success, and when it was over Maimie went straight to bed to sleep.
She knew that Ranald would be awaiting the answer to his note, but
she could not bring herself to face what she knew would be an
ordeal that might murder sleep for her, and sleep she must have,
for she must be her best to-morrow. It would have been better for
all involved had she written her answer that night; otherwise
Ranald would not have been standing at her door in the early
afternoon asking to see her. It was Aunt Frances who came down to
the drawing-room. As Ranald stood up and bowed, she adjusted her
pince-nez upon her aristocratic nose, and viewed him.
"You are wishing to see Miss St. Clair," she said, in her very
"I asked to see Maimie," said Ranald, looking at her with cool,
"I must say, Mr. Macdonald, that after your conduct to my brother
yesterday, I am surprised you should have the assurance to enter
"I would prefer not discussing office matters with you," said
Ranald, politely, and with a suspicion of a smile. "I have come to
"That, I am glad to say, is impossible, for she is at present out
with Captain De Lacy who has just arrived from the East to--see--
to--in short, on a very special errand."
For a moment Ranald stood without reply.
"She is out, you say?" he answered at length.
"She is out with Captain De Lacy." He caught the touch of triumph
in her voice.
"Will she be back soon?" inquired Ranald, looking baffled.
"Of course one cannot tell in such a case," answered Miss St. Clair,
"but I should think not." Miss St. Clair was enjoying herself. It
did her good to see this insolent, square-jawed young man standing
helpless before her.
"It is important that I should see her," said Ranald, after a few
moments' thought. "I shall wait." Had Miss St. Clair known him
better she would have noticed with some concern the slow fires
kindling in his eyes. As it was she became indignant.
"That, Mr. Macdonald, you shall not; and allow me to say frankly
that your boldness--your insolence--I may say, is beyond all
"Insolence, and when?" Ranald was very quiet.
"You come to the house of your employer, whom you have insulted,
and demand to see his daughter."
"I have a right to see her."
"Right? What right have you, pray?"
Then Ranald stood up and looked Miss St. Clair full in the face
with eyes fairly alight.
"Miss St. Clair, have you ever known what it is to love with all
your soul and heart?" Miss St. Clair gasped. "Because if not, you
will not understand me; if you have you will know why I must see
Maimie. It is seven years now since I began to love her. I
remember the spot in the woods; I see the big tree there behind her
and the rising ground stretching away to the right. I see the
place where I pulled her out of the fire. Every morning since that
time I have waked with the thought of her; every night my eyes have
closed with a vision of her before me. It is for her I have lived
and worked. I tell you she is mine! I love her! I love her, and
she loves me. I know it." His words came low, fierce, and swift.
Miss St. Clair stood breathless. What a man he looked and how
handsome he was!
With but a moment's pause Ranald went on, but his voice took a
gentler tone. "Miss St. Clair, do you understand me? Yes, I know
you do." The blood came flowing suddenly to her thin cheeks. "You
say she is out with Captain De Lacy, and you mean me to think that
she is to give herself to him. He loves her, I know, but I say she
is mine! Her eyes have told me that. She is mine, I tell you, and
no man living will take her from me." The fire that always
slumbered in his eyes was now blazing in full fury. The great
passion of his life was raging through his soul, vibrating in his
voice, and glowing in his dark face. Miss St. Clair sat silent,
and then motioned him to a seat.
"Mr. Macdonald," she said, with grave courtesy, "you are too late,
I fear. I did not realize--Maimie will never be yours. I know my
niece." At the sad earnestness of her voice, Ranald's face began
to grow pale.
"I will wait for her," he said, quietly.
"I beg you will not."
"I will wait," he repeated, with lips tight pressed.
"It is vain, Mr. Macdonald, I assure you. Spare yourself and her.
I know what--I could have--" Her voice grew husky.
"I will wait," once more replied Ranald, the lines of his face
Miss St. Clair rose and gave him her hand. "I will send a friend
to you, and I beg you to excuse me," Ranald bowed gravely, "and to
forgive me," and she left the room. Ranald heard her pass through
the hall and up the stairs and then a door closed behind her.
Before he had time to gather his thoughts together he heard a voice
outside that made his heart stand still. Then the front door
opened quickly and Maimie and De Lacy stood in the hall. She was
gayly talking. Ranald rose and stood with his back to the door.
Before him was a large mirror which reflected the hall through the
open door. He stood waiting for them to enter.
"Hang up your hat, Captain De Lacy, then go in and find a chair
while I run upstairs," cried Maimie, gayly. "You must learn your
way about here now."
"No," said De Lacy, in a low, distinct voice. "I can wait no
She looked at him a moment as if in fear.
"Come," he said, holding out his hands to her. "There was no
chance in the park, and I can wait no longer." Slowly she came
near. "My darling, my sweetheart," he said, in a low voice full of
intense passion. Then, while she lay in his arms, he kissed her on
the lips twice. Ranald stood gazing in the mirror as if fascinated.
As their lips met a low groan burst from him. He faced about, and
with a single step, stood in the doorway. Shriek after shriek
echoed through the house as Maimie sprang from De Lacy's arms and
shrank back to the wall.
"Great heavens," cried De Lacy, "why it's Macdonald! What the
deuce do you mean coming in on people like that?"
"What is it, Maimie," cried her Aunt Frank, hurrying down stairs.
Then she saw Ranald standing in the doorway, with face bloodless,
ghastly, livid. Quickly she went up to him, and said, in a voice
trembling and not ungentle: "Oh, why did you wait, Mr. Macdonald;
go away now, go away."
Ranald turned and looked at her with a curious uncomprehending
gaze, and then said, "Yes, I will go away." He took a step toward
Maimie, his eyes like lurid flames. She shrank from him, while De
Lacy stepped in his path. With a sweep of his arm he brushed De
Lacy aside, hurling him crashing against the wall, and stood before
the shrinking girl.
"Good by, Maimie; forget that I loved you once."
The words came slowly from his pallid lips. For some moments he
stood with his burning eyes fastened upon her face. Then he turned
slowly from her and groped blindly for his hat. Miss St. Clair
hurried toward him, found his hat, and putting it in his hand,
said, in a broken voice, while tears poured down her cheeks: "Here
it is; good by, good by."
He looked at her a moment as if in surprise, and then, with a smile
of rare sweetness on his white lips, he said, "I thank you," and
passed out, going feebly like a man who has got a death wound.
A GOOD TRUE FRIEND
It was springtime and the parks and avenues were in all the dainty
splendor of their new leaves. The afternoon May sun was flooding
the city with gold and silver light, and all the air was tremulous
with the singing of birds. A good day it was to live if one could
only live in the sunny air within sight of the green leaves and
within sound of the singing birds. A day for life and love it was;
at least so Kate thought as she drew up her prancing team at the
St. Clair house where Harry stood waiting for her.
"DEAR Kate," he cried, "how stunning you are! I love you!"
"Come, Harry, jump up! Breton is getting excited."
"Stony-hearted wretch," grumbled Harry. "Did you hear me tell you
I love you?"
"Nonsense, Harry, jump in; I'll report to Lily Langford."
"Don't tell," pleaded Harry, "and do keep Breton on all fours.
This isn't a circus. You terrify me."
"We have only time to make the train, hurry up!" cried Kate.
"Steady, my boys."
"Some day, Kate, those 'boys' of yours will be your death or the
death of some of your friends," said Harry, as he sprang in and
took his place beside Kate. "That Breton ought to be shot. It
really affects my heart to drive with you."
"You haven't any, Harry, you know that right well, so don't be
"Quite true," said Harry, sentimentally, "not since that night,
don't you remember, Kate, when you--"
"Now, Harry, I only remind you that I always tell my girl friends
everything you say. It is this wedding that's got into your
"I suppose so," murmured Harry, pensively; "wish it would get into
yours. Now seriously, Kate, at your years you ought--"
"Harry," said Kate, indignantly, "I really don't need you at the
station. I can meet your aunt quite well without you. Shall I set
you down here, or drive you to the office?"
"Oh, not to the office, I entreat! I entreat! Anything but that!
Surely I may be allowed this day! I shall be careful of your
sensitive points, but I do hope this wedding of Maimie's will give
you serious thoughts."
Kate was silent, giving her attention doubtless to her team. Then,
with seeming irrelevance, she said: "Didn't I see Colonel Thorp
yesterday in town?"
"Yes, the old heathen! I haven't forgiven him for taking off
Ranald as he did."
"He didn't take off Ranald. Ranald was going off anyway."
"How do you know?" said Harry.
"I know," replied Kate, with a little color in her cheek. "He told
"Well, old Thorp was mighty glad to get him; I can tell you that.
The old sinner!"
"He's just a dear!" cried Kate. "Yes, he was glad to get Ranald.
What a splendid position he gave him."
"Oh, yes, I know, he adores you like all the rest, and so you think
him a dear."
But this Kate ignored for the team were speeding along at an
alarming pace. With amazing skill and dash she threaded her way
through the crowded streets with almost no checking of her speed.
"Do be careful," cried Harry, as the wheels of their carriage
skimmed the noses of the car-horses. "I am quite sure my aunt will
not be able to recognize me."
"And why not?"
"Because I shall be gray-haired by the time I reach the station."
"There's the train I do believe," cried Kate, flourishing her whip
over her horses' backs. "We must not be late."
"If we ever get there alive," said Harry.
"Here we are sure enough."
"Shall I go to the train?"
"No, indeed," cried Kate. "Do you think I am going to allow any
one to meet MY Aunt Murray but myself? I shall go; you hold the
"I am afraid, really," cried Harry, pretending terror.
"Oh, I fancy you will do," cried Kate, smiling sweetly, as she ran
off to meet the incoming train. In a few moments she returned with
Mrs. Murray and carrying a large, black valise.
"Hello, auntie dear," cried Harry. "You see I can't leave these
brutes of Kate's, but believe me it does me good to see you. What
a blessing a wedding is to bring you to us. I suppose you won't
come again until it is Kate's or mine."
"That would be sure to bring me," cried Mrs. Murray, smiling her
bright smile, "provided you married the right persons."
"Why, auntie," said Harry, dismally, "Kate is so unreasonable. She
won't take even me. You see she's so tremendously impressed with
herself, and all the fellows spoil her."
By this time Kate had the reins and Harry had climbed into the back
"Dear old auntie," he said, kissing his aunt, "I am really
delighted to see you. But to return to Kate. Look at her!
Doesn't she look like a Roman princess?"
"Now, Harry, do be sensible, or I shall certainly drive you at once
to the office," said Kate, severely.
"Oh, the heartlessness of her. She knows well enough that Colonel
Thorp is there, and she would shamelessly exult over his abject
devotion. She respects neither innocent youth nor gray hairs, as
witness myself and Colonel Thorp."
"Isn't he a silly boy, auntie?" said Kate, "and he is not much
improving with age."
"But what's this about Colonel Thorp?" said Mrs. Murray. "Sometimes
Ranald writes of him, in high terms, too."
"Well, you ought to hear Thorp abuse Ranald. Says he's ruining the
company with his various philanthropic schemes," said Harry, "but
you can never tell what he means exactly. He's a wily old customer."
"Don't believe him, auntie," said Kate, with a sagacious smile.
"Colonel Thorp thinks that the whole future of his company and of
the Province depends solely upon Ranald. It is quite ridiculous to
hear him, while all the time he is abusing him for his freaks."
"It must be a great country out there, though," said Harry, "and
what a row they are making over Confederation."
"What do you mean, Harry?" said Mrs. Murray. "We hear so little in
"Well, I don't know exactly, but those fellows in British Columbia
are making all sorts of threats that unless this railway is built
forthwith they will back out of the Dominion, and some of them talk
of annexation with the United States. Don't I wish I was there!
What a lucky fellow Ranald is. Thorp says he's a big gun already.
No end of a swell. Of course, as manager of a big concern like the
British-American Coal and Lumber Company, he is a man of some
"I don't think he is taking much to do with public questions," said
Kate, "though he did make a speech at New Westminster not long ago.
He has been up in those terrible woods almost ever since he went."
"Hello, how do you know?" said Harry, looking at her suspiciously;
"I get a fragment of a note from Ranald now and then, but he is
altogether too busy to remember humble people."
"I hear regularly from Coley. You remember Coley, don't you?" said
Kate, turning to Mrs. Murray.
"Oh, yes, that's the lad in whom Ranald was so interested in the
"Yes," replied Kate; "Coley begged and prayed to go with Ranald,
and so he went."
"She omits to state," said Harry, "that she also 'begged and
prayed' and further that she outfitted the young rascal, though
I've reason to thank Providence for removing him to another sphere."
"How does it affect you?" said Mrs. Murray.
"Why, haven't you heard, Aunt Murray, of the tremendous heights to
which I have attained? I suppose she didn't tell you of her dinner
party. That was after you had left last fall. It was a great bit
of generalship. Some of Ranald's foot-ball friends, Little
Merrill, Starry Hamilton, that's the captain, you know, and myself
among them, were asked to a farewell supper by this young lady, and
when the men had well drunk--fed, I mean--and were properly
dissolved in tears over the prospect of Ranald's departure, at a
critical moment the Institute was introduced as a side issue. It
was dear to Ranald's heart. A most effective picture was drawn of
the Institute deserted and falling into ruins, so to speak, with
Kate heroically struggling to prevent utter collapse. Could this
be allowed? No! a thousand times no! Some one would be found
surely! Who would it be! At this juncture Kate, who had been
maintaining a powerful silence, smiled upon Little Merrill, who
being distinctly inflammable, and for some mysterious reason
devoted to Ranald, and for an even more mysterious reason devoted
to Kate, swore he'd follow if some one would lead. What could I
do? My well-known abilities naturally singled me out for
leadership, so to prevent any such calamity, I immediately proposed
that if Starry Hamilton, the great foot-ball chief, would command
this enterprise I would follow. Before the evening was over the
Institute was thoroughly manned."
"It is nearly half true, aunt," said Kate.
"And by our united efforts," continued Harry, "the Institute has
survived the loss of Ranald."
"I cannot tell you how overjoyed I am, Harry, that both of my boys
are taking hold of such good work, you here and Ranald in British
Columbia. He must have a very hard time of it, but he speaks very
gratefully of Colonel Thorp, who, he says, often opposes but
finally agrees with his proposals."
Harry laughed aloud. "Agrees, does he? And do you know why? I
remember seeing him one day, and he was in a state of wild fury at
Ranald's notions. I won't quote his exact words. The next day I
found him in a state of bland approval. Then I learn incidentally
that in the meantime Kate has been giving him tea and music."
"Don't listen to his mean insinuations, auntie," said Kate,
blushing a little.
Mrs. Murray turned and looked curiously into her face and smiled,
and then Kate blushed all the more.
"I think that may explain some things that have been mysterious to
me," she said.
"Oh, what, auntie?" cried Harry; "I am most anxious to know."
"Never mind," said Mrs. Murray; "I will explain to Kate."
"That won't help me any. She is a most secretive person, twiddles
us all round her fingers and never lets us know anything until it's
done. It is most exasperating. Oh, I say, Kate," added Harry,
suddenly, "would you mind dropping me at the florist's here?"
"Why? Oh, I see," said Kate, drawing in her team. "How do you do,
Lily? Harry is anxious to select some flowers," she said, bowing
to a very pretty girl on the sidewalk.
"Kate, do stop it," besought Harry, in a low voice, as he leaped
out of the carriage. "Good by, auntie, I'll see you this evening.
Don't believe all Kate tells you," he added, as they drove away.
"Are you too tired for a turn in the park," said Kate, "or shall we
A drive is always pleasant. Besides, one can talk about some
things with more freedom in a carriage than face to face in one's
room. The horses require attention at critical moments, and there
are always points of interest when it is important that conversation
should be deflected from the subject in hand, so since Mrs. Murray
was willing, Kate turned into the park. For an hour they drove
along its shady, winding roads while Mrs. Murray talked of many
things, but mostly of Ranald, and of the tales that the Glengarry
people had of him. For wherever there was lumbering to be done,
sooner or later there Glengarry men were to be found, and Ranald had
found them in the British Columbia forests. And to their people
at home their letters spoke of Ranald and his doings at first
doubtfully, soon more confidently, but always with pride. To
Macdonald Bhain a rare letter came from Ranald now and then, which
he would carry to Mrs. Murray with a difficult pretense of modesty.
For with Macdonald Bhain, Ranald was a great man.
"But he is not quite sure of him," said Mrs. Murray. "He thinks
it is a very queer way of lumbering, and the wages he considers
"Does he say that?" asked Kate. "That's just what Colonel Thorp
says his company are saying. But he stands up for Ranald even when
he can't see that his way is the best. The colonel is not very sure
about Ranald's schemes for the men, his reading-room, library, and
that sort of thing. But I'm sure he will succeed." But Kate's
tone belied her confident words.
Mrs. Murray noticed the anxiety in Kate's voice. "At least we are
sure," she said, gently, "that he will do right, and after all that
"I know that right well," replied Kate; "but it is hard for him out
there with no one to help him or to encourage him."
Again Mrs. Murray looked at Kate, curiously.
"It must be a terrible place," Kate went on, "especially for one
like Ranald, for he has no mind to let things go. He will do a
thing as it ought to be done, or not at all." Soon after this Kate
gave her mind to her horses, and in a short time headed them for
"What a delightful drive we have had," said Mrs. Murray, gratefully,
as Kate took her upstairs to her room.
"I hope I have not worried you with my dismal forebodings," she
said, with a little laugh.
"No, dear," said Mrs. Murray, drawing her face down to the pillow
where Kate had made her lay her head. "I think I understand," she
added, in a whisper.
Then Kate laid her face beside that of her friend and whispered,
"Oh, auntie, it is so hard for him"; but Mrs. Murray stroked her
head softly and said: "There is no fear, Kate; all will be well
Immediately after dinner Kate carried Mrs. Murray with her to her
own room, and after establishing her in all possible comfort, she
began to read extracts from Coley's letters.
"Here is the first, auntie; they are more picturesque than elegant,
but if you knew Coley, you wouldn't mind; you'd be glad to get any
letter from him." So saying Kate turned her back to the window, a
position with the double advantage of allowing the light to fall
upon the paper and the shadow to rest upon her face, and so
proceeded to read:
DEAR MISS KATE: We got here--("That is to New Westminster.") last
night, and it is a queer town. The streets run every way, the
houses are all built of wood, and almost none of them are painted.
The streets are full of all sorts of people. I saw lots of
Chinamen and Indians. It makes a feller feel kind o' queer as if
he was in some foreign country. The hotel where we stopped was a
pretty good lookin' place. Of course nothin' like the hotel we
stopped at in San Francisco. It was pretty fine inside, but after
supper when the crowd began to come in to the bar you never saw
such a gang in your life! They knew how to sling their money, I
can tell you. And then they begun to yell and cut up. I tell you
it would make the Ward seem like a Sunday school. The Boss, that's
what they call him here, I guess didn't like it much, and I don't
think you would, either. Next morning we went to look at the
mills. They are just sheds with slab roofs. I don't think much of
them myself, though I don't know much about mills. The Boss went
round askin' questions and I don't think he liked the look of them
much either. I know he kept his lips shut pretty tight as we used
to see him do sometimes in the Institute. I am awful glad he
brought me along. He says I have got to write to you at least once
a month, and I've got to take care of my writin' too and get the
spellin' right. When I think of the fellers back in the alleys
pitchin' pennies I tell you I'd ruther die than go back. Here a
feller feels he's alive. I wish I'd paid more attention to my
writin' in the night school, but I guess I was pretty much of a
fool them days, and you were awful good to me. The Boss says that
a man must always pay his way, and when I told him I wanted to pay
for them clothes you gave me he looked kind o' funny, but he said
"that's right," so I want you to tell me what they cost and I will
pay you first thing, for I'm goin' to be a man out in this country.
We're goin' up the river next week and see the gangs workin' up
there in the bush. It's kind o' lonesome here goin' along the
street and lookin' people in the faces to see if you can see one
you know. Lots of times I though I did see some one I knew but it
wasn't. Good by, I'll write you soon again.
"The second letter," Kate went on, "is written from the camp,
Twentymile Camp, he calls it. He tells how they went up the river
in the steamer, taking with them some new hands for their camp, and
how these men came on board half drunk, and how all the way up to
Yale they were drinking and fighting. It must have been horrible.
After that they went on smaller boats and then by wagons. On the
roads it must have been terrible. Coley seems much impressed with
the big trees. He says:
"These big trees are pretty hard to write about without sayin'
words the Boss don't allow. It makes you think of bein' in St.
Michaels, it's so quiet and solemn-like, and I never felt so small
in all my life. The Boss and me walked the last part of the way,
and got to camp late and pretty tired, and the men we brought in
with us was all pretty mad, but the Boss never paid no attention to
'em but went whistlin' about as if everything was lovely. We had
some pork and beans for supper, then went to sleep in a bunk nailed
up against the side of the shanty. It was as hard as a board, but
I tell you it felt pretty good. Next day I went wanderin' 'round
with the foreman and the Boss. I tell you I was afraid to get very
far away from 'em, for I'd be sure to get lost; the bush is that
thick that you can't see your own length ahead of you. That night,
when the Boss and me and the foreman was in the shanty they call
the office, after supper, we heard a most awful row. 'What's
that?' says the Boss. 'O, that's nothin',' says the foreman; 'the
boys is havin' a little fun, I guess.' He didn't say anything, but
went on talkin', but in a little while the row got worse, and we
heard poundin' and smashin'. 'Do you allow that sort of thing?'
says the Boss. 'Well,' he says, 'Guess the boys got some whiskey
last night. I generally let 'em alone.' 'Well,' says the Boss,
quiet-like, 'I think you'd better go in and stop it.' 'Not if I
know myself,' says the foreman, 'I ain't ordered my funeral yet.'
'Well, we'll go in and see, anyway,' says the Boss. I tell you I
was kind o' scared, but I thought I might as well go along. When
we got into the sleepin' shanty there was a couple of fellers with
hand-spikes breakin' up the benches and knockin' things around most
terrible. 'Say, boys,' yelled the foreman, and then he began to
swear most awful. They didn't seem to pay much attention, but kept
on knockin' around and swearin'. 'Come, now,' says the foreman,
kind o' coaxin' like, 'this ain't no way to act. Get down and
behave yourselves.' But still they didn't pay no attention. Then
the Boss walked up to the biggest one, and when he got quite close
to 'em they all got still lookin' on. 'I'll take that hand-spike,'
says the Boss. 'Help yourself,' says the man swingin' it up. I
don't know what happened, it was done so quick, but before you
could count three that feller was on his knees bleedin' like a pig
and the hand-spike was out of the door, and the Boss walks up to
the other feller and says, 'Put that hand-spike outside.' He begun
to swear. 'Put it out,' says the Boss, quiet-like, and the feller
backs up and throws his hand-spike out. And the Boss up and speaks
and says, 'Look here, men, I don't want to interfere with nobody,
and won't while he behaves himself, but there ain't goin' to be any
row like that in this camp. Say, you ought to have seen 'em! They
sat like the gang used to in the night school, and then he turned
and walked out and we all follered him. I guess they ain't used to
that sort of thing in this camp. I heard the men talkin' next day
pretty big of what they was goin' to do, but I don't think they'll
do much. They don't look that kind. Anyway, if there's goin' to
be a fight, I'd feel safer with the Boss than with the whole lot of
"The letter after this," went on Kate, "tells of what happened the
"We'd gone out in the afternoon, Boss and me, for a walk, and when
we got back the camp was just howlin' drunk, and the foreman was
worst of all. They kind o' quieted down for a little when we come
in and let us get into the office, but pretty soon they began
actin' up funny again and swearin' most awful. Then I see the Boss
shut up his lips hard, and I says to myself 'Look out for blood.'
Then he starts over for the bunk shanty. I was mighty scared, and
follered him close. Just as we shoved open the door a bottle come
singin' through the air and smashed to a thousand bits on the beam
above. 'Is that the kind of cowards you are?' says the Boss, quite
cool. He didn't speak loud, but I tell you everybody heard him and
got dead still. 'No, Boss,' says one feller, 'not all.' 'The man
that threw that bottle,' says the boss, 'is a coward, and the
meanest kind. He's afraid to step out here for five minutes.'
Nobody moved. 'Step up, ye baste,' says an Irishman, 'or it's
mesilf will kick ye out of the camp.' And out the feller comes.
It was the same duck that the Boss scared out of the door the first
night. 'Sthand up till 'im Billie,' says the Irishman; 'we'll see
fair play. Sthand up to the gintleman.' 'Billie,' says the Boss,
and his eyes was blazin' like candles; 'yer goin' to leave this
camp to-morrow mornin'. You can take your choice; will you get
onto your knees now or later?' With that Billie whipped out a
knife and rushes at him; but the Boss grabs his wrist and gives it
a twist, and the knife fell onto the floor. The Boss holds him
like a baby, and picks up the knife and throws it into the fire.
'Now,' says he, 'get onto your knees. Quick!' And the feller
drops on his knees, and bellered like a calf.
"'Let's pray,' says some one, and the crowd howls. 'Give us yer
hand, Boss,' says the Irishman. 'Yer the top o' this gang.' The
Irishman shoves out his clipper, and the Boss takes it in an easy
kind of a way. My you o't to seen that Irishman squirm. 'Howly
Mither!' he yells, and dances round, 'what do ye think yer got?'
and he goes off lookin' at his fingers, and the Boss stands lookin'
at 'em, and says, 'You'r a nice lot of fellers, you don't deserve
it; but I'm goin' to treat you fair. I know you feel Sunday pretty
slow, and I'll try to make it better for you; but I want you to
know that I won't have any more row in this camp, and I won't have
any man here that can't behave himself. To-morrow morning, YOU,'
pointin' at the foreman, 'and you, Billie,' and YOU, pointin' at
another chap, leave the camp, and they did too, though they begged
and prayed to let 'em stay, and by next Sunday we had a lot of
papers and books, with pictures in 'em, and a bang-up dinner, and
everything went nice. I am likin' it fine. I'm time-keeper, and
look after the store; but I drive the team too every chance I get,
and I'd ruther do that a long way. But many a night I tell you
when the Boss and me is alone we talk about you and the Institute
fellers, and the Boss--"
"Well, that's all," said Kate, "but isn't it terrible? Aren't they
"Poor fellows," said Mrs. Murray; "it's a very hard life for them."
"But isn't it awful, auntie? They might kill him," said Kate.
"Yes, dear," said Mrs. Murray, in a soothing voice, "but it sounds
worse to us perhaps than it is."
Mrs. Murray had not lived in the Indian Lands for nothing.
"Oh, if anything should happen to him?" said Kate, with sudden
"We must just trust him to the great Keeper," said Mrs. Murray,
quietly, "in Whose keeping all are safe whether there or here."
Then going to her valise, she took out a letter and handed it to
Kate, saying: "That's his last to me. You can look at it, Kate."
Kate took the letter and put it in her desk. "I think, perhaps, we
had better go down now," she said; "I expect Colonel Thorp has
come. I think you will like him. He seems a little rough, but he
is a gentleman, and has a true heart," and they went downstairs.
It is the mark of a gentleman to know his kind. He has an instinct
for what is fine and offers ready homage to what is worthy. Any
one observing Colonel Thorp's manner of receiving Mrs. Murray would
have known him at once for a gentleman, for when that little lady
came into the drawing-room, dressed in her decent silk gown, with
soft white lace at her throat, bearing herself with sweet dignity,
and stepping with dainty grace on her toes, after the manner of the
fine ladies of the old school, and not after the flat-footed, heel-
first modern style, the colonel abandoned his usual careless manner
and rose and stood rigidly at attention.
"Auntie, this is my friend, Colonel Thorp," said Kate.
"Proud to know you madam," said the colonel, with his finest
"And I am glad to meet Colonel Thorp; I have heard so much of him
through my friends," and she smiled at him with such genuine
kindliness that the gallant colonel lost his heart at once.
"Your friends have been doing me proud," he said, bowing to her and
then to Kate.
"Oh, you needn't look at me," said Kate; "you don't imagine I have
been saying nice things about you? She has other friends that
think much of you."
"Yes," said Mrs. Murray, "Ranald has often spoken of you, Colonel
Thorp, and of your kindness," said Mrs. Murray.
The colonel looked doubtful. "Well, I don't know that he thinks
much of me. I have had to be pretty hard on him."
"Why?" asked Mrs. Murray.
"Well, I reckon you know him pretty well," began the colonel.
"Well, she ought to," said Kate, "she brought him up, and his many
virtues he owes mostly to my dear aunt's training."
"Oh, Kate, you must not say that," said Mrs. Murray, gravely.
"Then," said the colonel, "you ought to be proud of him. You
produced a rare article in the commercial world, and that is a man
of honor. He is not for sale, and I want to say that I feel as
safe about the company's money out there as if I was settin' on it;
but he needs watching," added the colonel, "he needs watching."
"What do you mean?" said Mrs. Murray, whose pale face had flushed
with pleasure and pride at the colonel's praise of Ranald.
"Too much philanthropy," said the colonel, bluntly; "the British-
American Coal and Lumber Company ain't a benevolent society
"I am glad you spoke of that, Colonel Thorp; I want to ask you
about some things that I don't understand. I know that the company
are criticising some of Ranald's methods, but don't know why
"Now, Colonel," cried Kate, "stand to your guns."
"Well," said the colonel, "I am going to execute a masterly
retreat, as they used to say when a fellow ran away. I am going to
get behind my company. They claim, you see, that Ranald ain't a
"But how?" said Mrs. Murray.
Then the colonel enumerated the features of Ranald's management
most severely criticised by the company. He paid the biggest wages
going; the cost of supplies for the camps was greater, and the
company's stores did not show as large profits as formerly; "and of
course," said the colonel, "the first aim of any company is to pay
dividends, and the manager that can't do that has to go."
Then Mrs. Murray proceeded to deal with the company's contentions,
going at once with swift intuition to the heart of the matter.
"You were speaking of honor a moment ago, Colonel. There is such a
thing in business?"
"Certainly, that's why I put that young man where he is."
"That means that the company expect him to deal fairly by them."
"That's about it."
"And being a man of honor, I suppose he will also deal fairly by
the men and by himself."
"I guess so," said the colonel.
"I don't pretend to understand the questions fully, but from
Ranald's letters I have gathered that he did not consider that
justice was being done either to the men or to the company. For
instance, in the matter of stores--I may be wrong in this, you will
correct me, Colonel--I understand it was the custom to charge the
men in the camps for the articles they needed prices three or four
times what was fair."
"Well," said the colonel, "I guess things WERE a little high, but
that's the way every company does."
"And then I understand that the men were so poorly housed and fed
and so poorly paid that only those of the inferior class could be
"Well, I guess they weren't very high-class," said the colonel,
"that's right enough."
"But, Colonel, if you secure a better class of men, and you treat
them in a fair and honorable way with some regard to their comfort
you ought to get better results in work, shouldn't you?"
"Well, that's so," said the colonel; "there never was such an
amount of timber got out with the same number of men since the
company started work, but yet the thing don't pay, and that's the
trouble. The concern must pay or go under."
"Yes, that's quite true, Colonel," said Mrs. Murray; "but why
doesn't your concern pay?"
"Well, you see, there's no market; trade is dull and we can't sell
"But surely that is not your manager's fault," said Mrs. Murray,
"and surely it would be an unjust thing to hold him responsible for
"But the company don't look at things in that light," said the
colonel. "You see they figure it this way, stores ain't bringing
in the returns they used to, the camps cost a little more, wages
are a little higher, there ain't nothing coming in, and they say,
Well, that chap out there means well with his reading-rooms for the
mill hands, his library in the camp, and that sort of thing, but he
ain't sharp enough!"
"Sharp enough! that's a hard word, Colonel," said Mrs. Murray,
earnestly, "and it may be a cruel word, but if Ranald were ever so
sharp he really couldn't remove the real cause of the trouble. You
say he has produced larger results than ever before, and if the
market were normal there would be larger returns. Then, it seems
to me, Colonel, that if Ranald suffers he is suffering, not because
he has been unfaithful or incompetent, but because the market is
bad, and that I am certain you would not consider fair."
"You must not be too hard on us," said the colonel. "So far as I
am concerned, I think you are right, but it is a hard thing to make
business men look at these things in anything but a business way."
"But it should not be hard, Colonel," said Mrs. Murray, with sad
earnestness, "to make even business men see that when honor is the
price of dividends the cost is too great," and without giving the
colonel an opportunity of replying, she went on with eager
enthusiasm to show how the laws of the kingdom of heaven might be
applied to the great problems of labor. "And it would pay,
Colonel," she cried, "it would pay in money, but far more it would
pay in what cannot be bought for money--in the lives and souls of
men, for unjust and uncharitable dealing injures more the man who
is guilty of it than the man who suffers from it in the first
"Madam," answered the colonel, gravely, "I feel you are right, and
I should be glad to have you address the meeting of our share-
holders, called for next month, to discuss the question of our
"Do you mean Ranald's position?" asked Kate.
"Well, I rather think that will come up."
"Then," said Mrs. Murray, unconsciously claiming the colonel's
allegiance, "I feel sure there will be one advocate at least for
fair and honorable dealing at that meeting." And the colonel was
far too gallant to refuse to acknowledge the claim, but simply
said: "You may trust me, madam; I shall do my best."
"I only wish papa were here," said Kate. "He is a share-holder,
isn't he? And wish he could hear you, auntie, but he and mamma
won't be home for two weeks."
"Oh, Kate," cried Mrs. Murray, "you make me ashamed, and I fear I
have been talking too much."
At this point Harry came in. "I just came over to send you to
bed," he said, kissing his aunt, and greeting the others. "You are
all to look your most beautiful to-morrow."
"Well," said the colonel, slowly, "that won't be hard for the rest
of you, and it don't matter much for me, and I hope we ain't going
to lose our music."
"No, indeed!" cried Kate, sitting down at the piano, while the
colonel leaned back in his easy chair and gave himself up to an
hour's unmingled delight.
"You have given more pleasure than you know to a wayfaring man," he
said, as he bade her good night.
"Come again, when you are in town, you are always welcome, Colonel
Thorp," she said.
"You may count me here every time," said the colonel. Then turning
to Mrs. Murray, with a low bow, he said, "you have given me some
ideas madam, that I hope may not be quite unfruitful, and as for
that young man of yours, well--I--guess--you ain't--hurt his cause
any. We'll put up a fight, anyway."
"I am glad to have met you, Colonel Thorp," said Mrs. Murray, "and
I am quite sure you will stand up for what is right," and with
another bow the colonel took his leave.
"Now, Harry, you must go, too," said Kate; "you can see your aunt
again after to-morrow, and I must get my beauty sleep, besides I
don't want to stand up with a man gaunt and hollow-eyed for lack of
sleep," and she bundled him off in spite of his remonstrances. But
eager as Kate was for her beauty sleep, the light burned late in
her room; and long after she had seen Mrs. Murray snugly tucked in
for the night, she sat with Ranald's open letter in her hand,
reading it till she almost knew it by heart. It told, among other
things, of his differences with the company in regard to stores,
wages, and supplies, and of his efforts to establish a reading-room
at the mills, and a library at the camps; but there was a sentence
at the close of the letter that Kate read over and over again with
the light of a great love in her eyes and with a cry of pain in her
heart. "The magazines and papers that Kate sends are a great boon.
Dear Kate, what a girl she is! I know none like her; and what a
friend she has been to me ever since the day she stood up for me at
Quebec. You remember I told you about that. What a guy I must
have been, but she never showed a sign of shame. I often think of
that now, how different she was from another! I see it now as I
could not then--a man is a fool once in his life, but I have got my
lesson and still have a good true friend." Often she read and long
she pondered the last words. It was so easy to read too much into
them. "A good, true friend." She looked at the words till the
tears came. Then she stood up and looked at herself in the glass.
"Now, young woman," she said, severely, "be sensible and don't
dream dreams until you are asleep, and to sleep you must go
forthwith." But sleep was slow to come, and strange to say, it was
the thought of the little woman in the next room that quieted her
heart and sent her to sleep, and next day she was looking her best.
And when the ceremony was over, and the guests were assembled at
the wedding breakfast, there were not a few who agreed with Harry
when, in his speech, he threw down his gage as champion for the
peerless bridesmaid, whom for the hour--alas, too short--he was
privileged to call his "lady fair." For while Kate had not the
beauty of form and face and the fascination of manner that turned
men's heads and made Maimie the envy of all her set, there was in
her a wholesomeness, a fearless sincerity, a noble dignity, and
that indescribable charm of a true heart that made men trust her
and love her as only good women are loved. At last the brilliant
affair was all over, the rice and old boots were thrown, the
farewell words spoken, and tears shed, and then the aunts came back
to the empty and disordered house.
"Well, I am glad for Maimie," said Aunt Frank; "it is a good match."
"Dear Maimie," replied Aunt Murray, with a gentle sigh, "I hope she
will be happy."
"After all it is much better," said Aunt Frank.
"Yes, it is much better," replied Mrs. Murray; and then she added,
"How lovely Kate looked! What a noble girl she is," but she did
not explain even to herself, much less to Aunt Frank, the nexus of
The meeting of the share-holders of the British-American Lumber and
Coal Company was, on the whole, a stormy one, for the very best of
reasons--the failure of the company to pay dividends. The annual
report which the president presented showed clearly that there was
a slight increase in expenditure and a considerable falling off in
sales, and it needed but a little mathematical ability to reach the
conclusion that in a comparatively short time the company would be
bankrupt. The share-holders were thoroughly disgusted with the
British Columbia end of the business, and were on the lookout for a
victim. Naturally their choice fell upon the manager. The concern
failed to pay. It was the manager's business to make it pay and
the failure must be laid to his charge. Their confidence in their
manager was all the more shaken by the reports that had reached
them of his peculiar fads--his reading-room, library, etc. These
were sufficient evidence of his lack of business ability. He was
undoubtedly a worthy young man, but there was every ground to
believe that he was something of a visionary, and men with great
hesitation intrust hard cash to the management of an idealist.
It was, perhaps, unfortunate for Mr. St. Clair that he should be
appealed to upon this point, for his reluctance to express an
opinion as to the ability of the manager, and his admission that
possibly the young man might properly be termed a visionary,
brought Colonel Thorp sharply to his feet.
"Mr. St. Clair," said the colonel, in a cool, cutting voice, "will
not hesitate to bear testimony to the fact that our manager is a
man whose integrity cannot be tampered with. If I mistake not, Mr.
St. Clair has had evidence of this."
Mr. St. Clair hastened to bear the very strongest testimony to the
"And Mr. St. Clair, I have no doubt," went on the colonel, "will
be equally ready to bear testimony to the conspicuous ability our
manager displayed while he was in the service of the Raymond and
St. Clair Lumber Company."
Mr. St. Clair promptly corroborated the colonel's statement.
"We are sure of two things, therefore," continued the colonel,
"that our manager is a man of integrity, and that he has displayed
conspicuous business ability in his former positions."
At this point the colonel was interrupted, and his attention was
called to the fact that the reports showed an increase of expenditure
for supplies and for wages, and on the other hand a falling off in
the revenue from the stores. But the colonel passed over these
points as insignificant. "It is clear," he proceeded, "that the
cause of failure does not lie in the management, but in the state
of the market. The political situation in that country is very
doubtful, and this has an exceedingly depressing effect upon
"Then," interrupted a share-holder, "it is time the company should
withdraw from that country and confine itself to a district where
the market is sure and the future more stable."
"What about these fads, Colonel?" asked another share-holder;
"these reading-rooms, libraries, etc? Do you think we pay a man to
establish that sort of thing? To my mind they simply put a lot of
nonsense into the heads of the working-men and are the chief cause
of dissatisfaction." Upon this point the colonel did not feel
competent to reply; consequently the feeling of the meeting became
decidedly hostile to the present manager, and a resolution was
offered demanding his resignation. It was also agreed that the
board of directors should consider the advisability of withdrawing
altogether from British Columbia, inasmuch as the future of that
country seemed to be very uncertain. Thereupon Colonel Thorp rose
and begged leave to withdraw his name from the directorate of the
company. He thought it was unwise to abandon a country where they
had spent large sums of money, without a thorough investigation of
the situation, and he further desired to enter his protest against
the injustice of making their manager suffer for a failure for
which he had in no way been shown to be responsible. But the
share-holders refused to even consider Colonel Thorp's request,
and both the president and secretary exhausted their eloquence
in eulogizing his value to the company. As a compromise it was
finally decided to continue operations in British Columbia for
another season. Colonel Thorp declared that the reforms and
reorganization schemes inaugurated by Ranald would result in great
reductions in the cost of production, and that Ranald should be
given opportunity to demonstrate the success or failure of his
plans; and further, the political situation doubtless would be more
settled. The wisdom of this decision was manifested later.
The spirit of unrest and dissatisfaction appeared again at the next
annual meeting, for while conditions were improving, dividends were
not yet forthcoming. Once again Colonel Thorp successfully
championed Ranald's cause, this time insisting that a further test
of two seasons be made, prophesying that not only would the present
deficit disappear, but that their patience and confidence would be
Yielding to pressure, and desiring to acquaint himself with actual
conditions from personal observation, Colonel Thorp concluded to
visit British Columbia the autumn preceding the annual meeting
which was to succeed Ranald's period of probation.
Therefore it was that Colonel Thorp found himself on the coast
steamship Oregon approaching the city of Victoria. He had not
enjoyed his voyage, and was, consequently, in no mood to receive
the note which was handed him by a brisk young man at the landing.
"Who's this from, Pat," said the colonel, taking the note.
"Mike, if you please, Michael Cole, if you don't mind; and the note
is from the boss, Mr. Macdonald, who has gone up the country, and
can't be here to welcome you."
"Gone up the country!" roared the colonel; "what the blank, blank,
does he mean by going up the country at this particular time?"
But Mr. Michael Cole was quite undisturbed by the colonel's wrath.
"You might find the reason in the note," he said, coolly, and the
colonel, glaring at him, opened the note and read:
"MY DEAR COLONEL THORP: I am greatly disappointed in not being
able to meet you. The truth is I only received your letter this
week. Our mails are none too prompt, and so I have been unable to
re-arrange my plans. I find it necessary to run up the river for a
couple of weeks. In the meantime, thinking that possibly you might
like to see something of our country, I have arranged that you
should join the party of the Lieutenant Governor on their trip to
the interior, and which will take only about four weeks' time. The
party are going to visit the most interesting districts of our
country, including both the famous mining district of Cariboo and
the beautiful valley of the Okanagan. Mr. Cole, my clerk, will
introduce you to Mr. Blair, our member of Parliament for Westminster,
who will present you to the rest of the party. Mr. Blair, I need
not say, is one of the brightest business men in the West. I shall
meet you at Yale on your return. If it is absolutely impossible for
you to take this trip, and necessary that I should return at once,
Mr. Cole will see that a special messenger is sent to me, but I
would strongly urge that you go, if possible.
"With kind regards."
"Look here, young man," yelled the colonel, "do you think I've come
all this way to go gallivanting around the country with any blank,
blank royal party?"
"I don't know, Colonel," said young Cole, brightly; "but I tell you
I'd like mighty well to go in your place."
"And where in the nation IS your boss, and what's he after, anyway?"
"He's away up the river looking after business, and pretty big
business, too," said Coley, not at all overawed by the colonel's
"Well, I hope he knows himself," said the colonel.
"Oh, don't make any mistake about that, Colonel," said young Cole;
"he always knows where he's going and what he wants, and he gets
it." But the colonel made no reply, nor did he deign to notice Mr.
Michael Cole again until they had arrived at the New Westminster
"The boss didn't know," said Coley, approaching the colonel with
some degree of care, "whether you would like to go to the hotel or
to his rooms; you can take your choice. The hotel is not of the
best, and he thought perhaps you could put up with his rooms."
"All right," said the colonel; "I guess they'll suit me."
The colonel made no mistake in deciding for Ranald's quarters.
They consisted of two rooms that formed one corner of a long,
wooden, single-story building in the shape of an L. One of these
rooms Ranald made his dining-room and bedroom, the other was his
office. The rest of the building was divided into three sections,
and constituted a dining-room, reading-room, and bunk-room for the
men. The walls of these rooms were decorated not inartistically
with a few colored prints and with cuts from illustrated papers,
many and divers. The furniture throughout was home-made, with the
single exception of a cabinet organ which stood in one corner of
the reading-room. On the windows of the dining-room and bunk-room
were green roller blinds, but those of the reading-room were draped
with curtains of flowered muslin. Indeed the reading-room was
distinguished from the others by a more artistic and elaborate
decoration, and by a greater variety of furniture. The room was
evidently the pride of the company's heart. In Ranald's private
room the same simplicity in furniture and decoration was apparent,
but when the colonel was ushered into the bedroom his eye fell at
once upon two photographs, beautifully framed, hung on each side of
"Hello, guess I ought to know this," he said, looking at one of
Coley beamed. "You do, eh? Well, then, she's worth knowin' and
there's only one of her kind."
"Don't know about that, young man," said the colonel, looking at
the other photograph; "here's one that ought to go in her class."
"Perhaps," said Coley, doubtfully, "the boss thinks so, I guess,
from the way he looks at it."
"Young man, what sort of a fellow's your boss?" said the colonel,
suddenly facing Coley.
"What sort?" Coley thought a moment. "Well, 'twould need a good
eddication to tell, but there's only one in his class, I tell you."
"Then he owes it to this little woman," pointing to one of the
photographs, "and she," pointing to the other, "said so."
"Then you may bet it's true."
"I don't bet on a sure thing," said the colonel, his annoyance
vanishing in a slow smile, his first since reaching the province.
"Dinner'll be ready in half an hour, sir," said Coley, swearing
allegiance in his heart to the man that agreed with him in regard
to the photograph that stood with Coley for all that was highest in
"John," he said, sharply, to the Chinese cook, "got good dinner,
"Pitty good," said John, indifferently.
"Now, look here, John, him big man." John was not much impressed.
"Awful big man, I tell you, big soldier." John preserved a stolid
"John," said the exasperated Coley, "I'll kick you across this room
and back if you don't listen to me. Want big dinner, heap good,
"Huh-huh, belly good," replied John, with a slight show of interest.
"I say, John, what you got for dinner, eh?" asked Coley, changing
"Ham, eggs, lice," answered the Mongolian, imperturbably.
"Gee whiz!" said Coley, "goin' to feed the boss' uncle on ham and
"What?" said John, with sudden interest, "Uncle boss, eh?"
"Yes," said the unblushing Coley.
"Huh! Coley heap fool! Get chicken, quick! meat shop, small, eh?"
The Chinaman was at last aroused. Pots, pans, and other utensils
were in immediate requisition, a roaring fire set a-going, and in
three-quarters of an hour the colonel sat down to a dinner of soup,
fish, and fowl, with various entrees and side dishes that would
have done credit to a New York chef. Thus potent was the name of
the boss with his cook.
John's excellent dinner did much to soothe and mollify his guest;
but the colonel was sensitive to impressions other than the purely
gastronomic, for throughout the course of the dinner, his eyes
wandered to the photographs on the wall, and in fancy he was once
more in the presence of the two women, to whom he felt pledged in
Ranald's behalf. "It's a one-horse looking country, though," he
said to himself, "and no place for a man with any snap. Best thing
would be to pull out, I guess, and take him along." And it was in
this mind that he received the Honorable Archibald Blair, M. P. P.,
for New Westminster, president of the British Columbia Canning
Company, recently organized, and a director in half a dozen other
"Colonel Thorp, this is Mr. Blair, of the British Columbia Canning
Company," said Coley, with a curious suggestion of Ranald in his
"Glad to welcome a friend of Mr. Macdonald's," said Mr. Blair, a
little man of about thirty, with a shrewd eye and a kindly frank
"Well, I guess I can say the same," said Colonel Thorp, shaking
hands. "I judge his friends are of the right sort."
"You'll find plenty in this country glad to class themselves in
that list," laughed Mr. Blair; "I wouldn't undertake to guarantee
them all, but those he lists that way, you can pretty well bank on.
He's a young man for reading men."
"Yes?" said the colonel, interrogatively; "he's very young."
"Young, for that matter so are we all, especially on this side the
water here. It's a young man's country."
"Pretty young, I judge," said the colonel, dryly. "Lots of room to
"Yes, thank Providence!" said Mr. Blair, enthusiastically; "but
there's lots of life and lots to feed it. But I'm not going to
talk, Colonel. It is always wasted breath on an Easterner. I'll
let the country talk. You are coming with us, of course."
"Hardly think so; my time is rather limited, and, well, to tell
the truth; I'm from across the line and don't cater much to your
"Royalties!" exclaimed Mr. Blair. "Oh, you mean our governor.
Well, that's good rather, must tell the governor that." Mr. Blair
laughed long and loud. "You'll forget all that when you are out
with us an hour. No, we think it well to hedge our government with
dignity, but on this trip we shall leave the gold lace and red tape
"How long do you propose to be gone?"
"About four weeks. But I make you a promise. If after the first
week you want to return from any point, I shall send you back with
all speed. But you won't want to, I guarantee you that. Why, my
dear sir, think of the route," and Mr. Blair went off into a
rapturous description of the marvels of the young province, its
scenery, its resources, its climate, its sport, playing upon each
string as he marked the effect upon his listener. By the time Mr.
Blair's visit was over, the colonel had made up his mind that he
would see something of this wonderful country.
Next day Coley took him over the company's mills, and was not a
little disappointed to see that the colonel was not impressed by
their size or equipment. In Coley's eyes they were phenomenal, and
he was inclined to resent the colonel's lofty manner. The foreman,
Mr. Urquhart, a shrewd Scotchman, who had seen the mills of the
Ottawa River and those in Michigan as well, understood his visitor's
attitude better; and besides, it suited his Scotch nature to refuse
any approach to open admiration for anything out of the old land.
His ordinary commendation was, "It's no that bad"; and his
superlative was expressed in the daring concession, "Aye, it'll
maybe dae, it micht be waur." So he followed the colonel about with
disparaging comments that drove Coley to the verge of madness. When
they came to the engine room, which was Urquhart's pride, the climax
"It's a wee bit o' a place, an' no fit for the wark," said
Urquhart, ushering the colonel into a snug little engine-room,
where every bit of brass shone with dazzling brightness, and every
part of the engine moved in smooth, sweet harmony.
"Slick little engine," said the colonel, with discriminating
"It's no that bad the noo, but ye sud hae seen it afore Jem, there,
took a hand o' it--a wheezin' rattlin' pechin thing that ye micht
expect tae flee in bits for the noise in the wame o't. But Jemmie
sorted it till it's nae despicable for its size. But it's no fit
for the wark. Jemmie, lad, just gie't its fill an' we'll pit the
saw until a log," said Urquhart, as they went up into the sawing-
room where, in a few minutes, the colonel had an exhibition of the
saw sticking fast in a log for lack of power.
"Man, yon's a lad that kens his trade. He's frae Gleska. He earns
his money's warth."
"How did you come to get him?" said the colonel, moved to interest
by Urquhart's unwonted praise.
"Indeed, just the way we've got all our best men. It's the boss
picked him oot o' the gutter, and there he is earnin' his twa and a
half a day."
"The boss did that, eh?" said the colonel, with one of his swift
glances at the speaker.
"Aye, that he did, and he's only one o' many."
"He's good at that sort of business, I guess."
"Aye, he kens men as ye can see frae his gang."
"Doesn't seem to be able to make the company's business pay,"
ventured the colonel.
"D'ye think ye cud find one that cud?" pointing to the halting saw.
"An that's the machine that turned oot thae piles yonder. Gie him
a chance, though, an' when the stuff is deesposed of ye'll get y're
profit." Urquhart knew what he was about, and the colonel went
back with Coley to his rooms convinced of two facts, that the
company had a plant that might easily be improved, but a manager
that, in the estimation of those who wrought with him, was easily
first in his class. Ranald could have adopted no better plan for
the enhancing of his reputation than by allowing Colonel Thorp to
go in and out among the workmen and his friends. More and more the
colonel became impressed with his manager's genius for the picking
of his men and binding them to his interests, and as this impression
deepened he became the more resolved that it was a waste of good
material to retain a man in a country offering such a limited scope
for his abilities.
But after four weeks spent in exploring the interior, from
Quesnelle to Okanagan, and in the following in and out the water-
ways of the coast line, the colonel met Ranald at Yale with only a
problem to be solved, and he lost no time in putting it to his
"How in thunder can I get those narrow-gauge, hidebound Easterners
to launch out into business in this country?"
"I can't help you there, Colonel. I've tried and failed."
"By the great Sam, so you have!" said the colonel, with a sudden
conviction of his own limitations in the past. "No use tryin' to
tell 'em of this," swinging his long arm toward the great sweep of
the Fraser Valley, clothed with a mighty forest. "It's only a
question of holdin' on for a few years, the thing's dead sure."
"I have been through a good part of it," said Ranald, quietly, and
I am convinced that here we have the pick of Canada, and I venture
to say of the American Continent. Timber, hundreds of square miles
of it, fish--I've seen that river so packed with salmon that I
couldn't shove my canoe through--"
"Hold on, now," said the colonel, "give me time."
"Simple, sober truth of my own proving," replied Ranald. "And you
saw a fringe of the mines up in the Cariboo. The Kootenai is full
of gold and silver, and in the Okanagan you can grow food and
fruits for millions of people. I know what I am saying."
"Tell you what," said the colonel, "you make me think you're
speakin' the truth anyhow." Then, with a sudden inspiration, he
exclaimed: "By the great Sammy, I've got an idea!" and then, as he
saw Ranald waiting, added, "But I guess I'll let it soak till we
get down to the mill."
"Do you think you could spare me, Colonel?" asked Ranald, in a
dubious voice; "I really ought to run through a bit of timber
"No, by the great Sam, I can't! I want you to come right along,"
replied the colonel, with emphasis.
"What is he saying, Colonel?" asked Mr. Blair.
"Wants to run off and leave me to paddle my way home alone. Not
much! I tell you what, we have some important business to do
before I go East. You hear me?"
"And besides, Macdonald, I want you for that big meeting of ours
next week. You simply must be there."
"You flatter me, Mr. Blair."
"Not a bit; you know there are a lot of hot-heads talking separation
and that sort of thing, and I want some level-headed fellow who
is in with the working men to be there."
And as it turned out it was a good thing for Mr. Blair and for the
cause he represented that Ranald was present at the great mass-
meeting held in New Westminster the next week. For the people were
exasperated beyond all endurance at the delay of the Dominion in
making good the solemn promises given at the time of Confederation,
and were in a mood to listen to the proposals freely made that the
useless bond should be severed. "Railway or separation," was the
cry, and resolutions embodying this sentiment were actually
proposed and discussed. It was Ranald's speech, every one said,
that turned the tide. His calm logic made clear the folly of even
considering separation; his knowledge of, and his unbounded faith
in, the resources of the province, and more than all, his
impassioned picturing of the future of the great Dominion reaching
from ocean to ocean, knit together by ties of common interest, and
a common loyalty that would become more vividly real when the
provinces had been brought more closely together by the promised
railway. They might have to wait a little longer, but it was worth
while waiting, and there was no future in any other policy. It was
his first speech at a great meeting, and as Mr. Blair shook him
warmly by the hand, the crowd burst into enthusiastic cries,
"Macdonald! Macdonald!" and in one of the pauses a single voice
was heard, "Glengarry forever!" Then again the crowd broke forth,
"Glengarry! Glengarry!" for all who knew Ranald personally had
heard of the gang that were once the pride of the Ottawa. At that
old cry Ranald's face flushed deep red, and he had no words to
answer his friends' warm congratulations.
"Send him East," cried a voice.
"Yes, yes, that's it. Send him to Ottawa to John A. It's the same
Swiftly Mr. Blair made up his mind. "Gentlemen, that is a good
suggestion. I make it a motion." It was seconded in a dozen
places, and carried by a standing vote. Then Ranald rose again and
modestly protested that he was not the man to go. He was quite
unknown in the province.
"We know you!" the same voice called out, followed by a roar of
"And, besides," went on Ranald, "it is impossible for me to get
away; I'm a working man and not my own master."
Then the colonel, who was sitting on the platform, rose and begged
to be heard. "Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, I ain't a Canadian--"
"Never mind! You can't help that," sang out a man from the back,
with a roar of laughter following.
"But if I weren't an American, I don't know anything that I'd
rather be." (Great applause.) "Four weeks ago I wouldn't have
taken your province as a gift. Now I only wish Uncle Sam could
persuade you to sell." (Cries of "He hasn't got money enough.
Don't fool yourself.") "But I want to say that this young man of
mine," pointing to Ranald, "has given you good talk, and if you
want him to go East, why, I'll let him off for a spell." (Loud
cheers for the colonel and for Macdonald.)
A week later a great meeting in Victoria indorsed the New Westminster
resolutions with the added demand that the railway should be
continued to Esquinalt according to the original agreement. Another
delegate was appointed to represent the wishes of the islanders, and
before Ranald had fully realized what had happened he found himself
a famous man, and on the way to the East with the jubilant colonel.
"What was the great idea, Colonel, that struck you at Yale?"
inquired Ranald, as they were fairly steaming out of the Esquinalt
"This is it, my boy!" exclaimed the colonel, slapping him on the
back. "This here trip East. Now we've got 'em over the ropes, by
the great and everlasting Sammy!" the form of oath indicating a
climax in the colonel's emotion.
"Got who?" inquired Ranald, mystified.
"Them gol-blamed, cross-road hayseeds down East." And with this
the colonel became discreetly silent. He knew too well the
sensitive pride of the man with whom he had to deal, and he was
chiefly anxious now that Ranald should know as little as possible
of the real object of his going to British Columbia.
"We've got to make the British-American Coal and Lumber Company
know the time of day. It's gittin'-up time out in this country.
They were talkin' a little of drawin' out." Ranald gasped. "Some
of them only," the colonel hastened to add, "but I want you to talk
like you did the other night, and I'll tell my little tale, and if
that don't fetch 'em then I'm a Turk."
"Well, Colonel, here's my word," said Ranald, deliberately, "if the
company wish to withdraw they may do so, but my future is bound up
with that of the West, and I have no fear that it will fail me. I
stake my all upon the West."
The colonel was an experienced traveler, and believed in making
himself comfortable. Ranald looked on with some amusement, and a
little wonder, while the colonel arranged his things about the
"May as well make things comfortable while we can," said the
colonel, "we have the better part of three days before us on this
boat, and if it gets rough, it is better to have things neat. Now
you go ahead," he added, "and get your things out."
"I think you are right, Colonel. I am not much used to travel, but
I shall take your advice on this."
"Well, I have traveled considerable these last twenty years,"
replied the colonel. "I say, would you mind leaving those out?"
"Those photos. They're the two you had up by the glass in your
room, aren't they?" Ranald flushed a little.
"Of course it ain't for every one to see, and I would not ask you,
but those two ain't like any other two that I have seen, and I have
seen a good many in forty years." Ranald said nothing, but set the
photographs on a little bracket on the wall.
"There, that makes this room feel better," said the colonel. "That
there is the finest, sweetest, truest girl that walks this sphere,"
he said, pointing at Kate's photograph, "and the other, I guess you
know all about her."
"Yes, I know about her," said Ranald, looking at the photograph;
"it is to her I owe everything I have that is any good. And
Colonel," he added, with an unusual burst of confidence, "when my
life was broken off short, that woman put me in the way of getting
hold of it again."
"Well, they both think a pile of you," was the colonel's reply.
"Yes, I think they do," said Ranald. "They are not the kind to
forget a man when he is out of sight, and it is worth traveling two
thousand miles to see them again."
"Ain't it queer, now, how the world is run?" said the colonel.
"There's two women, now, the very best; one has been buried all her
life in a little hole in the woods, and the other is giving herself
to a fellow that ain't fit to carry her boots."
"What!" said Ranald, sharply, "Kate?"
"Yes, they say she is going to throw herself away on young St.
Clair. He is all right, I suppose, but he ain't fit for her."
Ranald suddenly stooped over his valise and began pulling out his
"I didn't hear of that," he said.
"I did," said the colonel; "you see he is always there, and acting
as if he owned her. He stuck to her for a long time, and I guess
she got tired holding out."
"Harry is a very decent fellow," said Ranald, rising up from his
unpacking; "I say, this boat's close. Let us go up on deck."
"Wait," said the colonel, "I want to talk over our plans, and we
can talk better here."
"No," said Ranald; "I want some fresh air. Let us go up." And
without further words, he hurried up the gangway. It was some
time before Colonel Thorp found him in the bow of the boat, and
immediately began to talk over their plans.
"You spoke of going to Toronto first thing," he said to Ranald.
"Yes," said Ranald; "but I think I ought to go to Ottawa at once,
and then I shall see my people in Glengarry for a few days. Then I
will be ready for the meeting at Bay City any time after the second
"But you have not put Toronto in there," said the colonel; "you are
not going to disappoint that little girl? She would take it pretty
hard. Mind you, she wants to see you."
"Oh, of course I shall run in for a day."
"Well," said the colonel, "I want to give you plenty of time. I
will arrange that meeting for a month from to-day."
"No, no," said Ranald, impatiently; "I must get back to the West.
Two weeks will do me."
"Well, we will make it three," said the colonel. He could not
understand Ranald's sudden eagerness to set out for the West again.
He had spoken with such enthusiastic delight of his visit to
Toronto, and now he was only going to run in for a day or so. And
if Ranald himself were asked, he would have found it difficult to
explain his sudden lack of interest, not only in Toronto, but in
everything that lay in the East. He was conscious of a deep, dull
ache in his heart, and he could not quite explain it.
After the colonel had gone down for the night, Ranald walked the
deck alone and resolutely faced himself. His first frank look
within revealed to him the fact that his pain had come upon him
with the colonel's information that Kate had given herself to
Harry. It was right that he should be disappointed. Harry, though
a decent enough fellow, did not begin to be worthy of her; and
indeed no one that he knew was worthy of her. But why should he
feel so sorely about it? For years Harry had been her devoted
slave. He would give her the love of an honest man, and would
surround her with all the comforts and luxuries that wealth could
bring. She would be very happy. He had no right to grieve about
it. And yet he did grieve. The whole sky over the landscape of
his life had suddenly become cold and gray. During these years
Kate had grown to be much to him. She had in many ways helped him
in his work. The thought of her and her approval had brought him
inspiration and strength in many an hour of weakness and loneliness.
She had been so loyal and so true from the very first, and it was a
bitter thing to feel that another had come between them. Over and
over again he accused himself of sheer madness. Why should she not
love Harry? That need not make her any less his friend. But in
spite of his arguments, he found himself weary of the East and eager
to turn away from it. He must hurry on at once to Ottawa, and with
all speed get done his business there.
At Chicago he left the colonel with a promise to meet him in three
weeks at the headquarters of the British-American Coal and Lumber
Company at Bay City. He wired to Ottawa, asking an appointment
with the government, and after three days' hard travel found
himself in the capital of the Dominion. The premier, Sir John A.
Macdonald, with the ready courtesy characteristic of him,
immediately arranged for a hearing of the delegation from British
Columbia. Ranald was surprised at the indifference with which he
approached this meeting. He seemed to have lost capacity for keen
feeling of any kind. Sir John A. MacDonald and his cabinet
received the delegation with great kindness, and in every possible
way strove to make them feel that the government was genuinely
interested in the western province, and were anxious to do all that
could be done in their interest. In the conference that ensued,
the delegate for Victoria took a more prominent part, being an
older man, and representing the larger and more important
constituency. But when Sir John began to ask questions, the
Victoria delegate was soon beyond his depth. The premier showed
such an exactness of knowledge and comprehensiveness of grasp that
before long Ranald was appealed to for information in regard to the
resources of the country, and especially the causes and extent of
the present discontent.
"The causes of discontent are very easy to see, " said Ranald;
"all British Columbians feel hurt at the failure of the Dominion
government to keep its solemn obligations."
"Is there nothing else now, Mr. Macdonald?"
"There may be," said Ranald, "some lingering impatience with the
government by different officials, and there is a certain amount of
"Ah," said Sir John, "I think we have our finger upon it now."
"Do not over-estimate that," said Ranald; "I believe that there are
only a very few with annexation sentiments, and all these are of
American birth. The great body of the people are simply indignant
at, and disappointed with, the Dominion government."
"And would you say there is no other cause of discontent, Mr.
Macdonald?" said Sir John, with a keen look at Ranald.
"There is another cause, I believe," said Ranald, "and that is the
party depression, but that depression is due to the uncertainty in
regard to the political future of the province. When once we hear
that the railroad is being built, political interest will revive."
"May I ask where you were born?" said Sir John.
"In Glengarry," said Ranald, with a touch of pride in his voice.
"Ah, I am afraid your people are not great admirers of my government,
and perhaps you, Mr. Macdonald, share in the opinion of your county."
"I have no opinion in regard to Dominion politics. I am for
"Well, Mr. Macdonald," said Sir John, rising, "that is right, and
you ought to have your road."
"Do I understand you to say that the government will begin to build
the road at once?" said Ranald.
"Ah," smiled Sir John, "I see you want something definite."
"I have come two thousand miles to get it. The people that sent me
will be content with nothing else. It is a serious time with us,
and I believe with the whole of the Dominion."
"Mr. Macdonald," said Sir John, becoming suddenly grave, "believe
me, it is a more serious time than you know, but you trust me in
"Will the road be begun this year?" said Ranald.
"All I can say to-day, Mr. Macdonald," said Sir John, earnestly,
"is this, that if I can bring it about, the building of the road
will be started at once."
"Then, Sir John," said Ranald, "you may depend that British
Columbia will be grateful to you," and the interview was over.
Outside the room, he found Captain De Lacy awaiting him.
"By Jove, Macdonald, I have been waiting here three-quarters of an
hour. Come along. Maimie has an afternoon right on, and you are
our lion." Ranald would have refused, but De Lacy would not accept
any apology, and carried him off.
Maimie's rooms were crowded with all the great social and political
people of the city. With an air of triumph, De Lacy piloted Ranald
through the crowd and presented him to Maimie. Ranald was surprised
to find himself shaking hands with the woman he had once loved, with
unquickened pulse and nerves cool and steady. Here Maimie, who was
looking more beautiful than ever, and who was dressed in a gown of
exquisite richness, received Ranald with a warmth that was almost
"How famous you have become, Mr. Macdonald," she said, offering him
her hand; "we are all proud to say that we know you."
"You flatter me," said Ranald, bowing over her hand.
"No, indeed. Every one is talking of the young man from the West.
And how handsome you are, Ranald," she said, in a low voice,
leaning toward him, and flashing at him one of her old-time
"I am not used to that," he said, "and I can only reply as we used
to in school, 'You, too.'"
"Oh, now you flatter me," cried Maimie, gayly; "but let me introduce
you to my dear friend, Lady Mary Rivers. Lady Mary, this is Mr.
Macdonald from British Columbia, you know."
"Oh, yes," said Lady Mary, with a look of intelligence in her
beautiful dark eyes, "I have heard a great deal about you. Let me
see, you opposed separation; saved the Dominion, in short."
"Did I, really?" said Ranald, "and never knew it."
"You see, he is not only famous but modest," said Maimie; "but that
is an old characteristic of his. I knew Mr. Macdonald a very long
"Very," said Ranald.
"When we were quite young."
"Very young," replied Ranald, with great emphasis.
"And doubtless very happy," said Lady Mary.
"Happy," said Ranald, "yes, so happy that I can hardly bear to
think of those days."
"Why so?" inquired Lady Mary.
"Because they are gone."
"But all days go and have to be parted with."
"Oh, yes, Lady Mary. That is true and so many things die with
them, as, for instance, our youthful beliefs and enthusiasms. I
used to believe in every one, Lady Mary."
"And now in no one?"
"God forbid! I discriminate."
"Now, Lady Mary," replied Maimie, "I want my lion to be led about
and exhibited, and I give him over to you."
For some time Ranald stood near, chatting to two or three people to
whom Lady Mary had introduced him, but listening eagerly all the
while to Maimie talking to the men who were crowded about her. How
brilliantly she talked, finding it quite within her powers to keep
several men busy at the same time; and as Ranald listened to her
gay, frivolous talk, more and more he became conscious of an
unpleasantness in her tone. It was thin, shallow, and heartless.
"Can it be possible," he said to himself, "that once she had the
power to make my heart quicken its beat?"
"Tell me about the West," Lady Mary was saying, when Ranald came to
"If I begin about the West," he replied, "I must have both time and
space to deliver myself."
"Come, then. We shall find a corner," said Lady Mary, and for half
an hour did Ranald discourse to her of the West, and so eloquently
that Lady Mary quite forgot that he was a lion and that she had
been intrusted with the duty of exhibiting him. By and by Maimie
"Now, Lady Mary, you are very selfish, for so many people are
wanting to see our hero, and here is the premier wanting to see
"Ah, Lady Mary," said Sir John, "you have captured the man from
Glengarry, I see."
"I hope so, indeed," said Lady Mary; "but why from Glengarry? He
is from the West, is he not?"
"Once from Glengarry, now from the West, and I hope he will often
come from the West, and he will, no doubt, if those people know
what is good for them." And Sir John, skillfully drawing Ranald
aside, led him to talk of the political situation in British
Columbia, now and then putting a question that revealed a knowledge
so full and accurate that Ranald exclaimed, suddenly, "Why, Sir
John, you know more about the country than I do!"
"Not at all, not at all," replied Sir John; and then, lowering his
voice to a confidential tone, he added, "You are the first man from
that country that knows what I want to know." And once more he
plied Ranald with questions, listening eagerly and intelligently to
the answers so enthusiastically given.
"We want to make this Dominion a great empire," said Sir John, as
he said good by to Ranald, "and we are going to do it, but you and
men like you in the West must do your part."
Ranald was much impressed by the premier's grave earnestness.
"I will try, Sir John," he said, "and I shall go back feeling
thankful that you are going to show us the way."
"Going so soon?" said Maimie, when he came to say good by. "Why I
have seen nothing of you, and I have not had a moment to offer you
my congratulations," she said, with a significant smile. Ranald
bowed his thanks.
"And Kate, dear girl," went on Maimie, "she never comes to see me
now, but I am glad she will be so happy."
Ranald looked at her steadily for a moment or two, and then said,
quietly, "I am sure I hope so, and Harry is a very lucky chap."
"Oh, isn't he," cried Maimie, "and he is just daft about her. Must