Part 1 out of 7
Produced by Suzanne Shell, Steve Flynn, Virginia Paque, Peter Klumper,
Tonya Allen, Thierry Alberto and PG Distributed Proofreaders
[Illustration: "_THE FAIR AND SOMETIMES UNCERTAIN DAUGHTER OF THE HOUSE
OF MILBREY_." (See page 182.)]
A TALE OF THE THIRD GENERATION
HARRY LEON WILSON
_Illustrated by_ O'NEILL LATHAM
To L. L. J.
The wanderers of earth turned to her--outcast of the older lands--
With a promise and hope in their pleading, and she reached them pitying
And she cried to the Old-World cities that drowse by the Eastern main:
"Send me your weary, house-worn broods and I'll send you Men again!
Lo, here in my wind-swept reaches, by my marshalled peaks of snow,
Is room for a larger reaping than your o'ertilled fields can grow.
Seed of the Main Seed springing to stature and strength in my sun,
Free with a limitless freedom no battles of men have won,"
For men, like the grain of the corn fields, grow small in the huddled
And weak for the breath of spaces where a soul may speak aloud;
For hills, like stairways to heaven, shaming the level track,
And sick with the clang of pavements and the marts of the trafficking
Greatness is born of greatness, and breadth of a breadth profound;
The old Antaean fable of strength renewed from the ground
Was a human truth for the ages; since the hour of the Edenbirth
That man among men was strongest who stood with his feet on the earth!
SHARLOT MABRIDTH HALL.
I. The Second Generation Is Removed
II. How the First Generation Once Righted Itself
III. Billy Brue Finds His Man
IV. The West Against the East
V. Over the Hills
VI. A Meeting and a Clashing
VII. The Rapid-fire Lorgnon Is Spiked
VIII. Up Skiplap Canon
IX. Three Letters, Private and Confidential
X. The Price of Averting a Scandal
XI. How Uncle Peter Bines Once Cut Loose
XII. Plans for the Journey East
XIII. The Argonauts Return to the Rising Sun
XIV. Mr. Higbee Communicates Some Valuable Information
XV. Some Light With a Few Side-lights
XVI. With the Barbaric Hosts
XVII. The Patricians Entertain
XVIII. The Course of True Love at a House Party
XIX. An Afternoon Stroll and an Evening Catastrophe
XX. Doctor Von Herslich Expounds the Hightower Hotel and Certain Allied
XXI. The Diversions of a Young Multi-millionaire
XXII. The Distressing Adventure of Mrs. Bines
XXIII. The Summer Campaign Is Planned
XXIV. The Sight of a New Beauty, and Some Advice from Higbee
XXV. Horace Milbrey Upholds the Dignity of His House
XXVI. A Hot Day in New York, with News of an Interesting Marriage
XXVII. A Sensational Turn in the Milbrey Fortunes
XXVIII. Uncle Peter Bines Comes to Town With His Man
XXIX. Uncle Peter Bines Threatens to Raise Something
XXX. Uncle Peter Inspires His Grandson to Worthy Ambitions
XXXI. Concerning Consolidated Copper and Peter Bines as Matchmakers
XXXII. Devotion to Business and a Chance Meeting
XXXIII. The Amateur Napoleon of Wall Street
XXXIV. How the Chinook Came to Wall Street
XXXV. The News Broken, Whereupon an Engagement is Broken
XXXVI. The God in the Machine
XXXVII. The Departure of Uncle Peter--And Some German Philosophy
XXXVIII. Some Phenomena Peculiar to Spring
XXXIX. An Unusual Plan of Action Is Matured
XL. Some Rude Behaviour, of Which Only a Western Man Could Be Guilty
XLI. The New Argonauts
"The fair and sometimes uncertain daughter of the house of Milbrey"
"'Well, Billy Brue,--what's doin'?'"
"The spell was broken"
"'Why, you'd be Lady Casselthorpe, with dukes and counts takin' off
their crowns to you'"
"'Remember that saying of your pa's, "it takes all kinds of fools to
make a world"'"
"'Say it that way--" Miss Milbrey is engaged with Mr. Bines, and can't
The Second Generation is Removed
When Daniel J. Bines died of apoplexy in his private car at Kaslo
Junction no one knew just where to reach either his old father or his
young son with the news of his death. Somewhere up the eastern slope of
the Sierras the old man would be leading, as he had long chosen to lead
each summer, the lonely life of a prospector. The young man, two years
out of Harvard, and but recently back from an extended European tour,
was at some point on the North Atlantic coast, beginning the season's
pursuit of happiness as he listed.
Only in a land so young that almost the present dwellers therein have
made it might we find individualities which so decisively failed to
blend. So little congruous was the family of Bines in root, branch, and
blossom, that it might, indeed, be taken to picture an epic of Western
life as the romancer would tell it. First of the line stands the figure
of Peter Bines, the pioneer, contemporary with the stirring days of
Frémont, of Kit Carson, of Harney, and Bridger; the fearless strivers
toward an ever-receding West, fascinating for its untried dangers as
for its fabled wealth,--the sturdy, grave men who fought and toiled and
hoped, and realised in varying measure, but who led in sober truth a
life such as the colours of no taleteller shall ever be high enough to
Next came Daniel J. Bines, a type of the builder and organiser who
followed the trail blazed by the earlier pioneer; the genius who,
finding the magic realm opened, forthwith became its exploiter to its
vast renown and his own large profit, coining its wealth of minerals,
lumber, cattle, and grain, and adventurously building the railroads
that must always be had to drain a new land of savagery.
Nor would there be wanting a third--a figure of this present day,
containing, in potency at least, the stanch qualities of his two rugged
forbears,--the venturesome spirit that set his restless grandsire to
roving westward, the power to group and coordinate, to "think three
moves ahead" which had made his father a man of affairs; and, further,
he had something modern of his own that neither of the others
possessed, and yet which came as the just fruit of the parent vine: a
disposition perhaps a bit less strenuous, turning back to the risen
rather than forward to the setting sun; a tendency to rest a little
from the toil and tumult; to cultivate some graces subtler than those
of adventure and commercialism; to make the most of what had been done
rather than strain to the doing of needless more; to live, in short,
like a philosopher and a gentleman who has more golden dollars a year
than either philosophers or gentlemen are wont to enjoy.
And now the central figure had gone suddenly at the age of fifty-two,
after the way of certain men who are quick, ardent, and generous in
their living. From his luxurious private car, lying on the side-track
at the dreary little station, Toler, private secretary to the
millionaire, had telegraphed to the headquarters of one important
railway company the death of its president, and to various mining,
milling, and lumbering companies the death of their president,
vice-president, or managing director as the case might be. For the
widow and only daughter word of the calamity had gone to a mountain
resort not far from the family home at Montana City.
There promised to be delay in reaching the other two. The son would
early read the news, Toler decided, unless perchance he were off at
sea, since the death of a figure like Bines would be told by every
daily newspaper in the country. He telegraphed, however, to the young
man's New York apartments and to a Newport address, on the chance of
Locating old Peter Bines at this season of the year was a feat never
lightly to be undertaken, nor for any trivial end. It being now the
10th of June, it could be known with certainty only that in one of four
States he was prowling through some wooded canon, toiling over a windy
pass, or scaling a mountain sheerly, in his ancient and best loved
sport of prospecting. Knowing his habits, the rashest guesser would not
have attempted to say more definitely where the old man might be.
The most promising plan Toler could devise was to wire the
superintendent of the "One Girl" Mine at Skiplap. The elder Bines, he
knew, had passed through Skiplap about June 1st, and had left, perhaps,
some inkling of his proposed route; if it chanced, indeed, that he had
taken the trouble to propose one.
Pangburn, the mine superintendent, on receipt of the news, despatched
five men on the search in as many different directions. The old man was
now seventy-four, and Pangburn had noted when last they met that he
appeared to be somewhat less agile and vigorous than he had been twenty
years before; from which it was fair to reason that he might be playing
his solitary game at a leisurely pace, and would have tramped no great
distance in the ten days he had been gone. The searchers, therefore,
were directed to beat up the near-by country. To Billy Brue was
allotted the easiest as being the most probable route. He was to follow
up Paddle Creek to Four Forks, thence over the Bitter Root trail to
Eden, on to Oro Fino, and up over Little Pass to Hellandgone. He was to
proceed slowly, to be alert for signs along the way, and to make
inquiries of all he met.
"You're likely to get track of Uncle Peter," said Pangburn, "over along
the west side of Horseback Ridge, just beyond Eden. When he pulled out
he was talking about some likely float-rock he'd picked up over that
way last summer. You'd ought to make that by to-morrow, seeing you've
got a good horse and the trail's been mended this spring. Now you
spread yourself out, Billy, and when you get on to the Ridge make a
special look all around there."
Besides these directions and the telegram from Toler, Billy Brue took
with him a copy of the Skiplap _Weekly Ledge_, damp from the press and
containing the death notice of Daniel J. Bines, a notice sent out by
the News Association, which Billy Brue read with interest as he started
up the trail. The item concluded thus:
"The young and beautiful Mrs. Bines, who had been accompanying her
husband on his trip of inspection over the Sierra Northern, is
prostrated with grief at the shock of his sudden death."
Billy Brue mastered this piece of intelligence after six readings, but
he refrained from comment, beyond thanking God, in thought, that he
could mind his own business under excessive provocation to do
otherwise. He considered it no meddling, however, to remember that Mrs.
Daniel J. Bines, widow of his late employer, could appear neither young
nor beautiful to the most sanguine of newsgatherers; nor to remember
that he happened to know she had not accompanied her husband on his
last trip of inspection over the Kaslo Division of the Sierra Northern
How the First Generation Once Righted Itself
By some philosophers unhappiness is believed--rather than coming from
deprivation or infliction--to result from the individual's failure to
select from a number of possible occupations one that would afford him
entire satisfaction with life and himself. To this perverse blindness
they attribute the dissatisfaction with great wealth traditional of men
who have it. The fault, they contend, is not with wealth inherently.
The most they will admit against money is that the possession of much
of it tends to destroy that judicial calm necessary to a wise choice of
recreations; to incline the possessor, perhaps, toward those that are
Concerning the old man that Billy Brue now sought with his news of
death, a philosopher of this school would unhesitatingly declare that
he had sounded the last note of human wisdom. Far up in some mountain
solitude old Peter Bines, multimillionaire, with a lone pack-mule to
bear his meagre outfit, picked up float-rock, tapped and scanned
ledges, and chipped at boulders with the same ardour that had fired him
in his penniless youth.
Back in 1850, a young man of twenty-four, he had joined the rush to
California, working his passage as deck-hand on a vessel that doubled
the Horn. Landing without capital at San Francisco, the little seaport
settlement among the shifting yellow sand-dunes, he had worked six
weeks along the docks as roustabout for money to take him back into the
hills whence came the big fortunes and the bigger tales of fortunes.
For six years he worked over the gravelly benches of the California
creeks for vagrant particles of gold. Then, in the late fifties, he
joined a mad stampede to the Frazer River gold-fields in British
Columbia, still wild over its first knowledge of silver sulphurets, he
was drawn back by the wonder-tales of the Comstock lode.
Joining the bedraggled caravan over the Carson trail, he continued his
course of bitter hardship in the Washoe Valley. From a patch of barren
sun-baked rock and earth, three miles long and a third of a mile wide,
high up on the eastern slope of Mount Davidson, he beheld more millions
taken out than the wildest enthusiast had ever before ventured to dream
of. But Peter Bines was a luckless unit of the majority that had
perforce to live on the hope produced by others' findings. The time for
his strike had not come.
For ten years more, half-clad in flannel shirt and overalls, he lived
in flimsy tents, tattered canvas houses, and sometimes holes in the
ground. One abode of luxury, long cherished in memory, was a
ten-by-twelve redwood shanty on Feather River. It not only boasted a
window, but there was a round hole in the "shake" roof, fastidiously
cut to fit a stove-pipe. That he never possessed a stove-pipe had made
this feature of the architecture not less sumptuous and engaging. He
lived chiefly on salt pork and beans, cooked over smoky camp-fires.
Through it all he was the determined, eager, confident prospector,
never for an instant prey to even the suggestion of a doubt that he
would not shortly be rich. Whether he washed the golden specks from the
sand of a sage-brush plain, or sought the mother-ledge of some
wandering golden child, or dug with his pick to follow a promising
surface lead, he knew it to be only the matter of time when his day
should dawn. He was of the make that wears unbending hope as its
Some day the inexhaustible placer would be found; or, on a mountainside
where the porphyry was stained, he would carelessly chip off a fragment
of rock, turn it up to the sun, and behold it rich in ruby silver; or,
some day, the vein instead of pinching out would widen; there would be
pay ore almost from the grass-roots--rich, yellow, free-milling gold,
so that he could put up a little arastra, beat out enough in a week to
buy a small stamp-mill, and then, in six months--ten years more of this
fruitless but nourishing certainty were his,--ten years of the awful
solitudes, shared sometimes by his hardy and equally confident wife,
and, at the last, by his boy, who had become old enough to endure with
his father the snow and ice of the mountain tops and the withering heat
of the alkali wastes.
Footsore, hungry most of the time, alternately burned and frozen, he
lived the life cheerfully and tirelessly, with an enthusiasm that never
When his day came it brought no surprise, so freshly certain had he
kept of its coming through the twenty years of search.
At his feet, one July morning in 1870, he noticed a piece of
dark-stained rock in a mass of driftstones. So small was it that to
have gone a few feet to either side would have been to miss it. He
picked it up and examined it leisurely. It was rich in silver.
Somewhere, then, between him and the mountain top was the parent stock
from which this precious fragment had been broken. The sun beat hotly
upon him as it had on other days through all the hard years when
certainty, after all, was nothing more than a temperamental faith. All
day he climbed and searched methodically, stopping at noon to eat with
an appetite unaffected by his prospect.
At sunset he would have stopped for the day, camping on the spot. He
looked above to estimate the ground he could cover on the morrow.
Almost in front of him, a few yards up the mountainside, he looked
squarely at the mother of his float: a huge boulder of projecting
silicate. It was there.
During the following week he ascertained the dimensions of his vein of
silver ore, and located two claims. He named them "The Stars and
Stripes" and "The American Boy," paying thereby what he considered
tributes, equally deserved, to his native land and to his only son,
Daniel, in whom were centred his fondest hopes.
A year of European travel had followed for the family, a year of
spending the new money lavishly for strange, long-dreamed-of
luxuries--a year in which the money was joyously proved to be real.
Then came a year of tentative residence in the East. That year was less
satisfactory. The novelty of being sufficiently fed, clad, and
sheltered was losing its fine edge.
Penniless and constrained to a life of privation, Peter Bines had been
strangely happy. Rich and of consequence in a community where the ways
were all of pleasantness and peace, Peter Bines became restless,
discontented, and, at last, unmistakably miserable.
"It can't be because I'm rich," he argued; "it's a sure thing my money
can't keep me from doin' jest what I want to do."
Then a suspicion pricked him; for he had, in his years of solitude,
formed the habit of considering, in a leisurely and hospitable manner,
even the reverse sides of propositions that are commonly accepted by
men without question.
"The money _can't_ prevent me from doin' what I jest want
to--certain--but, maybe, _don't_ it? If I didn't have it I'd fur sure
be back in the hills and happy, and so would Evalina, that ain't had
hardly what you could call a good day since we made the strike."
On this line of reasoning it took Peter Bines no long time to conclude
that he ought now to enjoy as a luxury what he had once been
constrained to as a necessity.
"Even when I was poor and had to hit the trail I jest loved them hills,
so why ain't it crafty to pike back to 'em now when I don't have to?"
His triumphant finale was:
"When you come to think about it, a rich man ain't really got any more
excuse fur bein' mis'able than a poor man has!"
Back to the big hills that called him had he gone; away from the cities
where people lived "too close together and too far apart;" back to the
green, rough earth where the air was free and quick and a man could see
a hundred miles, and the people lived far enough apart to be
There content had blessed him again; content not slothful but inciting;
a content that embraced his own beloved West, fashioning first in fancy
and then by deed, its own proud future. He had never ceased to plan and
stimulate its growth. He not only became one with its manifold
interests, but proudly dedicated the young Daniel to its further
making. He became an ardent and bigoted Westerner, with a scorn for the
East so profound that no Easterner's scorn for the West hath ever by
any chance equalled it.
Prospecting with the simple outfit of old became his relaxation, his
sport, and, as he aged, his hobby. It was said that he had exalted
prospecting to the dignity of an art, and no longer hunted gold as a
pot-hunter. He was even reputed to have valuable deposits "covered,"
and certain it is that after Creede made his rich find on Mammoth
Mountain in 1890, Peter Bines met him in Denver and gave him
particulars about the vein which as yet Creede had divulged to no one.
Questioned later concerning this, Peter Bines evaded answering
directly, but suggested that a man who already had plenty of money
might have done wisely to cover up the find and be still about it; that
Nat Creede himself proved as much by going crazy over his wealth and
blowing out his brains.
To a tamely prosperous Easterner who, some years after his return to
the West, made the conventional remark, "And isn't it amazing that you
were happy through those hard years of toil when you were so poor?"
Peter Bines had replied, to his questioner's hopeless bewilderment:
"No. But it _is_ surprisin' that I kept happy after I got rich--after I
got what I wanted.
"I reckon you'll find," he added, by way of explaining, "that the
proportion of happy rich to unhappy rich is a mighty sight smaller than
the proportion of happy poor to the unhappy poor. I'm one of the former
minority, all right,--but, by cripes! it's because I know how to be
rich and still enjoy all the little comforts of poverty!"
Billy Brue Finds His Man
Each spring the old man grew restive and raw like an unbroken colt. And
when the distant mountain peaks began to swim in their summer haze, and
the little rushing rivers sang to him, pleading that he come once more
to follow them up, he became uncontrollable. Every year at this time he
alleged, with a show of irritation, that his health was being sapped by
the pernicious indulgence of sleeping on a bed inside a house. He
alleged, further, that stocks and bonds were but shadows of wealth,
that the old mines might any day become exhausted, and that security
for the future lay only in having one member of the family, at least,
looking up new pay-rock against the ever possible time of adversity.
"They ain't got to makin' calendars yet with the rainy day marked on
'em," he would say. "A'most any one of them innocent lookin' Mondays or
Tuesdays or Wednesdays is liable to be _it_ when you get right up on to
it. I'll have to start my old bones out again, I see that. Things are
beginnin' to green up a'ready." When he did go it was always understood
to be positively for not more than two weeks. A list of his reasons for
extending the time each year to three or four months would constitute
the ideal monograph on human duplicity. When hard-pushed on his return,
he had once or twice been even brazen enough to assert that he had lost
his way in the mountain fastnesses. But, for all his protestations, no
one when he left in June expected to see him again before September at
the earliest. In these solitary tours he was busy and happy, working
and playing. "Work," he would say, "is something you want to get done;
play is something you jest like to be doin'. Snoopin' up these gulches
is both of 'em to me."
And so he loitered through the mountains, resting here, climbing there,
making always a shrewd, close reading of the rocks.
It was thus Billy Brue found him at the end of his second day's search.
A little off the trail, at the entrance to a pocket of the cañon, he
towered erect to peer down when he heard the noise of the messenger's
ascent. Standing beside a boulder of grey granite, before a background
of the gnarled dwarf-cedars, his hat off, his blue shirt open at the
neck, his bare forearms brown, hairy, and muscular, a hammer in his
right hand, his left resting lightly on his hip, he might have been the
Titan that had forged the boulder at his side, pausing now for breath
before another mighty task. Well over six feet tall, still straight as
any of the pines before him, his head and broad shoulders in the easy
poise of power, there was about him from a little distance no sign of
age. His lines were gracefully full, his bearing had still the
alertness of youth. One must have come as near as Billy Brue now came
to detect the marks of time in his face. Not of age--merely of time;
for here was no senility, no quavering or fretful lines. The grey eyes
shone bright and clear from far under the heavy, unbroken line of brow,
and the mouth was still straight and firmly held, a mouth under sure
control from corner to corner. A little had the years brought out the
rugged squareness of the chin and the deadly set of the jaws; a little
had they pressed in the cheeks to throw the high bones into broad
relief. But these were the utmost of their devastations. Otherwise
Peter Bines showed his seventy-four years only by the marks of a
well-ordered maturity. His eyes, it is true, had that look of _knowing_
which to the young seems always to betoken the futility of, and to warn
against the folly of, struggle against what must be; yet they were kind
eyes, and humourous, with many of the small lines of laughter at their
corners. Reading the eyes and mouth together one perceived gentleness
and sternness to be well matched, working to any given end in amiable
and effective compromise. "Uncle Peter" he had long been called by the
public that knew him, and his own grandchildren had come to call him by
the same term, finding him too young to meet their ideal of a
grandfather. Billy Brue, riding up the trail, halted, nodded, and was
silent. The old man returned his salutation as briefly. These things by
men who stay much alone come to be managed with verbal economy. They
would talk presently, but greetings were awkward.
Billy Brue took one foot from its stirrup and turned in his saddle,
pulling the leg up to a restful position. Then he spat, musingly, and
looked back down the cañon aimlessly, throwing his eyes from side to
side where the grey granite ledges showed through the tall spruce and
But the old man knew he had been sent for.
"Well, Billy Brue,--what's doin'?"
Billy Brue squirmed in the saddle, spat again, as with sudden resolve,
"Why,--uh--Dan'l J.--_he's_ dead."
The old man repeated the words, dazedly.
"Dan'l J.--_he's_ dead;--why, who else is dead, too?"
Billy Brue's emphasis, cunningly contrived by him to avoid giving
prominence to the word "dead," had suggested this inquiry in the first
moment of stupefaction.
"Nobody else dead--jest Dan'l J.--_he's_ dead."
"Jest Dan'l J.--my boy--my boy Dan'l dead!"
His mighty shape was stricken with a curious rigidity, erected there as
if it were a part of the mountain, flung up of old from the earth's
inner tragedy, confounded, desolate, ancient.
[Illustration: "'_WELL, BILLY BRUE, WHAT'S DOIN_'?'"]
Billy Brue turned from the stony interrogation of his eyes and took a
few steps away, waiting. A little wind sprang up among the higher
trees, the moments passed, and still the great figure stood transfixed
in its curious silence. The leathers creaked as the horse turned. The
messenger, with an air of surveying the canon, stole an anxious glance
at the old face. The sorrowful old eyes were fixed on things that were
not; they looked vaguely as if in search.
"Dan'l!" he said.
It was not a cry; there was nothing plaintive in it. It was only the
old man calling his son: David calling upon Absalom. Then there was a
change. He came sternly forward.
"Who killed my boy?"
"Nobody, Uncle Peter; 'twas a stroke. He was goin' over the line and
they'd laid out at Kaslo fer a day so's Dan'l J. could see about a spur
the 'Lucky Cuss' people wanted--and maybe it was the climbin' brought
The old man looked his years. As he came nearer Billy Brue saw tears
tremble in his eyes and roll unnoted down his cheeks. Yet his voice was
unbroken and he was, indeed, unconscious of the tears.
"I was afraid of that. He lived too high. He et too much and he drank
too much and was too soft--was Dan'l.--too soft--"
The old voice trembled a bit and he stopped to look aside into the
little pocket he had been exploring. Billy Brue looked back down the
canon, where the swift stream brawled itself into white foam far below.
"He wouldn't use his legs; I prodded him about it constant--"
He stopped again to brace himself against the shock. Billy Brue still
"I told him high altitudes and high livin' would do any man--" Again he
"But all he'd ever say was that times had changed since my day, and I
wasn't to mind him." He had himself better in hand now.
"Why, I nursed that boy when he was a dear, funny little red baby with
big round eyes rollin' around to take notice; he took notice awful
quick--fur a baby. Oh, my! Oh, dear! Dan'l!"
Again he stopped.
"And it don't seem more'n yesterday that I was a-teachin' him to throw
the diamond hitch; he could throw the diamond hitch with his eyes shut
--I reckon by the time he was nine or ten. He had his faults, but they
didn't hurt him none; Dan'l J. was a man, now--" He halted once more.
"The dead millionaire," began Billy Brue, reading from the obituary in
the Skiplap _Weekly Ledge_, "was in his fifty-second year. Genial,
generous to a fault, quick to resent a wrong, but unfailing in his
loyalty to a friend, a man of large ideas, with a genius for large
operations, he was the type of indefatigable enterprise that has
builded this Western empire in a wilderness and given rich sustenance
and luxurious homes to millions of prosperous, happy American citizens.
Peace to his ashes! And a safe trip to his immortal soul over the
"Yes, yes--it's Dan'l J. fur sure--they got my boy Dan'l that time. Is
that all it says, Billy? Any one with him?"
"Why, this here despatch is signed by young Toler--that's his
The old man was peering at him sharply from under the grey protruding
"Well, if you must know, Uncle Peter, this is what the notice says that
come by wire to the _Ledge_ office," and he read doggedly:
"The young and beautiful Mrs. Bines, who had been accompanying her
husband on his trip of inspection over the Sierra Northern, is
prostrated by the shock of his sudden death."
The old man became for the first time conscious of the tears in his
eyes, and, pulling down one of the blue woollen shirt sleeves, wiped
his wet cheeks. The slow, painful blush of age crept up across the iron
strength of his face, and passed. He looked away as he spoke.
"I knew it; I knew that. My Dan'l was like all that Frisco bunch. They
get tangled with women sooner or later. I taxed Dan'l with it. I
spleened against it and let him know it. But he was a man and his own
master--if you can rightly call a man his own master that does them
things. Do you know what-fur woman this one was, Billy?"
"Well, last time Dan'l J. was up to Skiplap, there was a swell party on
the car--kind of a coppery-lookin' blonde. Allie Ash, the brakeman on
No. 4, he tells me she used to be in Spokane, and now she'd got her
hooks on to some minin' property up in the Coeur d'Alene. Course, this
mightn't be the one."
The old man had ceased to listen. He was aroused to the need for
"Get movin', Billy! We can get down to Eden to-night; we'll have the
moon fur two hours on the trail soon's the sun's gone. I can get 'em to
drive me over to Skiplap first thing to-morrow, and I can have 'em make
me up a train there fur Montana City. Was he--"
"Dan'l J. has been took home--the noozepaper says."
They turned back down the trail, the old man astride Billy Brue's
horse, followed by his pack-mule and preceded by Billy.
Already, such was his buoyance and habit of quick recovery and
readjustment under reverses, his thoughts were turning to his grandson.
Daniel's boy--there was the grandson of his grandfather--the son of his
father--fresh from college, and the instructions of European travel,
knowing many things his father had not known, ready to take up the work
of his father, and capable, perhaps, of giving it a better finish. His
beloved West had lost one of its valued builders, but another should
take his place. His boy should come to him and finish the tasks of his
father; and, in the years to come, make other mighty tasks of
empire-building for himself and the children of his children.
It did not occur to him that he and the boy might be as far apart in
sympathies and aims as at that moment they were in circumstance. For,
while the old man in the garb of a penniless prospector, toiled down
the steep mountain trail on a cheap horse, his grandson was reading the
first news of his father's death in one of the luxurious staterooms of
a large steam yacht that had just let down her anchor in Newport
Harbour. And each--but for the death--had been where most he wished to
be--one with his coarse fare and out-of-doors life, roughened and
seamed by the winds and browned by the sun to mahogany tints; aged but
playing with boyish zest at his primitive sport; the other, a
strong-limbed, well-marrowed, full-breathing youth of twenty-five, with
appetites all alert and sharpened, pink and pampered, loving luxury,
and prizing above all things else the atmosphere of wealth and its
The West Against the East
Two months later a sectional war was raging in the Bines home at
Montana City. The West and the East were met in conflict,--the old and
the new, the stale and the fresh. And, if the bitterness was dissembled
by the combatants, not less keenly was it felt, nor less determined was
either faction to be relentless.
A glance about the "sitting-room" in which the opposing forces were
lined up, and into the parlour through the opened folding-doors, may
help us to a better understanding of the issue involved. Both rooms
were large and furnished in a style that had been supremely luxurious
in 1878. The house, built in that year, of Oregon pine, had been quite
the most pretentious piece of architecture in that section of the West.
It had been erected in the first days of Montana City as a convincing
testimonial from the owner to his faith in the town's future. The
plush-upholstered sofas and chairs, with their backs and legs of carved
black walnut, had come direct from New York. For pictures there were
early art-chromos, among them the once-prized companion pieces, "Wide
Awake" and "Fast Asleep." Lithography was represented by "The
Fisherman's Pride" and "The Soldier's Dream of Home." In the
handicrafts there were a photographic reproduction of the Lord's
Prayer, illustrated originally by a penman with uncommon genius for
scroll-work; a group of water-lilies in wax, floating on a mirror-lake
and protected by a glass globe; a full-rigged schooner, built cunningly
inside a bottle by a matricide serving a life-sentence in the
penitentiary at San Quinten; and a mechanical canarybird in a gilded
cage, acquired at the Philadelphia Centennial,--a bird that had
carolled its death--lay in the early winter of 1877 when it was wound
up too hard and its little insides snapped. In the parlour a few
ornamental books were grouped with rare precision on the centre-table
with its oval top of white marble. On the walls of the "sitting-room"
were a steel engraving of Abraham Lincoln striking the shackles from a
kneeling slave, and a framed cardboard rebus worked in red zephyr, the
reading of which was "No Cross, No Crown."
Thus far nothing helpful has been found.
Let us examine, then, the what-not in the "sitting-room" and the choice
Empire cabinet that faces it from the opposite wall of the parlour.
The what-not as an American institution is obsolete. Indeed, it has
been rather long since writers referred to it even in terms of
opprobrious sarcasm. The what-not, once the cherished shrine of the
American home, sheltered the smaller household gods for which no other
resting-place could be found. The Empire cabinet, with its rounding
front of glass, its painted Watteau scenes, and its mirrored back, has
come to supplant the humbler creation in the fulfilment of all its
tender or mysterious offices.
Here, perchance, may be found a clue in symbol to the family strife.
The Bines what-not in the sitting-room was grimly orthodox in its
equipment. Here was an ancient box covered with shell-work, with a wavy
little mirror in its back; a tender motto worked with the hair of the
dead; a "Rock of Ages" in a glass case, with a garland of pink chenille
around the base; two dried pine cones brightly varnished; an old
daguerreotype in an ornamental case of hard rubber; a small old album;
two small China vases of the kind that came always in pairs, standing
on mats of crocheted worsted; three sea-shells; and the cup and saucer
that belonged to grandma, which no one must touch because they'd been
broken and were held together but weakly, owing to the imperfections of
The new cabinet, haughty in its varnished elegance, with its Watteau
dames and courtiers, and perhaps the knowledge that it enjoys
widespread approval among the elect,--this is a different matter. In
every American home that is a home, to-day, it demands attention. The
visitor, after eyeing it with cautious side-glances, goes jauntily up
to it, affecting to have been stirred by the mere impulse of elegant
idleness. Under the affectedly careless scrutiny of the hostess he
falls dramatically into an attitude of awed entrancement. Reverently he
gazes upon the priceless bibelots within: the mother-of-pearl fan, half
open; the tiny cup and saucer of Sèvres on their brass easel; the
miniature Cupid and Psyche in marble; the Japanese wrestlers carved in
ivory; the ballet-dancer in bisque; the coral necklace; the souvenir
spoon from the Paris Exposition; the jade bracelet; and the silver
snuff-box that grandfather carried to the day of his death. If the
gazing visitor be a person of abandoned character he makes humourous
pretence that the householder has done wisely to turn a key upon these
treasures, against the ravishings of the overwhelmed and frenzied
connoisseur. He wears the look of one who is gnawed with envy, and he
heaves the sigh of despair.
But when he notes presently that he has ceased to be observed he sneaks
cheerfully to another part of the room.
The what-not is obsolete. The Empire cabinet is regnant. Yet, though
one is the lineal descendant of the other--its sophisticated
grandchild--they are hostile and irreconcilable.
Twenty years hence the cabinet will be proscribed and its contents
catalogued in those same terms of disparagement that the what-not
became long since too dead to incur. Both will then have attained the
state of honourable extinction now enjoyed by the dodo.
The what-not had curiously survived in the Bines home--survived unto
the coming of the princely cabinet--survived to give battle if it
Here, perhaps, may be found the symbolic clue to the strife's cause.
The sole non-combatant was Mrs. Bines, the widow. A neutral was this
good woman, and a well-wisher to each faction.
"I tell you it's all the same to me," she declared, "Montana City or
Fifth Avenue in New York. I guess I can do well enough in either place
so long as the rest of you are satisfied."
It had been all the same to Mrs. Bines for as many years as a woman of
fifty can remember. It was the lot of wives in her day and environment
early to learn the supreme wisdom of abolishing preferences. Riches and
poverty, ease and hardship, mountain and plain, town and wilderness,
they followed in no ascertainable sequence, and a superiority of
indifference to each was the only protection against hurts from the
This trained neutrality of Mrs. Bines served her finely now. She had no
leading to ally herself against her children in their wish to go East,
nor against Uncle Peter Bines in his stubborn effort to keep them West.
She folded her hands to wait on the others.
And the battle raged.
The old man, sole defender of the virtuous and stalwart West against an
East that he alleged to be effete and depraved, had now resorted to
sarcasm,--a thing that Mr. Carlyle thought was as good as the language
of the devil.
"And here, now, how about this dog-luncheon?" he continued, glancing at
a New York newspaper clutched accusingly in his hand. "It was give, I
see, by one of your Newport cronies. Now, that's healthy doin's fur a
two-fisted Christian, ain't it? I want to know. Shappyronging a select
company of lady and gentlemen dogs from soup to coffee; pressing a
little more of the dog-biscuit on this one, and seein' that the other
don't misplay its finger-bowl no way. How I would love to read of a
Bines standin' up, all in purty velvet pants, most likely, to receive
at one of them bow-wow functions;--functions, I believe, is the name of
it?" he ended in polite inquiry.
"There, there, Uncle Peter!" the young man broke in, soothingly; "you
mustn't take those Sunday newspapers as gospel truth; those stories are
printed for just such rampant old tenderfoots as you are; and even if
there is one foolish freak, he doesn't represent all society in the
better sense of the term."
"Yes, and _you_!" Uncle Peter broke out again, reminded of another
grievance. "You know well enough your true name is Peter--Pete and
Petie when you was a baby and Peter when you left for college. And
you're ashamed of what you've done, too, for you tried to hide them
callin'-cards from me the other day, only you wa'n't quick enough.
Bring 'em out! I'm bound your mother and Pish shall see 'em. Out with
The young man, not without embarrassment, drew forth a Russia leather
card-case which the old man took from him as one having authority.
"Here you are, Marthy Bines!" he exclaimed, handing her a card; "here
you are! read it! Mr. P. Percival Bines.' _Now_ don't you feel proud of
havin' stuck out for Percival when you see it in cold print? You know
mighty well his pa and me agreed to Percival only fur a middle name,
jest to please you--and he wa'n't to be called by it;--only jest Peter
or 'Peter P.' at most; and now look at the way he's gone and garbled
his good name."
Mr. P. Percival Bines blushed furiously here, but rejoined,
nevertheless, with quiet dignity, that a man's name was something about
which he should have the ruling voice, especially where it was possible
for him to rectify or conceal the unhappy choice of his parents.
"And while we're on names," he continued, "do try to remember in case
you ever get among people, that Sis's name is Psyche and not Pish."
The blond and complacent Miss Bines here moved uneasily in her patent
blue plush rocker and spoke for the first time, with a grateful glance
at her brother.
"Yes, Uncle Peter, for mercy's sake, _do_ try! Don't make us a
laughing-stock!" "But your name is Pish. A person's name is what their
folks name 'em, ain't it? Your ma comes acrost a name in a book that
she likes the looks of, and she takes it to spell Pish, and she ups and
names you Pish, and we all calls you Pish and Pishy, and then when you
toddle off to public school and let 'em know how you spell it they tell
you it's something else--an outlandish name if spellin' means anything.
If it comes to that you ought to change the spellin' instead of the
name that your poor pa loved."
Yet the old man had come to know that he was fighting a lost
fight,--lost before it had ever begun.
"It will be a good chance," ventured Mrs. Bines, timidly, "for Pishy--I
mean Sike--Sicky--to meet the right sort of people."
"Yes, I should _say_--and the wrong sort. The ingagin' host of them
lady and gentlemen dogs, fur instance."
"But Uncle Peter," broke in the young man, "you shouldn't expect a girl
of Psyche's beauty and fortune to vegetate in Montana City all her
life. Why, any sort of brilliant marriage is possible to her if she
goes among the right people. Don't you want the family to amount to
something socially? Is our money to do us no good? And do you think I'm
going to stay here and be a moss-back and raise chin whiskers and work
myself to death the way my father did?"
"No, no," replied the old man, with a glance at the mother; "not _jest_
the way your pa did; you might do some different and some better; but
all the same, you won't do any better'n he did any way you'll learn to
live in New York. Unless you was to go broke there," he added,
thoughtfully; "in that case you got the stuff in you and it'd come out;
but you got too much money to go broke."
"And you'll see that I lead a decent enough life. Times have changed
since my father was a young man."
"Yes; that's what your pa told me,--times had changed since I was a
young man; but I could 'a' done him good if he'd 'a' listened."
"Well, we'll try it. The tide is setting that way from all over the
country. Here, listen to this editorial in the _Sun_." And he read from
his own paper:
"A GOOD PLACE TO MOVE TO.
"One of the most interesting evidences of the growth of New York is the
news that Mr. Anson Ledrick of the Consolidated Copper Company has
purchased an extensive building site on Riverside Drive and will
presently improve it with a costly residence. Mr. Ledrick's decision to
move his household effects to Manhattan Island is in accordance with a
very marked tendency of successful Americans.
"There are those who are fond of depreciating New York; of assailing it
with all sorts of cheap and sensational vituperation; of picturing it
as the one great canker spot of the Western hemisphere, as
irretrievably sunk in wickedness and shame. The fact remains, however,
that the city, as never before, is the great national centre of wealth,
culture, and distinction of every kind, and that here the citizen,
successful in art, literature, or practical achievement, instinctively
seeks his abiding-place.
"The restlessness of the average American millionaire while he remains
outside the city limits is frequently remarked upon. And even the
mighty overlords of Chicago, falling in with the prevailing fashion,
have forsaken the shores of the great inland sea and pitched their
tents with us; not to speak of the copper kings of Montana. Why is it
that these interesting men, after acquiring fortune and fame elsewhere,
are not content to remain upon the scene of their early triumphs? Why
is it that they immediately pack their carpet-bags, take the first
through train to our gates, and startle the investing public by the
manner in which they bull the price of New York building lots?"
The old man listened absently.
"And probably some day I'll read of you in that same centre of culture
and distinction as P. Percival Bines, a young man of obscure fam'ly,
that rose by his own efforts to be the dashin' young cotillion leader
and the well-known club-man, and that his pink teas fur dogs is barked
about by every fashionable canine on the island."
The young man continued to read: "These men are not vain fools; they
are shrewd, successful men of the world. They have surveyed New York
City from a distance and have discovered that, in spite of Tammany and
in spite of yellow journals, New York is a town of unequalled
attractiveness. And so they come; and their coming shows us what we
are. Not only millionaires; but also painters and novelists and men and
women of varied distinction. The city palpitates with life and ambition
and hope and promise; it attracts the great and the successful, and
those who admire greatness and success. The force of natural selection
is at work here as everywhere; and it is rapidly concentrating in our
small island whatever is finest, most progressive, and best in the
"Well, now do me a last favour before you pike off East," pleaded the
old man. "Make a trip with me over the properties. See 'em once anyway,
and see a little more of this country and these people. Mebbe they're
better'n you think. Give me about three weeks or a month, and then, by
Crimini, you can go off if you're set on it and be 'whatever is finest
and best in the American character' as that feller puts it. But some
day, son, you'll find out there's a whole lot of difference between a
great man of wealth and a man of great wealth. Them last is gettin'
Over the Hills
So the old man and the young man made the round of the Bines
properties. The former nursed a forlorn little hope of exciting an
interest in the concerns most vital to him; to the latter the leisurely
tour in the private car was a sportive prelude to the serious business
of life, as it should be lived, in the East. Considering it as such he
endured it amiably, and indeed the long August days and the sharply
cool nights were not without real enjoyment for him.
To feel impartially a multitude of strong, fresh wants--the imperative
need to live life in all its fulness, this of itself makes the heart to
sing. And, above the full complement of wants, to have been dowered by
Heaven with a stanch disbelief in the unattainable,--this is a fortune
rather to be chosen than a good name or great riches; since the name
and riches and all things desired must come to the call of it.
Our Western-born youth of twenty-five had the wants and the sense of
power inherited from a line of men eager of initiative, the product of
an environment where only such could survive. Doubtless in him was the
soul and body hunger of his grandfather, cramping and denying through
hardship year after year, yet sustained by dreaming in the hardest
times of the soft material luxuries that should some day be his.
Doubtless marked in his character, too, was the slightly relaxed
tension of his father; the disposition to feast as well as the capacity
to fast; to take all, feel all, do all, with an avidity greater by
reason of the grinding abstinence and the later indulgence of his
forbears. A sage versed in the lore of heredity as modified by
environment may some day trace for us the progress across this
continent of an austere Puritan, showing how the strain emerges from
the wilderness at the Western ocean with a character so widely
differing from the one with which he began the adventurous
journey,--regarding, especially, a tolerance of the so-called good and
many of the bad things of life. Until this is done we may, perhaps,
consider the change to be without valid cause.
Young Bines, at all events, was the flower of a pioneer stock, and him
the gods of life cherished, so that all the forces of the young land
about him were as his own. Yet, though his pulses rhymed to theirs he
did not perceive his relation to them: neither he nor the land was yet
become introspective. So informed was he with the impetuous spirit of
youth that the least manifestation of life found its answering thrill
in him. And it was sufficient to feel this. There was no time barren
enough of sensation to reason about it. Uncle Peter's plan for an
inspection of the Bines properties had at first won him by touching his
sense of duty. He anticipated no interest or pleasure in the trip. Yet
from the beginning he enjoyed it to the full. Being what he was, the
constant movement pleased him, the out-of-doors life, the occasional
sorties from the railroad by horse to some remote mining camp, or to a
stock ranch or lumber-camp. He had been away for six years, and it
pleased him to note that he was treated by the people he met with a
genuine respect and liking as the son of his father. In the East he had
been accustomed to a certain deference from very uncertain people
because he was the son of a rich man. Here he had prestige because he
was the son of Daniel Bines, organiser and man of affairs. He felt
sometimes that the men at mine, mill, or ranch looked him over with
misgiving, and had their cautious liking compelled only by the
assurance that he was indeed the son of Daniel. They left him at these
times with the suspicion that this bare fact meant enough with them to
carry a man of infelicitous exterior.
He was pleased, moreover, to feel a new respect for Uncle Peter. He
observed that men of all degrees looked up to him, sought and relied
upon his judgment; the investing capitalist whom they met not less than
the mine foreman; the made man and the labourer. In the drawing-room at
home he had felt so agreeably superior to the old man; now he felt his
own inferiority in a new element, and began to view him with more
respect. He saw him to be the shrewd man of affairs, with a thorough
grasp of detail in every branch of their interests; and a deep man, as
well; a little narrow, perhaps, from his manner of life, but of
unfailing kindness, and with rather a young man's radicalism than an
old man's conservatism; one who, in an emergency, might be relied upon
to take the unexpected but effective course.
For his own part, old Peter Bines learned in the course of the trip to
understand and like his grandson better. At bottom he decided the young
man to be sound after all, and he began to make allowance for his
geographical heresies. The boy had been sent to an Eastern college;
that was clearly a mistake, putting him out of sympathy with the West;
and he had never been made to work, which was another and a graver
mistake, "but he'd do more'n his father ever did if 'twa'n't fur his
father's money," the old man concluded. For he saw in their talks that
the very Eastern experience which he derided had given the young fellow
a poise and a certain readiness to grasp details in the large that his
father had been a lifetime in acquiring.
For a month they loitered over the surrounding territory in the private
car, gliding through fertile valleys, over bleak passes, steaming up
narrow little canons along the down-rushing streams with their cool
They would learn one day that a cross-cut was to be started on the Last
Chance, or that the concentrates of the True Grit would thereafter be
shipped to the Careless Creek smelter. Next they would learn that a new
herd of Galloways had done finely last season on the Bitter Root ranch;
that a big lot of ore was sacked at the Irish Boy, that an
eighteen-inch vein had been struck in the Old Crow; that a concentrator
was needed at Hellandgone, and that rich gold-bearing copper and sand
bearing free gold had been found over on Horseback Ridge.
Another day they would drive far into a forest of spruce and hemlock to
a camp where thousands of ties were being cut and floated down to the
line of the new railway.
Sometimes they spent a night in one of the smaller mining camps off the
railroad, whereof facetious notes would appear in the nearest weekly
paper, such as:
"The Hon. Peter Bines and his grandson, who is a chip of the old block,
spent Tuesday night at Rock Rip. Young Bines played the deal from soda
card to hock at Lem Tully's Turf Exchange, and showed Lem's dealer good
and plenty that there's no piker strain in him."
Or, it might be:
"Poker stacks continue to have a downward tendency. They were sold last
week as low as eighty chips for a dollar; It is sad to see this noble
game dragging along in the lower levels of prosperity, and we take as a
favourable omen the appearance of Uncle Peter Bines and his grandson
the other night. The prices went to par in a minute. Young Bines gave
signs of becoming as delicately intuitional in the matter of concealed
values as his father, the lamented Daniel J."
Again it was:
"Uncle Peter Bines reports from over Kettle Creek way that the
sagebrush whiskey they take a man's two bits for there would gnaw holes
in limestone. Peter is likelier to find a ledge of dollar bills than he
is good whiskey this far off the main trail. The late Daniel J. could
have told him as much, and Daniel J.'s boy, who accompanies Uncle
Peter, will know it hereafter."
The young man felt wholesomely insignificant at these and other signs
that he was taken on sufferance as a son and a grandson.
He was content that it should be so. Indeed there was little wherewith
he was not content. That he was habitually preoccupied, even when there
was most movement about them, early became apparent to Uncle Peter.
That he was constantly cheerful proved the matter of his musings to be
pleasant. That he was proner than most youths to serious meditation
Uncle Peter did not believe. Therefore he attributed the moods of
abstraction to some matter probably connected with his project of
removing the family East. It was not permitted Uncle Peter to know, nor
was his own youth recent enough for him to suspect, the truth. And the
mystery stayed inviolate until a day came and went that laid it bare
even to the old man's eyes.
They awoke one morning to find the car on a siding at the One Girl
mine. Coupled to it was another car from an Eastern road that their
train had taken on sometime in the night. Percival noted the car with
interest as he paced beside the track in the cool clear air before
breakfast. The curtains were drawn, and the only signs of life to be
observed were at the kitchen end, where the white-clad cook could be
seen astir. Grant, porter on the Bines car, told him the other car had
been taken on at Kaslo Junction, and that it belonged to Rulon Shepler,
the New York financier, who was aboard with a party of friends.
As Percival and Uncle Peter left their car for the shaft-house after
breakfast, the occupants of the other car were bestirring themselves.
From one of the open windows a low but impassioned voice was exhausting
the current idioms of damnation in sweeping dispraise of all land-areas
north and west of Fifty-ninth Street, New York.
Uncle Peter smiled grimly. Percival flushed, for the hidden protestant
had uttered what were his own sentiments a month before.
Reaching the shaft-house they chatted with Pangburn, the
superintendent, and then went to the store-room to don blouses and
overalls for a descent into the mine.
For an hour they stayed underground, traversing the various levels and
drifts, while Pangburn explained the later developments of the vein and
showed them where the new stoping had been begun.
A Meeting and a Clashing
As they stepped from the cage at the surface Percival became aware of a
group of strangers between him and the open door of the
shaft-house,--people displaying in dress and manner the unmistakable
stamp of New York. For part of a minute, while the pupils of his eyes
were contracting to the light, he saw them but vaguely. Then, as his
sight cleared, he beheld foremost in the group, beaming upon him with
an expression of pleased and surprised recognition, the girl whose face
and voice had for nearly half a year peopled his lover's solitude with
fair visions and made its silence to be all melody.
Had the encounter been anticipated his composure would perhaps have
failed him. Not a few of his waking dreams had sketched this, their
second meeting, and any one of the ways it had pleased him to plan it
would assuredly have found him nervously embarrassed. But so wildly
improbable was this reality that not the daringest of his imagined
happenings had approached it. His thoughts for the moment had been not
of her; then, all at once, she stood before him in the flesh, and he
was cool, almost unmoved. He suspected at once that her father was the
trim, fastidiously dressed man who looked as if he had been abducted
from a morning stroll down the avenue to his club; that the plump,
ruddy, high-bred woman, surveying the West disapprovingly through a
lorgnon, would be her mother. Shepler he knew by sight, with his big
head, massive shoulders, and curiously short, tapering body. Some other
men and a woman were scanning the hoisting machinery with superior
The girl, before starting toward him, had waited hardly longer than it
took him to eye the group. And then came an awkward two seconds upon
her whose tact in avoiding the awkward was reputed to be more than
With her hand extended she had uttered, "Why, Mr.--" before it flashed
upon her that she did not know the name of the young man she was
The "Mister" was threatening to prolong itself into an "r" of
excruciating length and disgraceful finality, an "r" that is terminated
neatly by no one but hardened hotel-clerks. Then a miner saved the day.
"Mr. Bines," he said, coming up hurriedly behind Percival with several
specimens of ore, "you forgot these."
"-r-r-r. Bines, how _do_ you do!" concluded the girl with an eye-flash
of gratitude at the humble instrument that had prevented an undue
hiatus in her salutation. They were apart from the others and for the
The young man took the hand so cordially offered, and because of all
the things he wished and had so long waited to say, he said nothing.
"Isn't it jolly! I am Miss Milbrey," she added in a lower tone, and
then, raising her voice, "Mamma, Mr. Bines--and papa," and there
followed a hurried and but half-acknowledged introduction to the other
members of the party. And, behold! in that moment the young man had
schemed the edifice of all his formless dreams. For six months he had
known the unsurpassable luxury of wanting and of knowing what he
wanted. Now, all at once, he saw this to be a world in which dreams
come more than true.
Shepler and the party were to go through the mine as a matter of
sight-seeing. They were putting on outer clothes from the store-room to
protect them from the dirt and damp.
Presently Percival found himself again at the bottom of the shaft.
During the descent of twelve hundred feet he had reflected upon the
curious and interesting fact that her name should be Milbrey. He felt
dimly that this circumstance should be ranked among the most
interesting of natural phenomena,--that she should have a name, as the
run of mortals, and that it should be one name more than another. When
he discovered further that her Christian name was Avice the phenomenon
became stupendously bewildering. They two were in the last of the party
to descend. On reaching bottom he separated her with promptness and
guile from two solemn young men, copies of each other, and they were
presently alone. In the distance they could see the others following
ghostly lamps. From far off mysterious recesses came the muffled
musical clink of the sledges on the drills. An employee who had come
down with them started to be their guide. Percival sent him back.
"I've just been through; I can find my way again."
"Ver' well," said the man, "with the exception that it don't happen
something,--yes?" And he stayed where he was.
Down one of the cross-cuts they started, stepping aside to let a car of
ore be pushed along to the shaft.
"Do you know," began the girl, "I am so glad to be able to thank you
for what you did that night."
"I'm glad you _are_ able. I was beginning to think I should always have
those thanks owing to me."
"I might have paid them at the time, but it was all so unexpected and
so sudden,--it rattled me, quite."
"I thought you were horribly cool-headed."
"Your manner reduced me to a groom who opened your carriage door."
"But grooms don't often pick strange ladies up bodily and bear them out
of a pandemonium of waltzing cab-horses. I'd never noticed before that
cab-horses are so frivolous and hysterical."
"And grooms know where to look for their pay."
They were interrupting nervously, and bestowing furtive side-looks upon
"If I'd not seen you," said the girl, "glanced at you--before--that
evening, I shouldn't have remembered so well; doubtless I'd not have
recognised you to-day."
"I didn't know you did glance at me, and yet I watched you every moment
of the evening. You didn't know that, did you?"
"Of course I knew it. A woman has to note such things without letting
it be seen that she sees."
"And I'd have sworn you never once so much as looked my way."
"Don't we do it well, though?"
"And in spite of all the time I gave to a study of your face I lost the
detail of it. I could keep only the effect of its expression and the
few tones of your voice I heard. You know I took those on a record so I
could make 'em play over any time I wanted to listen. Do you know, that
has all been very sweet to me, my helping you and the memory of it,--so
vague and sweet."
"Aren't you afraid we're losing the others?"
She halted and looked back.
"No; I'm afraid we won't lose them; come on; you can't turn back now.
And you don't want to hear anything about mines; it wouldn't be at all
good for you, I'm sure. Quick, down this way, or you'll hear Pangburn
telling some one what a stope is, and think what a thing that would be
to carry in your head."
"Really, a stope sounds like something that would 'get you' in the
night! I'm afraid!"
Half in his spirit she fled with him down a dimly lighted incline where
men were working at the rocky wall with sledge and drill. There was
that in his manner which compelled her quite as literally as when at
their first meeting he had picked her up in his arms.
As they walked single-file through the narrowing of a drift, she
wondered about him. He was Western, plainly. An employee in the mine,
probably a manager or director or whatever it was they called those in
authority in mines. Plainly, too, he was a man of action and a man who
engaged all her instinctive liking. Something in him at once coerced
her friendliest confidence. These were the admissions she made to
herself. She divined him, moreover, to be a blend of boldness and
timidity. He was bold to the point of telling her things
unconventionally, of beguiling her into remote underground passages
away from the party; yet she understood; she knew at once that he was a
determined but unspoiled gentleman; that under no provocation could he
make a mistake. In any situation of loneliness she would have felt safe
with him--"as with a brother"--she thought. Then, feeling her cheeks
burn, she turned back and said:
"I must tell you he was my brother--that man--that night."
He was sorry and glad all at once. The sorrow being the lesser and more
conventional emotion, he started upon an awkward expression of it,
which she interrupted.
"Never mind saying that, thank you. Tell me something about yourself,
now. I really would like to know you. What do you see and hear and do
in this strange life?"
"There's not much variety," he answered, with a convincing droop of
depression. "For six months I've been seeing you and hearing
you--seeing you and hearing you; not much variety in that--nothing
worth telling you about."
Despite her natural caution, intensified by training, she felt herself
thrill to the very evident sincerity of his tones, so that she had to
affect mirth to seem at ease.
"Dear, dear, what painful monotony; and how many men have said it since
these rocks were made; and now you say it,--well, I admit--"
"But there's nothing new under the sun, you know."
"No; not even a new excuse for plagiarism, is there?"
"Well, you see as long as the same old thing keeps true the same old
way of telling it will be more or less depended upon. After a few
hundred years of experiment, you know, they hit on the fewest words
that tell the most, and everybody uses them because no one can improve
them. Maybe the prehistoric cave-gentleman, who proposed to his loved
one with a war club just back of her left ear, had some variation of
the formula suiting his simple needs, after he'd gotten her home and
brought her to and she said it was 'all so sudden;' and a man can work
in little variations of his own to-day. For example--"
"I'm sure we'd best be returning."
"For example, I could say, you know, that for keeping the mind active
and the heart working overtime the memory of you surpasses any tonic
advertised in the backs of the magazines. Or, that--"
"I think that's enough; I see you _could_ vary the formula, in case--"
"--_have_ varied it--but don't forget I prefer the original unvaried.
After all, there are certain things that you can't tell in too few
words. Now, you--"
"You stubborn person. Really, I know all about myself. I asked you to
tell me about yourself."
"And I began at once to tell you everything about myself--everything of
interest--which is yourself."
"I see your sense of values is gone, poor man. I shall question you.
Now you are a miner, and I like men of action, men who do things; I've
often wondered about you, and seriously, I'm glad to find you here
doing something. I remembered you kindly, with real gratitude, indeed.
You didn't seem like a New York man either, and I decided you weren't.
Honestly, I am glad to find you here at your work in your miner's
clothes. You mustn't think we forget how to value men that work."
On the point of saying thoughtlessly, "But I'm not working here--I own
the mine," he checked himself. Instead he began a defence of the man
who doesn't work, but who could if he had to. "For example," he
continued, "here we are at a place that you must be carried over;
otherwise you'd have to wade through a foot of water or go around that
long way we've come. I've rubber boots on, and so I pick you up this
way--" He held her lightly on his arm and she steadied herself with a
hand between his shoulders.
"And staggering painfully under my burden, I wade out to the middle of
this subterranean lake." He stopped.
"You see, I've learned to do things. I could pick you from that
slippery street and put you in your carriage, and I can pick you up now
without wasting words about it--"
"But you're wasting time--hurry, please--and, anyway, you're a miner
and used to such things."
He remained standing.
"But I'm _not_ wasting time, and I'm not a miner in the sense you mean.
I own this mine, and I suppose for the most part I'm the sort of man
you seem to have gotten tired of; the man who doesn't have to do
anything. Even now I'm this close to work only because my grandfather
wanted me to look over the properties my father left."
"But, hurry, please, and set me down."
"Not until I warn you that I'm just as apt to do things as the kind of
man you thought I was. This is twice I've picked you up now. Look out
for me;--next time I may not put you down at all."
She gave a low little laugh, denoting unruffled serenity. She was
glorying secretly in his strength, and she knew his boldness and
timidity were still justly balanced. And there was the rather
astonishing bit of news he had just given her. That needed a lot of
With slow, sure-footed steps he reached the farther side of the water
and put her on her feet.
"There, I thought I'd reveal the distressing truth about myself while I
had you at my mercy."
"I might have suspected, but I gave the name no thought. Bines, to be
sure. You are the son of the Bines who died some months ago. I heard
Mr. Shepler and my father talking about some of your mining properties.
Mr. Shepler thought the 'One Girl' was such a funny name for your
father to give a mine."
Now they neared the foot of the shaft where the rest of the party
seemed to await them. As they came up Percival felt himself raked by a
broadside from the maternal lorgnon that left him all but disabled. The
father glowered at him and asked questions in the high key we are apt
to adopt in addressing foreigners, in the instinctive fallacy that any
language can be understood by any one if it be spoken loudly enough.
The mother's manner was a crushing rebuke to the young man for his
audacity. The father's manner was meant to intimate that natives of the
region in which they were then adventuring were not worthy of rebuke,
save such general rebukes as may be conveyed by displaying one's
natural superiority of manner. The other members of the party,
excepting Shepler, who talked with Pangburn at a little distance, took
cue from the Milbreys and aggressively ignored the abductor of an only
daughter. They talked over, around, and through him, as only may those
mortals whom it hath pleased heaven to have born within certain areas
on Manhattan Island.
The young man felt like a social outcast until he caught a glance from
Miss Milbrey. That young woman was still friendly, which he could
understand, and highly amused, which he could not understand. While the
temperature was at its lowest the first load ascended, including Miss
Milbrey and her parents, a chatty blonde, and an uncomfortable little
man who, despite his being twelve hundred feet toward the centre
thereof, had three times referred bitterly to the fact that he was "out
of the world." "I shall see you soon above ground, shall I not?" Miss
Milbrey had asked, at which her mother shot Percival a parting volley
from her rapid-fire lorgnon, while her father turned upon him a back
whose sidelines were really admirable, considering his age and feeding
habits. The behaviour of these people appeared to intensify the
amusement of their child. The two solemn young men who remained
continued to chat before Percival as they would have chatted before the
valet of either. He began to sound the spiritual anguish of a pariah.
Also to feel truculent and, in his own phrase, "Westy." With him
"Westy" meant that you were as good as any one else "and a shade better
than a whole lot if it came to a show-down." He was not a little
mortified to find how easy it was for him to fall back upon that old
cushion of provincial arrogance. It was all right for Uncle Peter, but
for himself,--well, it proved that he was less finely Eastern than he
As the cage came down for another ascent, he let the two solemn young
men go up with Shepler and Pangburn, and went to search for Uncle
"There, thank God, is a man!" he reflected.
The Rapid-fire Lorgnon Is Spiked
He found Uncle Peter in the cross-cut, studying a bit of ore through a
glass, and they went back to ascend.
"Them folks," said the old man, "must be the kind that newspaper meant,
that had done something in practical achievement. I bet that girl's
mother will achieve something practical with you fur cuttin' the girl
out of the bunch; she was awful tormented; talked two or three times
about the people in the humbler walks of life bein' strangely something
or other. You ain't such a humble walker now, are you, son? But say,
that yellow-haired woman, she ain't a bit diffident, is she? She's a
very hearty lady, I _must_ say!"
"But did you see Miss Milbrey?"
"Oh, that's her name is it, the one that her mother was so worried
about and you? Yes, I saw her. Peart and cunnin', but a heap too wise
fur you, son; take my steer on that. Say, she'd have your pelt nailed
to the barn while you was wonderin' which way you'd jump."
"Oh, I know I'm only a tender, teething infant," the young man
answered, with masterly satire. "Well, now, as long's you got that bank
roll you jest look out fur cupboard love--the kind the old cat has when
she comes rubbin' up against your leg and purrin' like you was the
The young man smiled, as they went up, with youth's godlike faith in
its own sufficiency, albeit he smarted from the slights put upon him.
At the surface a pleasant shock was in store for him. There stood the
formidable Mrs. Milbrey beaming upon him. Behind her was Mr. Milbrey,
the pleasing model of all a city's refinements, awaiting the boon of a
hand-clasp. Behind these were the uncomfortable little man, the chatty
blonde, and the two solemn young men who had lately exhibited more
manner than manners. Percival felt they were all regarding him now with
affectionate concern. They pressed forward effusively.
"So good of you, Mr. Bines, to take an interest in us--my daughter has
been so anxious to see one of these fascinating mines." "Awfully
obliged, Mr. Bines." "Charmed, old man; deuced pally of you to stay by
us down in that hole, you know." "So clever of you to know where to
find the gold--"
He lost track of the speakers. Their speeches became one concerted
effusion of affability that was music to his ears.
Miss Milbrey was apart from the group. Having doffed the waterproofs,
she was now pluming herself with those fussy-looking but mysteriously
potent little pats which restore the attire and mind of women to their
normal perfection and serenity. Upon her face was still the amused look
Percival had noted below.
"And, Mr. Bines, do come in with that quaint old grandfather of yours
and lunch with us," urged Mrs. Milbrey, who had, as it were, spiked her
lorgnon. "Here's Mr. Shepler to second the invitation--and then we
shall chat about this very interesting West."
Miss Milbrey nodded encouragement, seeming to chuckle inwardly.
In the spacious dining compartment of the Shepler car the party was
presently at lunch.
"You seem so little like a Western man," Mrs. Milbrey confided
graciously to Percival on her right.
"We cal'late he'll fetch out all straight, though, in a year or so,"
put in Uncle Peter, from over his chop, with guileless intent to defend
his grandson from what he believed to be an attack. "Of course a young
man's bound to get some foolishness into him in an Eastern college like
this boy went to."
Percival had flushed at the compliment to himself; also at the old
man's failure to identify it as such.
Mr. Milbrey caressed his glass of claret with ardent eyes and took the
situation in hand with the easy confidence of a master.
"The West," said he, affably, "has sent us some magnificent men. In
truth, it's amazing to take count of the Western men among us in all
the professions. They are notable, perhaps I should say, less for
deliberate niceties of style than for a certain rough directness, but
so adaptable is the American character that one frequently does not
suspect their--er--humble origin."
"Meaning their Western origin?" inquired Shepler, blandly, with secret
intent to brew strife.
"Well--er--to be sure, my dear fellow, not necessarily humble,--of
course--perhaps I should have said--"
"Of course, not necessarily disgraceful, as you say, Milbrey,"
interrupted Shepler, "and they often do conceal it. Why, I know a chap
in New York who was positively never east of Kansas City until he was
twenty-five or so, and yet that fellow to-day"--he lowered his voice to
the pitch of impressiveness--"has over eighty pairs of trousers and
complains of the hardship every time he has to go to Boston."
"Fancy, now!" exclaimed Mrs. Drelmer, the blonde. Mr. Milbrey looked
slightly puzzled and Uncle Peter chuckled, affirming mentally that
Rulon Shepler must be like one of those tug-boats, with most of his
lines under the surface.
"But, I say, you know, Shepler," protested one of the solemn young men,
"he must still talk like a banjo."
"And gargle all his 'r's,'" added the other, very earnestly. "They
never get over that, you know."
"Instead of losin' 'em entirely," put in Uncle Peter, who found himself
feeling what his grandson called "Westy." "Of course, he calls it 'Ne'
Yawk,' and prob'ly he don't like it in Boston because they always call
"Good for the old boy!" thought Percival, and then, aloud: "It _is_
hard for the West and the East to forgive each other's dialects. The
inflated 'r' and the smothered 'r' never quite harmonise."
"Western money talks good straight New York talk," ventured Miss
Milbrey, with the air of one who had observed in her time.
Shepler grinned, and the parents of the young woman resisted with
indifferent success their twin impulses to frown.
"But the service is so wretched in the West," suggested Oldaker, the
carefully dressed little man with the tired, troubled eyes, whom the
world had been deprived of. "I fancy, now, there's not a good waiter
this side of New York."
"An American," said Percival, "never _can_ make a good waiter or a good
valet. It takes a Latin, or, still better, a Briton, to feel the
servility required for good service of that sort. An American, now,
always fails at it because he knows he is as good as you are, and he
knows that you know it, and you know that he knows you know it, and
there you are, two mirrors of American equality face to face and
reflecting each other endlessly, and neither is comfortable. The
American is as uncomfortable at having certain services performed for
him by another American as the other is in performing them. Give him a
Frenchman or an Italian or a fellow born within the sound of Bow Bells
to clean his boots and lay out his things and serve his dinner and he's
all right enough."
"Hear, hear!" cried Uncle Peter.
"Fancy, now," said Mrs. Drelmer, "a creature in a waiter's jacket
having emotions of that sort!"
"Our excellent country," said Mr. Milbrey, "is perhaps not yet what it
will be; there is undeniably a most distressing rawness where we might
expect finish. Now in Chicago," he continued in a tone suitably hushed
for the relation of occult phenomena, "we dined with a person who
served champagne with the oysters, soup, fish, and _entrée_, and for
the remainder of the dinner--you may credit me or not--he proffered a
claret of 1875--. I need hardly remind you, the most delicate vintage
of the latter half of the century--and it was served _frappé_." There
was genuine emotion in the speaker's voice.
"And papa nearly swooned when our host put cracked ice and two lumps of
sugar into his own glass--"
"_Avice, dear!_" remonstrated the father in a tone implying that some
things positively must not be mentioned at table.
"Well, you shouldn't expect too much of those self-made men in
Chicago," said Shepler.
"If they'd only make themselves as well as they make their sausages and
things," sighed Mr. Milbrey.
"And the self-made man _will_ talk shop," suggested Oldaker. "He thinks
you're dying to hear how he made the first thousand of himself."
"Still, those Chicago chaps learn quickly enough when they settle in
New York," ventured one of the young men.
"I knew a Chicago chap who lived East two years and went back not a
half bad sort," said the other. "God help him now, though; his father
made him go back to work in a butcher shop or something of the sort."
"Best thing I ever heard about Chicago," said Uncle Peter, "a man from
your town told me once he had to stay in Chicago a year, and, says he,
'I went out there a New Yorker, and I went home an American,' he says."
The old man completed this anecdote in tones that were slightly
"How extremely typical!" said Mrs. Milbrey. "Truly the West is the
place of unspoiled Americanism and the great unspent forces; you are
quite right, Mr. Bines."
"Think of all the unspent forces back in that silver mine," remarked
Miss Milbrey, with a patent effort to be significant.
"My perverse child delights to pose as a sordid young woman," the fond
mother explained to Percival, "yet no one can be less so, and you, Mr.
Bines, I am sure, would be the last to suspect her of it. I saw in you
at once those sterling qualities--"
"Isn't it dreadfully dark down in that sterling silver mine?" observed
Miss Milbrey, apropos of nothing, apparently, while her mother attacked
a second chop that she had meant not to touch.
"Here's hoping we'll soon be back in God's own country," said Oldaker,
raising his glass.
"Hear, hear!" cried Uncle Peter, and drained his glass eagerly as they
drank the toast. Whereat they all laughed and Mrs. Drelmer said, "What
a dear, lively wit, for an old gentleman."
"Oldaker," said Shepler, "has really been the worst sufferer. This is
his first trip West."
"Beg pardon, Shepler! I was West as far as Buffalo--let me see--in 1878
"Dear me! is that so?" queried Uncle Peter. "I got East as fur as
Cheyenne that same year. We nearly run into each other, didn't we?"
Shepler grinned again.
"Oldaker found a man from New York on the train the other day, up in
one of the emigrant cars. He was a truck driver, and he looked it and
talked it, but Oldaker stuck by him all the afternoon."
"Well, he'd left the old town three weeks after I had, and he'd been
born there the same year I was--in the Ninth ward--and he remembered as
well as I did the day Barnum's museum burned at Broadway and Ann. I
liked to hear him talk. Why, it was a treat just to hear him say
Broadway and Twenty-third Street, or Madison Square or City Hall Park.
The poor devil had consumption, too, and probably he'll never see them
again. I don't know if I shall ever have it, but I'd never leave the
old town as he was doing."
"That's like Billy Brue," said Uncle Peter. "Billy loves faro bank jest
as this gentleman loves New York. When he gets a roll he _has_ to play.
One time he landed in Pocatello when there wa'n't but one game in town.
Billy found it and started in. A friend saw him there and called him
out. 'Billy,' says he, 'cash in and come out; that's a brace game.'
'Sure?' says Billy. 'Sure,' says the feller. 'All right,' says Billy,
'much obliged fur puttin' me on.' And he started out lookin' fur
another game. About two hours later the feller saw Billy comin' out of
the same place and Billy owned up he'd gone back there and blowed in
every cent. 'Why, you geezer,' says his friend, 'didn't I put you on
that they was dealin' brace there?' 'Sure,' says Billy, 'sure you did.
But what could I do? It was the only game in town!'"
"That New York mania is the same sort," said Shepler, laughing, while
Mrs. Drelmer requested everybody to fancy immediately.
"Your grandfather is so dear and quaint," said Mrs. Milbrey; "you must
certainly bring him to New York with you, for of course a young man of
your capacity and graces will never be satisfied out of New York."
"Young men like yourself are assuredly needed there," remarked Mr.
"Surely they are," agreed Miss Milbrey, and yet with a manner that
seemed almost to annoy both parents. They were sparing no opportunity
to make the young man conscious of his real oneness with those about
him, and yet subtly to intimate that people of just the Milbreys'
perception were required to divine it at present. "These Westerners
fancy you one of themselves, I dare say," Mrs. Milbrey had said, and
the young man purred under the strokings. His fever for the East was
back upon him. His weeks with Uncle Peter going over the fields where
his father had prevailed had made him convalescent, but these New
Yorkers--the very manner and atmosphere of them--undid the work. He
envied them their easier speech, their matter-of-fact air of
omniscience, the elaborate and cultivated simplicity of their dress,
their sureness and sufficiency in all that they thought and said and
did. He was homesick again for the life he had glimpsed. The West was
rude, desolate, and depressing. Even Uncle Peter, whom he had come
warmly to admire, jarred upon him with his crudity and his Western
And there was the woman of the East, whose presence had made the day to
seem dream-like; and she was kind, which was more than he would have
dared to hope, and her people, after their first curious chill of
indifference, seemed actually to be courting him. She, the fleeting and
impalpable dream-love, whom the thought of seeing ever again had been
wildly absurd, was now a human creature with a local habitation, the
most beautiful name in the world, and two parents whose complaisance
was obvious even through the lover's timidity.
Up Skiplap Canon
The meal was ending in smoke, the women, excepting Miss Milbrey, having
lighted cigarettes with the men. The talk had grown less truculently
sectional. The Angstead twins told of their late fishing trip to Lake
St. John for salmon, of projected tours to British Columbia for
mountain sheep, and to Manitoba for elk and moose.
Mr. Milbrey described with minute and loving particularity the
preparation of _oeufs de Faisan, avec beurre au champagne._
Mrs. Milbrey related an anecdote of New York society, not much in
itself, but which permitted the disclosure that she habitually
addressed by their first names three of the foremost society leaders,
and that each of these personages adopted a like familiarity toward
Mrs. Drelmer declared that she meant to have Uncle Peter Bines at one
of her evenings the very first time he should come to New York, and
that, if he didn't let her know of his coming, she would be offended.
Oldaker related an incident of the ball given to the Prince of Wales,
travelling as Baron Renfrew, on the evening of October 12, 1860, in
which his father had figured briefly before the royal guest to the
abiding credit of American tact and gentility.
Shepler was amused until he became sleepy, whereupon he extended the
freedom of his castle to his guests, and retired to his stateroom.
Uncle Peter took a final shot at Oldaker. He was observed to be
laughing, and inquiry brought this:
"I jest couldn't help snickerin' over his idee of God's own country. He
thinks God's own country is a little strip of an island with a row of
well-fed folks up and down the middle, and a lot of hungry folks on
each side. Mebbe he's right. I'll be bound, it needs the love of God.
But if it is His own country, it don't make Him any connysoor of
countries with me. I'll tell you that."
Oldaker smiled at this assault, the well-bred, tolerant smile that
loyal New Yorkers reserve for all such barbaric belittling of their
empire. Then he politely asked Uncle Peter to show Mrs. Drelmer and
himself through the stamp mill.
At Percival's suggestion of a walk, Miss Milbrey was delighted.
After an inspection of the Bines car, in which Oldaker declared he
would be willing to live for ever, if it could be anchored firmly in
Madison Square, the party separated. Out into the clear air, already
cooling under the slanting rays of the sun, the young man and the girl
went together. Behind them lay the one street of the little mining
camp, with its wooden shanties on either side of the railroad track.
Down this street Uncle Peter had gone, leading his charges toward the
busy ant-hill on the mountainside. Ahead the track wound up the canon,
cunningly following the tortuous course of the little river to be sure
of practicable grades. On the farther side of the river a mountain road
paralleled the railway. Up this road the two went, followed by a
playful admonition from Mrs. Milbrey: "Remember, Mr. Bines, I place my
child in your keeping."
Percival waxed conscientious about his charge and insisted at once upon
being assured that Miss Milbrey would be warm enough with the scarlet
golf-cape about her shoulders; that she was used to walking long
distances; that her boots were stoutly soled; and that she didn't mind
the sun in their faces. The girl laughed at him.
Looking up the canon with its wooded sides, cool and green, they could
see a grey, dim mountain, with patches of snow near its top, in the far
distance, and ranges of lesser eminences stepping up to it. "It's a
hundred miles away," he told her.
Down the canon the little river flickered toward them, like a billowy
silver ribbon "trimmed with white chiffon around the rocks," declared
the girl. In the blue depths of the sky, an immense height above,
lolled an eagle, lazy of wing, in lordly indolence. The suggestions to
the eye were all of spacious distances and large masses--of the room
and stuff for unbounded action.
"Your West is the breathingest place," she said, as they crossed a
foot-bridge over the noisy little stream and turned up the road. "I
don't believe I ever drew a full breath until I came to these
"One _has_ to breathe more air here--there's less oxygen in it, and you
must breathe more to get your share, and so after awhile one becomes
robust. Your cheeks are already glowing, and we've hardly started.
There, now, there are your colours, see--"
Along the edge of the green pines and spruce were lavender asters. A
little way in the woods they could see the blue columbines and the
mountain phlox, pink and red.
"There are your eyes and your cheeks."
"What a dangerous character you'd be if you were sent to match silks!"
On the dry barren slopes of gravel across the river, full in the sun's
glare, grew the Spanish bayonet, with its spikes of creamy white
"There I am, more nearly," she pointed to them; "they're ever so much
nearer my disposition. But about this thin air; it must make men work
harder for what comes easier back in our country, so that they may
become able to do more--more capable. I am thinking of your
grandfather. You don't know how much I admire him. He is so stanch and
strong and fresh. There's more fire in him now than in my father or
Launton Oldaker, and I dare say he's a score of years older than either
of them. I don't think you quite appreciate what a great old fellow he
"I admire Uncle Peter much more, I'm sure, than he admires me. He's
afraid I'm not strong enough to admire that Eastern climate of
yours--social and moral."
"I suppose it's natural for you to wish to go. You'd be bored here,
would you not? You couldn't stay in these mountains and be such a man
as your grandfather. And yet there ought to be so much to do here; it's
all so fresh and roomy and jolly. Really I've grown enthusiastic about
"Ah, but think of what there is in the East--and you are there. To
think that for six months I've treasured every little memory of
you--such a funny little lot as they were--to think that this morning I
awoke thinking of you, yet hardly hoping ever to see you, and to think
that for half the night we had ridden so near each other in sleep, and
there was no sign or signal or good omen. And then to think you should
burst upon me like some new sunrise that the stupid astronomers hadn't
"You see," he went on, after a moment, "I don't ask what you think of
me. You couldn't think anything much as yet, but there's something
about this whole affair, our meeting and all, that makes me think it's
going to be symmetrical in the end. I know it won't end here. I'll tell
you one way Western men learn. They learn not to be afraid to want
things out of their reach, and they believe devoutly--because they've
proved it so often--that if you want a thing hard enough and keep
wanting it, nothing can keep it away from you."
A bell had been tinkling nearer and nearer on the road ahead. Now a
heavy wagon, filled with sacks of ore, came into view, drawn by four
mules. As they stood aside to let it pass he scanned her face for any
sign it might show, but he could see no more than a look of interest
for the brawny driver of the wagon, shouting musically to his straining
"You are rather inscrutable," he said, as they resumed the road.
She turned and smiled into his eyes with utter frankness.
"At least you must be sure that I like you; that I am very friendly;
that I want to know you better, and want you to know me better. You
don't know me at all, you know. You Westerners have another way, of
accepting people too readily. It may work no harm among yourselves, but
perhaps Easterners are a bit more perilous. Sometimes, now, a _very_
Eastern person doesn't even accept herself--himself--very trustingly;
she--he--finds it so hard to get acquainted with himself."
The young man provided one of those silences of which a few discerning
men are instinctively capable and for which women thank them.
"This road," she said, after a little time of rapid walking, "leads
right up to the end of the world, doesn't it? See, it ends squarely in
the sun." They stopped where the turn had opened to the west a long
vista of grey and purple hills far and high. They stood on a ridge of
broken quartz and gneiss, thrown up in a bygone age. To their left a
few dwarf Scotch firs threw shadows back toward the town. The ball of
red fire in the west was half below the rim of the distant peak.
"Stand so,"--she spoke in a slightly hushed tone that moved him a step