Part 5 out of 6
a time, she had never visited her.
"You'll like it, all of you," Charlie Sands said as we waited
for the baked apples. "Once get started with a good horse
between your knees, and--"
"I hope," Tish interrupted him, "that you do not think we are
going to ride astride!"
"I'm darned sure of it."
That was Charlie Sands's way of talking. He does not mean to be
rude, and he is really a young man of splendid character. But,
as Tish says, contact with the world, although it has not
spoiled him, has roughened his speech.
"You see," he explained, "there are places our there where the
horses have to climb like goats. It's only fair to them to
distribute your weight equally. A side saddle is likely to turn
and drop you a mile or two down a crack."
Aggie went rather white and sneezed violently.
But Tish looked thoughtful. "It sounds reasonable," she said.
"I've felt for along time that I'd be glad to discard skirts.
Skirts," she said, "are badge of servitude, survivals of the
harem, reminders of a time when nothing was expected of women
but parasitic leisure."
I tried to tell her that she was wrong about the skirts. Miss
MacGillicuddy, our missionary in India, had certainly said that
the women in harems wore bloomers. But Tish left the room
abruptly, returning shortly after with a volume of the
encyclopedia, and looked up the Rocky Mountains.
I remember it said that the highest ranges were, as compared
with the size and shape of the earth, only as the corrugations
on the skin of an orange. Either the man who wrote that had
never seen an orange or he had never seen the Rocky Mountains.
Orange, indeed! If he had said the upper end of a pineapple it
would have been more like it. I wish the man who wrote it would
go to Glacier Park. I am not a vindictive woman, but I know one
or two places where I would like to place him and make him
swallow that orange. I'd like to see him on a horse, on the
brink of a canon a mile deep, and have his horse reach over the
edge for a stray plant or two, or standing in a cloud up to his
waist, so that, as Aggie so plaintively observed, "The lower
half of one is in a snowstorm while the upper part is getting
For we went. Oh, yes, we went. It is not the encyclopaedia's
fault that we came back. But now that we are home, and nothing
wrong except a touch of lumbago that Tish got from sleeping on
the ground, and, of course, Aggie's unfortunate experience with
her teeth, I look back on our various adventures with pleasure.
I even contemplate a return next year, although Aggie says she
will die first. But even that is not to be taken as final. The
last time I went to see her, she had bought a revolver from the
janitor and was taking lessons in loading it.
The Ostermaiers went also. Not with us, however. The
congregation made up a purse for the purpose, and Tish and Aggie
and I went further, and purchased a cigar-case for Mr.
Ostermaier and a quantity of cigars. Smoking is the good man's
I must say, however, that it is absurd to hear Mrs. Ostermaier
boasting of the trip. To hear her talk, one would think they had
done the whole thing, instead of sitting in an automobile and
looking up at the mountains. I shall never forget the day they
were in a car passing along a road, and we crossed unexpectedly
ahead of them and went on straight up the side of a mountain.
Tish had a sombrero on the side of her head, and was resting
herself in the saddle by having her right leg thrown negligently
over the horse's neck. With the left foot she was kicking our
pack-horse, a creature so scarred with brands that Tish had
named her Jane, after a cousin of hers who had had so many
operations that Tish says she is now entirely unfurnished.
Mr. Ostermaier's face was terrible, and only two days ago Mrs.
Ostermaier came over to ask about putting an extra width in the
skirt to her last winter's suit. But it is my belief that she
came to save Tish's soul, and nothing else.
"I'm so glad wide skirts have come in," she said. "They're so
modest, aren't they, Miss Tish?"
"Not in a wind," Tish said, eying her coldly.
"I do think, dear Miss Tish," she went on with her eyes down,
"that to--to go about in riding-breeches before a young man is--
well, it is hardly discreet, is it?"
I saw Tish glancing about the room. She was pretty angry, and I
knew perfectly well what she wanted. I put my knitting-bag over
Charlie Sands's tobacco-pouch.
Tish had learned to roll cigarettes out in Glacier Park. Not
that she smoked them, of course, but she said she might as well
know how. There was no knowing when it would come in handy. And
when she wishes to calm herself she reaches instinctively for
what Bill used to call, strangely, "the makings."
"If," she said, her eye still roving,--"if it was any treat to a
twenty-four-year-old cowpuncher to see three elderly women in
riding-breeches, Mrs. Ostermaier,--and it's kind of you to think
so,--why, I'm not selfish."
Mrs. Ostermaier's face was terrible. She gathered up her skirt
and rose. "I shall not tell Mr. Ostermaier what you have just
said," she observed with her mouth set hard. "We owe you a great
deal, especially the return of my earrings. But I must request,
Miss Tish, that you do not voice such sentiments in the Sunday
Tish watched her out. Then she sat down and rolled eleven
cigarettes for Charlie Sands, one after the other. At last she
"I'm not sure," she said tartly, "that if I had it to do over
again I'd do it. That woman's not a Christian. I was thinking,"
she went on, "of giving them a part of the reward to go to
Asbury Park with. But she'd have to wear blinders on the bathing-
beach, so I'll not do it."
However, I am ahead of my recital.
For a few days Tish said nothing more, but one Sunday morning,
walking home from church, she turned to me suddenly and said:--
"Lizzie, you're fat."
"I'm as the Lord made me," I replied with some spirit.
"Fiddlesticks!" said Tish. "You're as your own sloth and
overindulgence has made you. Don't blame the Good Man for it."
Now, I am a peaceful woman, and Tish is as my own sister, and
indeed even more so. But I was roused to anger by her speech.
"I've been fleshy all my life," I said. "I'm no lazier than
most, and I'm a dratted sight more agreeable than some I know,
on account of having the ends of my nerves padded."
But she switched to another subject in her characteristic
"Have you ever reflected, either of you," she observed, "that we
know nothing of this great land of ours? That we sing of loving
'thy rocks and rills, thy woods and templed hills'--although the
word 'templed' savors of paganism and does not belong in a
national hymn? And that it is all balderdash?"
Aggie took exception to this and said that she loved her native
land, and had been south to Pinehurst and west to see her niece
in Minneapolis, on account of the baby having been named for
But Tish merely listened with a grim smile. "Travel from a car
window," she observed, "is no better than travel in a
nickelodeon. I have done all of that I am going to. I intend to
become acquainted with my native land, closely acquainted. State
by State I shall wander over it, refreshing soul and body and
using muscles too long unused."
"Tish!" Aggie quavered. "You are not going on another walking-
Only a year or two before Tish had read Stevenson's "Travels
with a Donkey," and had been possessed to follow his example. I
have elsewhere recorded the details of that terrible trip. Even
I turned pale, I fear, and cast a nervous eye toward the table
where Tish keeps her reading-matter.
Tish is imaginative, and is always influenced by the latest book
she has read. For instance, a volume on "Nursing at the Front"
almost sent her across to France, although she cannot make a bed
and never could, and turns pale at the sight of blood; and
another time a book on flying machines sent her up into the air,
mentally if not literally. I shall never forgo the time she
secured some literature on the Mormon Church, and the difficulty
I had in smuggling it out under my coat.
Tish did not refute the walking-tour at once, bud fell into a
It is not her custom to confide her plans to us until they are
fully shaped and too far on to be interfered with, which
accounts for our nervousness.
On arriving at her apartment, however, we found a map laid out
on the table and the Rocky Mountains marked with pins. We
noticed that whenever she straightened from the table she
"What we want," Tish said, "is isolation. No people. No crowds.
No servants. If I don't get away from Hannah soon I'll murder
"It wouldn't hurt to see somebody now and then, Tish," Aggie
"Nobody," Tish said firmly. "A good horse is companion enough."
She forgot herself and straightened completely, and she groaned.
"We might meet some desirable people, Tish," I put in firmly.
"If we do, I don't intend to run like rabbit."
"Desirable people!" Tish scoffed. "In the Rocky Mountains! My
dear Lizzie, every desperado in the country takes refuge in the
Rockies. Of course, if you want to take up with that class--"
Aggie sneezed and looked wretched. As for me, I made up my mind
then and there that if Letitia Carberry was going to such a
neighborhood, she was not going alone. I am not much with a
revolver, but mighty handy with a pair of lungs.
Well, Tish had it all worked out. "I've found the very place,"
she said. "In the first place, it's Government property. When
our country puts aside a part of itself as a public domain we
should show our appreciation. In the second place, it's wild.
I'd as soon spend a vacation in Central Park near the Zoo as in
the Yellowstone. In the third place, with an Indian reservation
on one side and a national forest on the other, it's bound to be
lonely. Any tourist," she said scornfully, "can go to the
Yosemite and be photographed under a redwood tree."
"Do the Indians stay on the reservation?" Aggie asked feebly.
"Probably not," Tish observed coldly. "Once for all, Aggie--if
you are going to run like a scared deer every time you see an
Indian or a bear, I wish you would go to Asbury Park."
She forgot herself then and sat down quickly, an action which
was followed by an agonized expression.
"Tish," I said sharply, "you have been riding a horse!
"Only in a cinder ring," she replied with unwonted docility.
"The teacher said I would be a trifle stiff."
"How long did you ride?"
"Not more than twenty minutes," she said. "The lesson was to be
an hour, but somebody put a nickel in a mechanical piano, and
the creature I was on started going sideways."
Well, she had fallen off and had to be taken home in a taxicab.
When Aggie heard it she simply took the pins out of the map and
stuck them in Tish's cushion. Her mouth was set tight.
"I didn't really fall," Tish said. "I sat down, and it was
cinders, and not hard. It has made my neck stiff, that's all."
"That's enough," said Aggie. "If I've got to seek pleasure by
ramming my spinal column up into my skull and crowding my
brains, I'll stay at home."
"You can't fall out of a Western saddle," Tish protested rather
bitterly. "And if I were you, Aggie, I wouldn't worry about
crowding my brains."
However, she probably regretted this speech, for she added more
gently: "A high altitude will help your hay fever, Aggie."
Aggie said with some bitterness that her hay fever did not need
to be helped. That, as far as she could see, it was strong and
flourishing. At that matters rested, except for a bit of
conversation just before we left. Aggie had put on her sweater
vest and her muffler and the jacket of her winter suit and was
getting into her fur coat, when Tish said: "Soft as mush, both
"If you think, Tish Carberry," I began, "that I--"
"Apple dumplings!" said Tish. "Sofa pillows! Jellyfish! Not a
muscle to divide between you!"
I drew on my woolen tights angrily.
"Elevators!" Tish went on scornfully. "Street cars and taxicabs!
No wonder your bodies are mere masses of protoplasm, or
cellulose, or whatever it is."
"Since when," said Aggie, "have you been walking to develop
yourself, Tish? I must say--"
Here anger brought on one of her sneezing attacks, and she was
unable to finish.
Tish stood before us oracularly. "After next September," she
said, "you will both scorn the sloth of civilization. You will
move about for the joy of moving about. You will have cast off
the shackles of the flesh and be born anew. That is, if a plan
of mine goes through. Lizzie, you will lose fifty pounds!"
Well, I didn't want to lose fifty pounds. After our summer in
the Maine woods I had gone back to find that my new tailor-made
coat, which had fitted me exactly, and being stiffened with
haircloth kept its shape off and looked as if I myself were
hanging to the hook, had caved in on me in several places. Just
as I had gone to the expense of having it taken in I began to
put on flesh again, and had to have it let out. Besides, no
woman over forty should ever reduce, at least not violently. She
wrinkles. My face that summer had fallen into accordion plaits,
and I had the curious feeling of having enough skin for two.
Aggie had suggested at that time that I have my cheeks filled
out with paraffin, which I believe cakes and gives the
appearance of youth. But Mrs. Ostermaier knew a woman who had
done so, and being hit on one side by a snowball, the padding
broke in half, one part moving up under her eye and the second
lodging at the angle of her jaw. She tried lying on a hot-water
bottle to melt the pieces and bring them together again, but
they did not remain fixed, having developed a wandering habit
and slipping unexpectedly now and then. Mrs. Ostermaier says it
is painful to watch her holding them in place when she yawns.
Strangely enough, however, a few weeks later Tish's enthusiasm
for the West had apparently vanished. When several weeks went by
and the atlas had disappeared from her table, and she had given
up vegetarianism for Swedish movements, we felt that we were to
have a quiet summer after all, and Aggie wrote to a hotel in
Asbury Park about rooms for July and August.
There was a real change in Tish. She stopped knitting abdominal
bands for the soldiers in Europe, for one thing, although she
had sent over almost a dozen very tasty ones. In the evenings,
when we dropped in to chat with her, she said very little and
invariably dozed in her chair.
On one such occasion, Aggie having inadvertently stepped on the
rocker of her chair while endeavoring by laying a hand on Tish's
brow to discover if she was feverish, the chair tilted back and
Tish wakened with a jerk.
She immediately fell to groaning and clasped her hands to the
small of her back, quite ignoring poor Aggie, whom the chair had
caught in the epigastric region, and who was compelled for some
time to struggle for breath.
"Jumping Jehoshaphat!" said Tish in an angry tone. It is rare
for Tish to use the name of a Biblical character in this way,
but she was clearly suffering. "What in the world are you doing,
"T-t-trying to breathe," poor Aggie replied.
"Then I wish," Tish said coldly, "that you would make the effort
some place else than on the rocker of my chair. You jarred me,
and I am in no state to be jarred."
But she refused to explain further, beyond saying, in reply to a
question of mine, that she was not feverish and that she had not
been asleep, having merely closed her eyes to rest them. Also
she affirmed that she was not taking riding-lessons. We both
noticed however, that she did not leave her chair during the
time we were there, and that she was sitting on the sofa cushion
I had made her for the previous Christmas, and on which I had
embroidered the poet Moore's beautiful words: "Come, rest in
As Aggie was still feeling faint, I advised her to take a
mouthful of blackberry cordial, which Tish keeps for emergencies
in her bathroom closet. Immediately following her departure the
calm of the evening was broken by a loud shriek.
It appeared, on my rushing to the bathroom, while Tish sat
heartlessly still, that Aggie, not seeing a glass, had placed
the bottle to her lips and taken quite a large mouthful of
liniment, which in color resembled the cordial. I found her
sitting on the edge of the bathtub in a state of collapse.
"I'm poisoned!" she groaned. "Oh, Lizzie, I am not fit to die!"
I flew with the bottle to Tish, who was very calm and stealthily
rubbing one of her ankles.
"Do her good," Tish said. "Take some of the stiffness out of her
liver, for one thing. But you might keep an eye on her. It's
full of alcohol."
"What's the antidote?" I asked, hearing Aggie's low groans.
"The gold cure is the only thing I can think of at the moment,"
said Tish coldly, and started on the other ankle.
I merely record this incident to show the change in Tish. Aggie
was not seriously upset, although dizzy for an hour or so and
very talkative, especially about Mr. Wiggins.
Tish was changed. Her life, which mostly had been an open book
to us, became filled with mystery. There were whole days when
she was not to be located anywhere, and evenings, as I have
stated, when she dozed in her chair.
As usual when we are worried about Tish, we consulted her
nephew, Charlie Sands. But like all members of the masculine sex
he refused to be worried.
"She'll be all right," he observed. "She takes these spells. But
trust the old lady to come up smiling."
"It's either Christian Science or osteopathy," Aggie said
dolefully. "She's not herself. The fruit cake she sent me the
other day tasted very queer, and Hannah thinks she put ointment
in instead of butter."
"Ointments!" observed Charlie thoughtfully. "And salves! By
George, I wonder--I'll tell you," he said: "I'll keep an eye
open for a few days. The symptoms sound like--But never mind.
I'll let you know."
We were compelled to be satisfied with this, but for several
days we lingered in anxiety. During that painful interval
nothing occurred to enlighten us, except one conversation with
We had taken dinner with her, and she seemed to be all right
again and more than usually active. She had given up the Bran-
Nut after breaking a tooth on it, and was eating rare beef,
which she had heard was digested in the spleen or some such
place, thus resting the stomach for a time. She left us,
however, immediately after the meal, and Hannah, her maid,
tiptoed into the room.
"I'm that nervous I could scream," she said. "Do you know what
she's doing now?
"No, Hannah," I said with bitter sarcasm. "Long ago I learned
never to surmise what Miss Tish is doing."
"She's in the bathroom, standing on one foot and waving the
other in the air. She's been doing it," Hannah said, "for weeks.
First one foot, then the other. And that ain't all."
"You've been spying on Miss Tish," Aggie said. "Shame on you,
"I have, Miss Aggie. Spy I have and spy I will, while there's
breath in my body. Twenty years have I--Do you know what she
does when she come home from these sneakin' trips of hers? She
sits in a hot bath until the wonder is that her blood ain't
turned to water. And after that she uses liniment. Her
underclothes is that stained up with it that I'm ashamed to hang
Here Tish returned and, after a suspicious glance at Hannah, sat
down. Aggie and I glanced at each other. She did not, as she had
for some time past, line the chair with pillows, and there was
an air about her almost of triumph.
She did not, however, volunteer any explanation. Aggie and I
were driven to speculation, in which we indulged on our way
home, Aggie being my guest at the time, on account of her
janitor's children having measles, and Aggie never having had
them, although recalling a severe rash as a child, with other
"She has something in mind for next summer," said Aggie
apprehensively, "and she is preparing her strength for it. Tish
is forehanded if nothing else."
"Well," I remarked with some bitterness, "if we are going along
it might be well to prepare us too."
"Something," Aggie continued, "that requires landing on one foot
with the other in the air."
"Don't drivel," said I. "She's not likely going into the Russian
ballet. She's training her muscles, that's all."
But the mystery was solved the following morning when Charlie
Sands called me up.
"I've got it, beloved aunt," he said.
"Got what?" said I.
"What the old lady is up to. She's a wonder, and no mistake.
Only I think it was stingy of her not to let you and Aunt Aggie
He asked me to get Aggie and meet him at the office as soon as
possible, but he refused to explain further. And he continued to
refuse until we had arrived at our destination, a large brick
building in the center of the city.
"Now," he said, "take a long breath and go in. And mind--no
We went in. There was a band playing and people circling at a
mile a minute. In the center there was a cleared place, and Tish
was there on ice skates. An instructor had her by the arm, and
as we looked she waved him off, gave herself a shove forward
with one foot, and then, with her arms waving, she made a double
curve, first on one foot and then on the other.
"The outside edge, by George!" said Charlie Sands. "The old
Unluckily at that moment Tish saw us, and sat down violently on
the ice. And a quite nice-looking young man fell over her and
lay stunned for several seconds. We rushed round the arena,
expecting to see them both carried out, but Tish was uninjured,
and came skating toward us with her hands in her pockets. It was
the young man who had to be assisted out.
"Well," she said, fetching up against the railing with a bang,
"of course you had to come before I was ready for you! In a week
I'll really be skating."
We said nothing, but looked at her, and I am afraid our glances
showed disapproval, for she straightened her hat with a jerk.
"Well?" she said. "You're not tongue-tied all of a sudden, are
you? Can't a woman take a little exercise without her family and
friends coming snooping round and acting as if she'd broken the
"Breaking the Ten Commandments!" I said witheringly. "Breaking a
leg more likely. If you could have seen yourself, Tish Carberry,
sprawled on the at your age, and both your arteries and your
bones brittle, as the specialist told you,--and I heard him
myself,--you'd take those things off your feet and go home and
hide your head."
"I wish I had your breath, Lizzie," Tish said. "I'd be a
Saying which she skated off, and did not come near us again. A
young gentleman went up to her and asked her to skate, though I
doubt if she had ever seen him before. And as we left the
building in disapproval they were doing fancy turns in the
middle of the place, and a crowd was gathering round them.
Owing to considerable feeling being roused by the foregoing
incident, we did not see much of Tish for a week. If a middle-
aged woman wants to make a spectacle of herself, both Aggie and
I felt that she needed to be taught a lesson. Besides, we knew
Tish. With her, to conquer a thing is to lose interest.
On the anniversary of the day Aggie became engaged to Mr.
Wiggins, Tish asked us both to dinner, and we buried the
hatchet, or rather the skates. It was when dessert came that we
realized how everything that had occurred had been preparation
for the summer, and that we were not going to Asbury Park, after
"It's like this," said Tish. "Hannah, go out and close the door,
and don't stand listening. I have figured it all out," she said,
when Hannah had slammed out. "The muscles used in skating are
the ones used in mountain-climbing. Besides, there may be times
when a pair of skates would be handy going over the glaciers.
It's not called Glacier Park for nothing, I dare say. When we
went into the Maine woods we went unprepared. This time I intend
to be ready for any emergency."
But we gave her little encouragement. We would go along, and
told her so. But further than that I refused to prepare. I would
not skate, and said so.
"Very well, Lizzie," she said. "Don't blame me if you find
yourself unable to cope with mountain hardships. I merely felt
this way: if each of us could do one thing well it might be
helpful. There's always snow, and if Aggie would learn to use
snowshoes it might be valuable."
"Where could I practice?" Aggie demanded.
But Tish went on, ignoring Aggie's sarcastic tone. "And if you,
Lizzie, would learn to throw a lasso, or lariat,--I believe both
terms are correct,--it would be a great advantage, especially in
case of meeting ferocious animals. The park laws will not allow
us to kill them, and it would be mighty convenient, Lizzie. Not
to mention that it would be an accomplishment few women
I refused to make the attempt, although Tish sent for the
clothesline, and with the aid of the encyclopoedia made a loop
in the end of it. Finally she became interested herself, and
when we left rather downhearted at ten o'clock she had caught
the rocking- chair three times and broken the clock.
Aggie and I prepared with little enthusiasm, I must confess. We
had as much love for the rocks and rills of our great country as
Tish, but, as Aggie ob- served, there were rocks and rocks, and
one could love them without climbing up them or falling off
The only comfort we had was that Charlie Sands said that we
should ride ponies, and not horses. My niece's children have a
pony which is very gentle and not much larger than a dog, which
comes up on the porch for lumps of sugar. We were lured to a
false sense of security, I must say.
As far as we could see, Tish was making few preparations for the
trip. She said we could get everything we needed at the park
entrance, and that the riding was merely sitting in a saddle and
letting the pony do the rest. But on the 2lst of June, the
anniversary of the day Aggie was to have been married, we went
out to decorate Mr. Wiggins's last resting-place, and coming out
of the cemetery we met Tish.
She was on a horse, astride!
She was not alone. A gentleman was riding beside her, and he had
her horse by a long leather strap.
She pretended not to see us, and Aggie unfortunately waved her
red parasol at her. The result was most amazing. The beast she
was on jerked itself free in an instant, and with the same
movement, apparently, leaped the hedge beside the road. One
moment there was Tish, in a derby hat and breeches, and the next
moment there was only the gentleman, with his mouth open.
Aggie collapsed, moaning, in the road, and beyond the hedge we
could hear the horse leaping tombstones in the cemetery.
"Oh, Tish!" Aggie wailed.
I broke my way through the hedge to find what was left of her,
while the riding-master bolted for the gate. But to my intense
surprise Tish was not on the ground. Then I saw her. She was
still on the creature, and she was coming back along the road,
with her riding-hat on the back of her head and a gleam in her
eye that I knew well enough was a gleam of triumph.
She halted the thing beside me and looked down with a
"He's a trifle nervous this morning," she said calmly. "Hasn't
been worked enough. Good horse, though,--very neat jump."
Then she rode on and out through the gates, ignoring Aggie's
pitiful wail and scorning the leading-string the instructor
We reached Glacier Park without difficulty, although Tish
insisted on talking to the most ordinary people on the train,
and once, losing her, we found her in the drawing-room learning
to play bridge, although not a card-player, except for casino.
Though nothing has ever been said, I believe she learned when
too late that they were playing for money, as she borrowed ten
dollars from me late in the afternoon and was looking rather
"What do you think?" she said, while I was getting the money
from the safety pocket under my skirt. "The young man who
knocked me down on the ice that day is on the train. I've just
exchanged a few words with him. He was not much hurt, although
unconscious for a short time. His name is Bell--James C. Bell."
Soon after that Tish brought him to us, and we had a nice talk.
He said he had not been badly hurt on the ice, although he got a
cut on the forehead from Tish's skate, requiring two stitches.
After a time he and Aggie went out on the platform, only
returning when Aggie got a cinder in her eye.
"Just think," she said as he went for water to use in my eye-
cup, "he is going to meet the girl he is in love with out at the
park. She has been there for four weeks. They are engaged. He is
very much in love. He didn't talk of anything else."
She told him she had confided his tender secret to us, and
instead of looking conscious he seemed glad to have three people
instead of one to talk to about her.
"You see, it's like this," he said: "She is very good looking,
and in her town a moving-picture company has its studio. That
part's all right. I suppose we have to have movies. But the fool
of a director met her at a party, and said she would photograph
well and ought to be with them. He offered her a salary, and it
went to her head. She's young," he added, "and he said she could
be as great a hit as Mary Pickford."
"How sad!" said Aggie. "But of course she refused?"
"Well, no, she liked the idea. It got me worried. Worried her
people too. Her father's able to give her a good home, and I'm
expecting to take that job off his hands in about a year. But
girls are queer. She wanted to try it awfully."
It developed that he had gone to her folks about it, and they'd
offered her a vacation with some of her school friends in
"It's pretty wild out there," he went on, "and we felt that the
air, and horseback riding and everything, would make her forget
the movies. I hope so. She's there now. But she's had the bug
pretty hard. Got so she was always posing, without knowing it."
But he was hopeful that she would be cured, and said she was to
meet him at the station.
"She's an awfully nice girl, you understand," he finished. "It's
only that this thing got hold of her and needed driving out."
Well, we were watching when the train drew in at Glacier Park
Station, and she was there. She was a very pretty girl, and it
was quite touching to see him look at her. But Aggie observed
something and remarked on it.
"She's not as glad to see him as he is to see her," she said.
"He was going to kiss her, and she moved back."
In the crowd we lost sight of them, but that evening, sitting in
the lobby of the hotel, we saw Mr. Bell wandering round alone.
He looked depressed, and Aggie beckoned to him.
"How is everything?" she asked. "Is the cure working?"
He dropped into a chair and looked straight ahead.
"Not so you could notice it!" he said bitterly. "Would you
believe that there's a moving-picture outfit here, taking scenes
in the park"
"There is. They've taken two thousand feet of her already,
dressed like an Indian," he said in a tone of suppressed fury.
"It makes me sick. I dare say if we tied her in a well some fool
would lower a camera on a rope."
Just at that moment she sauntered past us with a reddish-haired
young man. Mr. Bell ignored her, although I saw her try to catch
"That's the moving-picture man with her," he said in a low,
violent tone when they had passed. "Name's Oliver." He groaned.
"He's told her she ought to go in for the business. She'd be a
second Mary Pickford! I'd like to kill him!" He rose savagely
and left us.
We spent the night in the hotel at the park entrance, and I
could not get to sleep. Tish was busy engaging a guide and going
over our supplies, and at eleven o'clock Aggie came into my room
and sat down on the bed.
"I can't sleep, Lizzie," she said. "That poor Mr. Bell is on my
mind. Besides, did you see those ferocious Indians hanging
Well, I had seen them, but said nothing.
"They would scalp one as quick as not," Aggie went on. "And
who's to know but that our guide will be in league with them?
I've lost my teeth," she said with a flash of spirit, "but so
far I've kept my hair, and mean to if possible. That old Indian
has a scalp tied to the end of a stick. Lizzie, I'm nervous."
"If it is only hair they want, I don't mind their taking my
switch," I observed, trying to be facetious, although uneasy. As
to the switch, it no longer matched my hair, and I would have
parted from it without a pang.
"And another thing," said Aggie: "Tish can talk about ponies
until she is black in the face. The creatures are horses. I've
Well, I knew that, too, by that time. As we walked to the hotel
from the train I had seen one of than carrying on. It was
arching its back like a cat that's just seen a strange dog, and
with every arch it swelled its stomach. At the third heave it
split the strap that held the saddle on, and then it kicked up
in the rear and sent saddle and rider over its head. So far as I
had seen, no casualty had resulted, but it had set me thinking.
Given a beast with an India-rubber spine and no sense of honor,
I felt I would be helpless.
Tish came in just then and we confronted her.
"Ponies!" I said bitterly. "They are horses, if I know a horse.
And, moreover, it's well enough for you, Tish Carberry, to talk
about gripping a horse with your knees. I'm not built that way,
and you know it. Besides, no knee grip will answer when a
creature begins to act like a cat in a fit."
Aggie here had a bright idea. She said that she had seen
pictures of pneumatic jackets to keep people from drowning, and
that Mr. McKee, a buyer at one of the stores at home, had taken
one, fully inflated, when he crossed to Paris for autumn suits.
"I would like to have one, Tish," she finished. "It would break
the force of a fall anyhow, even if it did puncture."
Tish, who was still dressed, went out to the curio shop in the
lobby, and returned with the sad news that there was nothing of
the sort on sale.
We were late in getting started the next morning owing partly to
Aggie's having put her riding-breeches on wrong, and being
unable to sit down when once in the saddle. But the main reason
was the guide we had engaged. Tish heard him using profane
language to one of the horses and dismissed him on the spot.
The man who was providing our horses and outfit, however,
understood, and in a short time returned with another man.
"I've got a good one for you now, Miss Carberry," he said. "Safe
and perfectly gentle, and as mild as milk. Only has one fault,
and maybe you won't mind that. He smokes considerably."
"I don't object, as long as it's in the open air," Tish said.
So that was arranged. But I must say that the new man did not
look mild. He had red hair, although a nice smile with a gold
tooth, and his trousers were of white fur, which looked hot for
"You are sure that you don't use strong language?" Tish asked.
"No, ma'am," he said. "I was raised strict, and very particular
as to swearing. Dear, dear now, would you look at that cinch!
Blow up their little tummies, they do, when they're cinched, and
when they breathe it out, the saddle's as loose as the tongues
of some of these here tourists."
Tish swung herself up without any trouble, but owing to a large
canvas bag on the back of my saddle I was unable to get my leg
across, and was compelled to have it worked over, a little at a
time. At last, however, we were ready. A white pack-horse,
carrying our tents and cooking-utensils, was led by Bill, which
proved to be the name of our cowboy guide.
Mr. Bell came to say good-bye and to wish us luck. But he looked
unhappy, and there was no sign whatever of the young lady, whose
name we had learned was Helen.
"I may see you on the trail," he said sadly. "I'm about sick of
this place, and I'm thinking of clearing out."
Aggie reminded him that faint heart never won fair lady, but he
only shook his head.
"I'm not so sure that I want to win," he said. "Marriage is a
serious business, and I don't know that I'd care to have a wife
that followed a camera like a street kid follows a brass band.
It wouldn't make for a quiet home."
We left him staring wistfully into the distance.
Tish sat in her saddle and surveyed the mountain peaks that rose
behind the hotel.
"Twenty centuries are looking down upon us!" she said. "The
crest of our native land lies before us. We will conquer those
beetling crags, or die trying. All right, Bill. Forward!"
Bill led off, followed by the pack-horse, then Tish, Aggie and
myself. We kept on in this order for some time, which gave me a
chance to observe Aggie carefully. I am not much of a horsewoman
myself, having never been on a horse before. But my father was
fond of riding, and I soon adapted myself to the horse's gait,
especially when walking. On level stretches, however, where Bill
spurred his horse to a trot, I was not so comfortable, and Aggie
appeared to strike the saddle in a different spot every time she
Once, on her turning her profile to me in a glance of despair, I
was struck by the strange and collapsed appearance of her face.
This was explained, however, when my horse caught up to hers on
a wider stretch of road, and I saw that she had taken out her
teeth and was holding them in her hand.
"Al-almost swallowed them," she gasped. "Oh, Lizzie, to think of
a summer of this!"
At last we left the road and turned onto a footpath, which
instantly commenced to rise. Tish called back something about
the beauties of nature and riding over a carpet of flowers, but
my horse was fording a small stream at the time and I was too
occupied to reply. The path--or trail, which is what Bill called
it--grew more steep, and I let go of the lines and held to the
horn of my saddle. The horses were climbing like goats.
"Tish," Aggie called desperately, "I can't stand this. I'm going
Fortunately Tish did not hear this. We had suddenly emerged on
the brink of a precipice. A two-foot path clung to the cliff,
and along the very edge of this the horses walked, looking down
in an interested manner now and then. My blood turned to water
and I closed my eyes.
"Tish!" Aggie shrieked.
But the only effect of this was to start her horse into a trot.
I had closed my eyes, but I opened them in time to see Aggie
give a wild clutch and a low moan.
In a few moments the trail left the edge, and Aggie turned in
her saddle and looked back at me.
"I lost my lower set back there," she said. "They went over the
edge. I suppose they're falling yet."
"It's a good thing it wasn't the upper set," I said, to comfort
her. "As far as appearance goes--"
"Appearance!" she said bitterly. "Do you suppose we'll meet
anybody but desperadoes and Indians in a place like this? And
not an egg with us, of course."
The eggs referred to her diet, as at different times, when
having her teeth repaired, she can eat little else.
"Ham," she called back in a surly tone, "and hard tack, I
suppose! I'll starve, Lizzie, that's all. If only we had brought
some junket tablets!"
With the exception of this incident the morning was quiet. Tish
and Bill talked prohibition, which he believed in, and the tin
pans on the pack-horse clattered, and we got higher all the
time, and rode through waterfalls and along the edge of death.
By noon I did not much care if the horses fell over or not. The
skin was off me in a number of places, and my horse did not like
me, and showed it by nipping back at my leg here and there.
At eleven o'clock, riding through a valley on a trail six inches
wide, Bill's horse stepped on a hornets' nest. The insects were
probably dazed at first, but by the time Tish's horse arrived
they were prepared, and the next thing we knew Tish's horse was
flying up the mountain-side as if it had gone crazy, and Bill
was shouting to us to stop.
The last we saw of Tish for some time was her horse leaping a
mountain stream, and jumping like a kangaroo, and Bill was
"She'll be killed!" Aggie cried. "Oh, Tish, Tish!"
"Don't yell," I said. "You'll start the horses. And for Heaven's
sake, Aggie," I added grimly, "remember that this is a pleasure
It was a half-hour before Tish and Bill returned. Tish was a
chastened woman. She said little or nothing, but borrowed some
ointment from me for her face, where the branches of trees had
scraped it, while Bill led the horses round the fatal spot. I
recall, however, that she said she wished now that we had
brought the other guide.
"Because I feel," she observed, "that a little strong language
would be a relief."
We had luncheon at noon in a sylvan glade, and Aggie was
pathetic. She dipped a cracker in a cup of tea, and sat off by
herself under a tree. Tish, however, had recovered her spirits.
"Throw out your chests, and breathe deep of this pure air
unsullied by civilization," she cried. "Aggie, fill yourself
"Humph!" said Aggie. "It's about all I will fill myself with."
"Think," Tish observed, "of the fools and dolts who are living
under roofs, struggling, contending. plotting, while all Nature
"With stings," Aggie said nastily, "and teeth, and horns, and
claws, and every old thing! Tish, I want to go back. I'm not
happy, and I don't enjoy scenery when I'm not happy. Besides, I
can't eat the landscape."
As I look back, I believe it would have been better if we had
returned. I think of that day, some time later, when we made the
long descent from the Piegan Pass under such extraordinary
circumstances, and I realize that, although worse for our
bodies, which had grown strong and agile, so that I have, later
on, seen Aggie mount her horse on a run, it would have been
better for our nerves had we returned.
We were all perfectly stiff after luncheon, and Aggie was
sulking also. Bill was compelled to lift us into our saddles,
and again we started up and up. The trail was now what he called
a "switchback." Halfway up Aggie refused to go farther, but on
looking back decided not to return either.
"I shall not go another step," she called. "Here I am, and here
I stay till I die."
"Very well," Tish said from overhead. "I suppose you don't
expect us all to stay and die with you. I'll tell your niece
when I see her."
Aggie thought better of it, however, and followed on, with her
eyes closed and her lips moving in prayer. She happened to open
them at a bad place, although safe enough, according to Bill,
and nothing to what we were coming to a few days later. Opening
them as she did on a ledge of rock which sloped steeply for what
appeared to be several miles down on each side, she uttered a
piercing shriek, followed by a sneeze. As before, her horse
started to run, and Aggie is, I believe Bill said, the only
person in the world who ever took that place at a canter.
We were to take things easy the first day, Bill advised. "Till
you get your muscles sort of eased up, ladies," he said. "If you
haven't been riding astride, a horse's back seems as wide as the
roof of a church. But we'll get a rest now. The rest of the way
"I can't walk," Aggie said. "I can't get my knees together."
"Sorry, ma'am," said Bill. "We're going down now, and the
animals has to be led. That's one of the diversions of a trip
like this. First you ride and than you walk. And then you ride
again. This here's one of the show places, although easy of
access from the entrance. Be a good place for a holdup, I've
"A holdup?" Tish asked. Her enthusiasm seemed to have flagged
somewhat, but at this she brightened up.
"Yes'm. You see, we're near the Canadian border, and it would be
easy for a gang to slip over and back again. Don't know why
we've never had one. Yellowstone can boast of a number."
I observed tartly that I considered it nothing to boast of, but
Bill did not agree with me.
"It doesn't hurt a neighborhood none," he observed. "Adds
romance, as you might say."
He went on and, happening to slide on a piece of shale at that
moment, I sat down unexpectedly and the horse put its foot on
I felt embittered and helpless, but the others kept on.
"Very well," I said, "go on. Don't mind me. If this creature
wants to sit in my lap, well and good. I expect it's tired."
But as they went on callously, I was obliged to shove the
creature off and to hobble on. Bill was still babbling about
holdups, and Aggie was saying that he was sunstruck, but of
course it did not matter.
We made very slow progress, owing to taking frequent rests, and
late in the afternoon we were overtaken by Mr. Bell, on foot and
carrying a pack. He would have passed on without stopping, but
Aggie hailed him.
"Not going to hike, are you?" she said pleasantly. Aggie is fond
of picking up the vernacular of a region.
"No," he said in a surly tone quite unlike his former urbane
manner, "I'm merely taking this pack out for a walk."
But he stopped and mopped his face.
"To tell you the truth, ladies," he said, "I'm working off a
little steam, that's all. I was afraid, if I stayed round the
hotel, I'd do something I'd be sorry for. There are times when I
am not a fit companion for any one, and this is one of them."
We invited him to join us, but he refused.
"No, I'm better alone," he said. "When things get too strong for
me on the trail I can sling things about. I've been throwing
boulders down the mountain every now and then. I'd just as soon
they hit somebody as not. Also," he added, "I'm safer away from
any red-headed men."
We saw him glance at Bill, and understood. Mr. Oliver was red-
"Love's an awful thing," said Bill as the young man went on,
kicking stones out of his way. "I'm glad I ain't got it."
Tish turned and eyed him. "True love is a very beautiful thing,"
she rebuked him. "Although a single woman myself, I believe in
it. 'Come live with me and be my love,'" she quoted, sitting
down to shake a stone out of her riding-boot.
Bill looked startled. "I might say," he said hastily. that I may
have misled you, ladies. I'm married."
"You said you had never been in love," Tish said sharply.
"Well, not to say real love," he replied. "She was the cook of
an outfit I was with and it just came about natural. She was
going to leave, which meant that I'd have to do the cooking,
which I ain't much at, especially pastry. So I married her."
Tish gave him a scornful glance but said nothing and we went on.
We camped late that afternoon beside Two Medicine Lake, and
while Bill put up the tents the three of us sat on a log and
soaked our aching feet in the water which was melted glacier,
and naturally cold.
What was our surprise, on turning somewhat, to see the angry
lover fishing on a point near by. While we stared he pulled out
a large trout, and stalked away without a glance in our
direction. As Tish, with her usual forethought, had brought a
trout rod, she hastily procured it, but without result.
"Of course," Aggie said, "no fish! I could eat a piece of
broiled fish. I dare say I shall be skin and bone at the end of
this trip- -and not much skin."
Bill had set up the sleeping-tent and built a fire, and it
looked cozy and comfortable. But Tish had the young man on her
mind, and after supper she put on a skirt which she had brought
along and went to see him.
"I'd take him some supper, Bill," she said, "but you are
correct: you are no cook."
She disappeared among the bushes, only to return in a short
time, jerking off her skirt as she came.
"He says all he wants is to be let alone," she said briefly. "I
must say I'm disappointed in him. He was very agreeable before."
I pass without comment over the night. Bill had put up the tent
over the root of a large tree, and we disposed ourselves about
it as well as we could. In the course of the night one of the
horses broke loose and put its head inside the tent. Owing to
Aggie's thinking it was a bear, Tish shot at it, fortunately
But the frightened animal ran away, and Bill was until noon the
next day finding it. We cooked our own breakfast, and Tish made
some gems, having brought the pan along. But the morning
dragged, although the scenery was lovely.
At twelve Bill brought the horse back and came over to us.
"If you don't mind my saying it, Miss Carberry," he observed,
"you're a bit too ready with that gun. First thing you know
you'll put a hole through me, and then where will you be?"
"I've got along without men most of my life," Tish said sharply.
"I reckon we'd manage."
"Well," he said, "there's another angle to it. Where would I
"That's between you and your Creator," Tish retorted.
We went on again that afternoon, and climbed another precipice.
We saw no human being except a mountain goat, although Bill
claimed to have seen a bear. Tish was quite calm at all times,
and had got so that she could look down into eternity without a
shudder. But Aggie and I were still nervous, and at the steepest
places we got off and walked.
The unfortunate part was that the exercise and the mountain air
made Aggie hungry, and there was little that she could eat.
"If any one had told me a month ago," she said, mopping her
forehead, "that I would be scaling the peaks of my country on
crackers and tea, I wouldn't have believed it. I'm done out,
Lizzie. I can't climb another inch."
Bill was ahead with the pack horse, and Tish, overhearing her,
called back some advice.
"Take your horse's tail and let him pull you up, Aggie," she
said. "I've read it somewhere."
Aggie, although frequently complaining, always does as Tish
suggests. So she took the horse's tail. when a totally
unexpected thing happened. Docile as the creature generally was,
it objected at once, and kicked out with both rear feet. In a
moment, it seemed to me, Aggie was gone, and her horse was
moving on alone.
"Aggie!" I called in a panic.
Tish stopped, and we both looked about. Then we saw her, lying
on a ledge about ten feet below the trail. She was flat on her
back, and her riding-hat was gone. But she was uninjured,
although shaken, for as we looked she sat up, and an agonized
expression came over her face.
"Aggie!" I cried. "Is anything broken?"
"Damnation!" said Aggie in an awful voice. "The upper set is
I have set down exactly what Aggie said. I admit that the
provocation was great. But Tish was not one to make allowances,
and she turned and went on, leaving us alone. She is not without
feeling, however, for from the top of the pass she sent Bill
down with a rope, and we dragged poor Aggie to the trail again.
Her nerves were shaken and she was repentant also, for when she
found that her hat was gone she said nothing, although her eyes
took on a hunted look.
At the top of the pass Tish was sitting on a stone. She had
taken her mending-box from the saddle, where she always kept it
handy, and was drawing up a hole in her stocking. I observed to
her pleasantly that it was a sign of scandal to mend clothing
while still on, but she ignored me, although, as I reflected
bitterly, I had not been kicked over the cliff.
It was a subdued and speechless Aggie who followed us that
afternoon along the trail. As her hat was gone, I took the spare
dish towel and made a turban for her, with an end hanging down
to protect the back of her neck. But she expressed little
gratitude, beyond observing that as she was going over the edge
piecemeal, she'd better have done it all at once and be through
The afternoon wore away slowly. It seemed a long time until we
reached our camping-place, partly because, although a small
eater ordinarily, the air and exercise had made me feel
famished. But the disagreement between Tish and Aggie, owing to
the latter's unfortunate exclamation while kicked over the
cliff, made the time seem longer. There was not the usual
exchange of pleasant nothings between us.
But by six o'clock Tish was more amiable, having seen bear
scratches on trees near the camp, and anticipating the sight of
a bear. She mixed up a small cup cake while Bill was putting up
our tent, and then, taking her rod, proceeded to fish, while
Aggie and I searched for grasshoppers. These were few, owing to
the altitude, but we caught four, which we imprisoned in a match-
With them Tish caught four trout and, broiling them nicely, she
offered one to poor Aggie. It was a peace offering, and taken as
such, so that we were soon on our former agreeable footing, and
The next day it rained, and we were obliged to sit in the tent.
Bill sat with us, and talked mainly of desperadoes.
"As I observed before," he said, "there hasn't been any tourist
holdup yet. But it's bound to come. Take the Yellowstone, now,--
one holdup a year's the average, and it's full of soldiers at
"It's a wonder people keep on going," I observed moving out of a
"Oh, I don't know," he said. "In one way it's good business. I
take it this way: When folks come West they want the West
they've read about. What do they care for irrigation and apple
orchards? What they like is danger and a little gunplay, the
sort of thing they see in these here moving pictures."
"I'm sure I don't," Aggie remarked. It was growing dusk, and she
peered out into the forest round us. "There is something
crackling out there now," she said.
"Only a bear, likely," Bill assured her. "We have a sight of
bears here. No, ma'am, they want danger. And every holdup's an
advertisement. You see, the Government can't advertise these
here parks; not the way it should, anyhow. But a holdup's news,
so the papers print it, and it sets people to thinking about the
park. Maybe they never thought of the place and are arranging to
go elsewhere. Then along comes a gang and raises h--, raises
trouble, and the park's in every one's mouth, so to speak. We'd
get considerable business if there was one this summer."
At that moment the crackling outside increased, and a shadowy
form emerged from the bushes. Even Bill stood up, and Aggie
It was, however, only poor Mr. Bell.
"Mind if I borrow some matches?" he said gruffly.
"We can't lend matches," Tish replied. "At least, I don't see
the use of sending them back after they've been lighted. We can
give you some."
"My mistake," he said.
That was all he said, except the word "Thanks" when I reached
him a box.
"He's a surly creature," Tish observed as he crackled through
the brush again. "More than likely that girl's better off
"He looks rather downhearted," Aggie remarked. "Much that we
think is temper is due to unhappiness."
"Much of your charitable view is due to a good dinner too," Tish
said. "Here we are, in the center of the wilderness, with great
peaks on every hand, and we meet a fellow creature who speaks
nine words, and begrudges those. If he's as stingy with money as
with language she's hard a narrow escape."
"He's had kind of a raw deal," Bill put in. "The girl was stuck
on him all right, until this moving-picture chap came along. He
offered to take some pictures with her in them, and it was all
off. They're making up a play now, and she's to be in it."
"What sort of a play?" Tish demanded.
"Sorry not to oblige," Bill replied. "Can't say the nature of
But all of us felt that Bill knew and would not say.
Tish, to whom a mystery is a personal affront, determined to
find out for herself; and when later in the evening we saw the
light of Bell's camp-fire, it was Tish herself who suggested
that we go over and visit with him.
"We can converse about various things," she said, "and take his
mind from his troubles. But it would be better not to mention
affairs of the heart. He's probably sensitive."
So we left Bill to look after things, and went to call on Mr.
Bell. It was farther to his camp than it had appeared, and Tish
unfortunately ran into a tree and bruised her nose badly. When
it had stopped bleeding, however, we went on, and at last
He was sitting on a log by the fire, smoking a pipe and looking
very sad. Behind him was a bit of a tent not much larger than an
Aggie touched my arm. "My heart aches for him," she said. "There
is despair in his very eyes."
I do not believe that at first he was very glad to see us, but
he softened somewhat when Tish held out the cake she had
"That's very nice of you," he said, rising. "I'm afraid I can't
ask you to sit down. The ground's wet and there is only this
"I've sat on logs before," Tish replied. "We thought we'd call,
seeing we are neighbors. As the first comers it was our place to
call first, of course."
"I see," he said, and poked up the fire with a piece of stick.
"We felt that you might be lonely," said Aggie.
"I came here to be lonely," he replied gloomily. "I want to be
Tish, however, was determined to be cheerful, and asked him, as
a safe subject, how he felt about the war.
"War?" he said. "That's so, there is a war. To tell the truth, I
had forgotten about it. I've been thinking of other things."
We saw that it was going to be difficult to cheer him. Tish
tried the weather, which brought us nowhere, as he merely
grunted. But Aggie broached the subject of desperadoes, and he
"There are plenty of shady characters in the park," he said
shortly. "Wolves in sheep's clothing, that's what they are."
"Bill, our guide, says there may be a holdup at any time."
"Sure there is," he said calmly. "There's one going to be pulled
off in the next day or two."
We sat petrified, and Aggie's eyes were starting out of her
"All the trimmings," he went on, staring at the fire. "Innocent
and unsuspecting tourists, lunch, laughter, boiled coffee, and
cold ham. Ambush. The whole business--followed by highwaymen in
flannel shirts and revolvers. Dead tourist or two, desperate
Aggie rose, pale as an aspen. "You--you are joking!" she cried.
"Do I look like it?" he demanded fiercely. "I tell you there is
going to be the whole thing. At the end the lovely girl will
escape on horseback and ride madly for aid. She will meet the
sheriff and a posse, who are out for a picnic or some such
damfool nonsense, and--"
"Young man," Tish said coldly, "if you know all this, why are
you sitting here and not alarming the authorities?"
"Pooh!" he said disagreeably. "It's a put-up scheme, to
advertise the park. Yellowstone's got ahead of them this year,
and has had its excitement, with all the papers ringing with it.
That was a gag, too, probably."
"Do you mean--"
"I mean considerable," he said. "That red- headed movie idiot
will be on a rise, taking the tourists as they ride through. Of
course he doesn't expect the holdup--not in the papers anyhow.
He happens to have the camera trained on the party, and gets it
all. Result--a whacking good picture, revolvers firing blank
cartridges, everything which people will crowd to see. Oh, it's
good business all right. I don't mind admitting that."
Tish's face expressed the greatest rage. She rose, drawing
herself to her full height.
"And the tourists?" she demanded. "They lend themselves to this
imposition? To this infamy? To this turpitude? "
"Certainly not. They think it's the real thing. The whole
business hangs on that. And as the sheriff, or whoever it is in
the fool plot, captures the bandits, the party gets its money
back, and has material for conversation for the next twenty
"To think," said Tish, "of our great National Government lending
itself to such a scheme!"
"Wrong," said the young man. "It's a combination of Western
railroads and a movie concern acting together."
"I trust," Tish observed, setting her lips firmly, "that the
tourists will protest."
"The more noise, the better." The young man, though not more
cheerful as to appearance, was certainly more talkative. "Trust
a clergyman for yelling when his pocket's picked."
With one voice the three of us exclaimed: "Mr. Ostermaier!"
He was not sure of the name, but "Helen" had pointed the
clergyman out to him, and it was Mr. Ostermaier without a doubt.
We talked it over with Bill when we got back, and he was not as
surprised as we'd expected.
"Knew they were cooking up something. They've got some Indians
in it too. Saw them rehearsing old Thunder Mountain the other
day in nothing but a breech-clout."
Tish reproved him for a lack of delicacy of speech, and shortly
afterward we went to bed. Owing to the root under the tent, and
puddles here and there, we could not go to sleep for a time, and
we discussed the "nefarious deed," as Tish aptly termed it, that
was about to take place.
"Although," Tish observed, "Mr. Ostermaier has been receiving
for so many years that it might be a good thing, for his soul's
sake, to have him give up something, even if to bandits." I
dozed off after a time, but awakened to find
Tish sitting up, wide awake.
"I've been thinking that thing over, Lizzie," she said in a low
tone. "I believe it's our duty to interfere."
"Of course," I replied sarcastically; "and be shown all over the
country in the movies making fools of ourselves."
"Did you notice that that young man said they would be firing
Well, even a blank cartridge can be a dangerous thing. Then and
there I reminded her of my niece's boy, who was struck on the
Fourth of July by a wad from one, and had to be watched for
lockjaw for several weeks.
It was at that moment that we heard Bill, who had no tent, by
choice, and lay under a tree, give a loud whoop, followed by
what was unmistakably an oath.
"Bear!" he yelled. "Watch out, he's headed for the tent! It's a
Tish felt round wildly for her revolver, but it was gone! And
the bear was close by. We could hear it snuffing about, and to
add to the confusion Aggie wakened and commenced to sneeze with
"Bill!" Tish called. "I've lost my revolver!"
"I took it, Miss Carberry. But I've been lying in a puddle, and
it won't go off."
All hope seemed gone. The frail walls of our tent were no
protection whatever, and as we all knew, even a tree was no
refuge from a bear, which, as we had seen in the Zoological
Garden at home, can climb like a cat, only swifter. Besides,
none of us could climb a tree.
It was at that moment that Tish had one of those inspirations
that make her so dependable in emergencies. Feeling round in the
tent for a possible weapon, she touched a large ham, from which
we had broiled a few slices at supper. In her shadowy form there
was both purpose and high courage. With a single sweeping
gesture she flung the ham at the bear so accurately that we
heard the thud with which it struck.
"What the hell are you doing?" Bill called from a safe distance.
Even then we realized that his restraint of speech was a pose,
pure and simple. "If you make him angry he'll tear up the whole
But Tish did not deign to answer. The rain had ceased, and
suddenly the moon came out and illuminated the whole scene. We
saw the bear sniffing at the ham, which lay on the ground. Then
he picked it up in his jaws and stood looking about.
Tish said later that the moment his teeth were buried in the ham
she felt safe. I can still see the majestic movement with which
she walked out of the tent and waved her arms.
"Now, scat with you!" she said firmly. "Scat!"
He "scatted." Snarling through his nose, for fear of dropping
the ham, he turned and fled up the mountainside. In the open
space Tish stood the conqueror. She yawned and glanced about.
"Going to be a nice night, after all," she said. " Now, Bill,
bring me that revolver, and if I catch you meddling with it
again I'll put that pair of fur rugs you are so proud of in the
Bill, who was ignorant of the ham, emerged sheepishly into the
open. "Where the--where the dickens did you hit him, Miss Tish?"
"In the stomach," Tish replied tartly, and taking her revolver
went back to the tent.
All the next day Tish was quiet. She rode ahead, hardly noticing
the scenery, with her head dropped on her chest. At luncheon she
took a sardine sandwich and withdrew to a tree, underneath which
she sat, a lonely and brooding figure.
When luncheon was over and Aggie and I were washing the dishes
and hanging out the dish towels to dry on a bush, Tish
approached Bill, who was pouring water on the fire to extinguish
"Bill," she stated, "you came to us under false pretenses. You
swear, for one thing."
"Only under excitement, Miss Tish," he said. "And as far as that
goes, Miss Aggie herself said--"
"Also," Tish went on hastily, "you said you could cook. You
"Now, look here, Miss Tish," he said in a pleading tone, "I can
cook. I didn't claim to know the whole cookbook. I can make
coffee and fry bacon. How'd I know you ladies wanted pastry? As
for them canned salmon croquettes with white sauce, I reckon to
make them with a little showing, and--"
"Also," said Tish, cutting in sternly, "you took away my
revolver, and left us helpless last night, and in peril of wild
"Tourists ain't allowed to carry guns."
He attempted to look injured, but Tish ignored him.
"Therefore," she said, "if I am not to send you back--which I
have been considering all day, as I've put up a tent myself
before this, and you are only an extra mouth to feed, which, as
we are one ham short, is inconvenient--you will have to justify
my keeping you."
"If you will just show me once about them gems, Miss Tish--" he
But Tish cut him off. "No," she said firmly, "you are too casual
about cooking. And you are no dish-washer. Setting a plate in a
river and letting the current wash it may satisfy cow-punchers.
It doesn't go with me. The point is this: You know all about the
holdup that is going to take place. Don't lie. I know you know.
Now, you take us there and tell us all you know about it."
He scratched his head reflectively. "I'll tell you," he said.
"I'm a slow thinker. Give me about twenty minutes on it, will
you? It's a sort of secret, and there's different ways of
looking at it."
Tish took out her watch. "Twenty minutes," she said. "Start
He wandered off and rolled a cigarette. Later on, as I have
said, he showed Tish how to do it--not, of course, that she
meant to smoke, but Tish is fond of learning how to do things.
She got so she could roll them with one hand, and she does it
now in the winter evenings, instead of rolling paper spills as
formerly. When Charlie Sands comes, she always has a supply
ready for him, although occasionally somewhat dry from waiting
for a few weeks.
At the end of twenty minutes Tish snapped her watch shut.
"Time!" she called, and Bill came back.
"Well, I'll do it," he said. "I don't know as they'll put you in
the picture, but I'll see what I can do."
"Picture nothing!" Tish snapped. "You take us there and hide us.
That's the point. There must be caves round to put us in,
although I don't insist on a cave. They're damp usually."
Well, he looked puzzled, but he agreed. I caught Aggie's eye,
and we exchanged glances. There was trouble coming, and we knew
it. Our long experience with Tish had taught us not to ask
questions. "Ours but to do and die," as Aggie later said. But I
confess to a feeling of uneasiness during the remainder of that
We changed our course that afternoon, turning off at Saint
Mary's and spending the night near the Swiss Chalet at Going-to-
the-Sun. Aggie and I pleaded to spend the night in the chalet,
but Tish was adamant.
"When I am out camping, I camp," she said. "I can have a bed at
home, but I cannot sleep under the stars, on a bed of pine
needles, and be lured to rest by the murmur of a mountain
Well, we gave it up and went with her. I must say that the trip
had improved us already. Except when terrified or kicked by a
horse, Aggie was not sneezing at all, and I could now climb into
the saddle unassisted. My waistbands were much looser, too, and
during a short rest that afternoon I put a dart in my riding-
breeches, during the absence of Bill after the pack-horse, which
It was on that occasion that Tish told us as much of her plan as
she thought it wise for us to know.
"The holdup," she explained, "is to be the day after to-morrow
on the Piegan Pass. Bill says there is a level spot at the top
with rocks all about. That is the spot. The Ostermaiers and
their party leave the automobiles at Many Glaciers and take
horses to the pass. It will be worth coming clear to Montana to
see Mrs. Ostermaier on a horse."
"I still don't see," Aggie observed in a quavering voice, "what
we have to do with it."
"Naturally not," said Tish. "You'll know as soon as is good for
"I don't believe it will ever be good for me," said poor Aggie.
"It isn't good for anybody to be near a holdup. And I don't want
to be in a moving picture with no teeth. I'm not a vain woman,"
she said, "but I draw the line at that."
But Tish ignored her. "The only trouble," she said, "is having
one revolver. If we each had one--Lizzie, did you bring any
Well, I had, and said so, but that I needed it for postcards
when we struck a settlement.
Tish waved my objection aside. "I guess it can be managed," she
observed. "Bill has a knife. Yes, I think it can be done."
She and Bill engaged in an earnest conference that afternoon. At
first Bill objected. I could see him shaking his head. Then Tish
gave him something which Aggie said was money. I do not know.
She had been short of cash on the train, but she may have had
more in her trunk. Then I saw Bill start to laugh. He laughed
until he had to lean against a tree, although Tish was quite
stern and serious.
We reached Piegan Pass about three that afternoon, and having
inspected it and the Garden Wall, which is a mile or two high at
that point, we returned to a "bench" where there were some
trees, and dismounted.
Here, to our surprise, we found Mr. Bell again. As Tish
remarked, he was better at walking than at talking. He looked
surprised at seeing us, and was much more agreeable than before.
"I'm afraid I was pretty surly the other night," he said. "The
truth is, I was so blooming unhappy that I didn't give a damn
But when he saw that Bill was preparing to take the pack off the
horse he looked startled.
"I say," he said, "you don't mean to camp here, do you?"
"Such is my intention," Tish observed grimly.
"But look here. Just beyond, at the pass, is where the holdup is
to take place to-morrow."
"So I believe," said Tish. "What has that to do with us? What
are you going to do?"
"Oh, I'm going to hang round."
"Well, we intend to hang round also."
He stood by and watched our preparations for camp. Tish chose a
small grove for the tent, and then left us, clambering up the
mountain-side. She finally disappeared. Aggie mixed some muffins
for tea, and we invited the young man to join us. But he was
looking downhearted again and refused.
However, when she took them out of the portable oven, nicely
browned, and lifting the tops of each one dropped in a
teaspoonful of grape jelly, he changed his mind.
"I'll stay, if you don't mind," he said. "Maybe some decent food
will make me see things clearer."
When Tish descended at six o'clock, she looked depressed. "There
is no cave," she said, "although I lave gone where a mountain
goat would get dizzy. But I have found a good place to hide the
horses, where we can get them quickly when we need them."
Aggie was scooping the inside out of her muffin, being unable to
eat the crust, but she went quite pale.
"Tish," she said, "you have some desperate plan in view, and I
am not equal to it. I am worn with travel and soft food, and am
not as young as I once was."
"Desperate nothing!" said Tish, pouring condensed milk into her
tea. "I am going to teach a lot of idiots a lesson, that's all.
There should be one spot in America free from the advertising
man and his schemes, and this is going to be it. Commercialism,"
she went on, growing oratorical, "does not belong here among
these mighty mountains. Once let it start, and these towering
cliffs will be defaced with toothpowder and intoxicating-liquor
The young man knew the plans for the holdup even letter than
Bill. He was able to show us the exact spot which had been
selected, and to tell us the hour at which the Ostermaier party
was to cross the pass.
"They'll lunch on the pass," he said, "and, of course, they
suspect nothing. The young lady of whom I spoke to you will be
one of their party. She, however, knows what is coming, and is,
indeed, a party to it. The holdup will take place during
Here his voice broke, and he ate an entire muffin before he went
on: "The holdup will take place on the pass, the bandits having
been hidden on this 'bench' right here. Then the outlaws, having
robbed the tourists, will steal the young lady and escape down
the trail on the other side. The guide, who is in the plot, will
ride ahead in this direction and raise the alarm. You
understand," he added, "that as it's a put-up job, the tourists
will get all their stuff back. I don't know how that's to be
"But the girl?" Tish asked.
"She's to make her escape later," Mr. Bell said grimly, "and
will be photographed galloping down the trail, by another idiot
with a camera, who, of course, just happens to be on the spot.
She'll do it too," he added with a pathetic note of pride in his
voice. "She's got nerve enough for anything."
He drew a long breath, and Aggie poured him a third cup of tea.
"I dare say this will finish everything," he said dejectedly. "I
can't offer her any excitement like this. We live in a quiet
suburb, where nobody ever fires a revolver except on the Fourth
"What she needs," Tish said, bending forward, "is a lesson, Mr.
Bell--something to make her hate the very thought of a moving
picture and shudder at the sound of a shot."
"Exactly," said Mr. Bell. "I've thought of that. Something to
make her gun-shy and camera-shy. It's curious about her. In some
ways she's a timid girl. She's afraid of thunder, for one
Tish bent forward. "Do you know," she said, "the greatest weapon
in the world?"
"Weapon? Well, I don't know. These new German guns--"
"The greatest weapon in the world," Tish explained, "is
ridicule. Man is helpless against it. To be absurd is to be
lost. When the bandits take the money, where do they go?"
"Down the other side from the pass. A photographer will
photograph them there, making their escape with the loot."
"And the young lady?"
"I've told you that," he said bitterly. "She is to be captured
by the attacking party."
"They will all be armed?"
"Sure, with blanks. The Indians have guns and arrows, but the
arrows have rubber tips."
Tish rose majestically. "Mr. Bell," she said, "you may sleep to-
night the sleep of peace. When I undertake a thing, I carry it
through. My friends will agree with me. I never fail, when my
heart is set on it. By the day after to-morrow the young lady in
the case will hate the sight of a camera."
Although not disclosing her plan, she invited the young man to
join us. But his face fell and he shook his head.
Tish said that she did not expect to need him, but that, if the
time came, she would blow three times on a police whistle, which
she had, with her usual foresight, brought along. He agreed to
that, although looking rather surprised, and we parted from him.
"I would advise," Tish said as he moved away, "that you conceal
yourself in the valley below the pass on the other side."
He agreed to this, and we separated for the night. But long
after Aggie and I had composed ourselves to rest Tish sat on a
stone by the camp-fire and rolled cigarettes.
At last she came into the tent and wakened us by prodding us
with her foot.
"Get all the sleep you can," she said. "We'll leave here at dawn
to-morrow, and there'll be little rest for any of us to-morrow
At daylight next morning she roused us. She was dressed, except
that she wore her combing-jacket, and her hair was loose round
"Aggie, you make an omelet in a hurry, and, Lizzie, you will
have to get the horses."
"I'll do nothing of the sort," I said, sitting up on the ground.
"We've got a man here for that. Besides, I have to set the
"Very well," Tish replied, "we can stay here, I dare say. Bill's
busy at something I've set him to doing."
"Whose fault is it," I demanded, "that we are here in
'Greenland's Icy Mountains'? Not mine. Id never heard of the
dratted place. And those horses are five miles away by now, most
"Go and get a cup of tea. You'll have a little sense then," said
Tish, not unkindly. "And as for what Bill's doing, he's making
revolvers. Where's your writing ink?"
I had none! I realized it that moment. I had got it out at the
first camp to record in my diary the place, weather,
temperature, and my own pulse rate, which I had been advised to
watch, on account of the effect of altitude on the heart, and
had left the bottle sitting on a stone.
When I confessed this to Tish, she was unjustly angry and a
"It's what I deserve, most likely, for bringing long two
incompetents," was her brief remark. "Without ink we are
But she is a creature of resource, and a moment later she
emerged from the tent and called to Bill in a cheerful tone.
"No ink, Bill," she said, "but we've got black- berry cordial,
and by mixing it with a little soot we may be able to manage."
Aggie demurred loudly, as there are occasions when only a
mouthful of the cordial enables her to keep doing. But Tish was
firm. When I went to the fire, I found Bill busily carving
wooden revolvers, copying Tish's, which lay before him. He had
them done well enough, and could have gone for the horses as
easy as not, but he insisted on trimming them up. Mine, which I
still have, has a buffalo head carved on the handle, and Aggie's
has a wreath of leaves running round the barrel.
In spite of Aggie's wails Tish poured a large part of the
blackberry cordial into a biscuit pan, and put in a chip of
"It makes it red," she said doubtfully. "I never saw a red
"Seems like an awful waste," Bill said. But having now completed
the wreath he placed all three weapons --he had made one for
himself--in the pan. The last thing I saw, as I started for the
horses, was the three of them standing about, looking down, and
Aggie's face was full of misery.
I was gone for a half-hour. The horses had not wandered far, and
having mounted mine, although without a saddle, I copied as well
as I could the whoop Bill used to drive them in, and rounded
them up. When I returned, driving them before me, the pack was
ready, and on Tish's face was a look of intense satisfaction. I
soon perceived the reason.
Lying on a stone by the fire were three of the shiniest black
revolvers any one could want. I eyed Tish and she explained.
"Stove polish," she said. "Like a fool I'd forgot it. Gives a
true metallic luster, as it says on the box."
Tish is very particular about a stove, and even on our camping-
trips we keep the portable stove shining and clean.
"Does it come off?"
"Well, more or less," she admitted. "We can keep the box out and
renew when necessary. It is a great comfort," she added, "to
feel that we are all armed. We shall need weapons."
"In an emergency," I observed rather tartly, "I hope you will
not depend on us too much. While I don't know what you intend to
do, if it is anything desperate, just remember that the only way
Aggie or I can do any damage with these things is to thrust them
down somebody's throat and strangle him to death."
She ignored my remark, however, and soon we were on our horses
and moving along the trail toward the pass.
It will be unnecessary to remind those familiar with Glacier
Park of the trail which hugs the mountain above timber-line, and
extends toward the pass for a mile or so, in a long semicircle
which curves inward.
At the end it turns to the right and mounts to an acre or so of
level ground, with snow and rocks but no vegetation. This is the
Piegan Pass. Behind it is the Garden Wall, that stupendous mass
of granite rising to incredible heights. On the other side the
trail drops abruptly, by means of stepladders which I have
Tish now told us of her plan.
"The unfortunate part is," she said, "that the Ostermaiers will
not see us. I tried to arrange it so they could, but it was
impossible. We must content, ourselves with the knowledge of a
good deed done."
Her plan, in brief, was this: The sham attacking party was to
turn and ride away down the far side of the pass, up which the
Ostermaiers had come. They were, according to the young man, to
take the girl with them, with the idea of holding her for
ransom. She was to escape, however, while they were lunching in
some secluded fastness, and, riding back to the pass, was to
meet there a rescue party, which the Ostermaiers were to meet on
the way down to Gunsight Chalet.
Tish's idea was this: We would ride up while they were lunching,
pretend to think them real bandits, paying no attention to them
if they fired at us, as we knew they had only blank cartridges,
and, having taken them prisoners, make them walk in ignominy to
the nearest camp, some miles farther.
"Then," said Tish, "either they will confess the ruse, and the
country will ring with laughter, or they will have to submit to
arrest and much unpleasantness. It will be a severe lesson."
We reached the pass safely, and on the way down the other side
we passed Mr. Oliver, the moving-picture man, with his outfit on
a horse. He touched his hat politely and moved out on a ledge to
let us by.
"Mind if I take you as you go down the mountain?" he called.
"It's a bully place for a picture." He stared at Aggie, who was
muffled in a cape and had the dish towel round her head. "I'd
particularly like to get your Arab," he said. "The Far East and
the Far West, you know."
Aggie gave him a furious glance. "Arab nothing!" she snapped.
"If you can't tell a Christian lady from a heathen, on account
of her having lost her hat, them you belong in the dirty work
"Aggie, be quiet!" Tish said in an awful voice.
But wrath had made Aggie reckless. "'Dirty work' was what I
said," she repeated, staring at the young man.
"I beg your pardon. I'm sure I--"
"Don't think," Aggie went on, to Tish's fury, "that we don't
know a few things. We do."
"I see," he said slowly. "All right. Although I'd like to know--
"Good-morning," said Aggie, and kicked her horse to go on.
I shall never forget Tish's face. Round the next bend she got
off her horse and confronted Aggie.
"The older I get, Aggie Pilkington," she said, "the more I
realize that to take you anywhere means ruin. We are done now.
All our labor is for nothing. There will be no holdup, no
nothing. They are scared off."