Part 1 out of 6
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TO HIM THAT HATH
A NOVEL OF THE WEST OF TODAY
by RALPH CONNOR
I THE GAME
II THE COST OF SACRIFICE
III THE HEATHEN QUEST
V THE RECTORY
VI THE GRIEVANCE COMMITTEE
VII THE FOREMAN
VIII FREE SPEECH
IX THE DAY BEFORE
X THE NIGHT OF VICTORY
XI THE NEW MANAGER
XII LIGHT THAT IS DARKNESS
XIII THE STRIKE
XIV GATHERING CLOUDS
XV THE STORM
XVI A GALLANT FIGHT
XVII SHALL BE GIVEN
TO HIM THAT HATH
"Game! and Set. Six to two."
A ripple of cheers ran round the court, followed by a buzz of
The young men smiled at each other and at their friends on the side
lines and proceeded to change courts for the next set, pausing for
refreshments on the way.
"Much too lazy, Captain Jack. I am quite out of patience with
you," cried a young girl whose brown eyes were dancing with mock
Captain Jack turned with a slightly bored look on his thin dark
"Too lazy, Frances?" drawled he. "I believe you. But think of the
"You have humiliated me dreadfully," she said severely.
"Humiliated you? You shock me. But how, pray?" Captain Jack's
eyes opened wide.
"You, a Canadian, and our best player--at least, you used to be--to
allow yourself to be beaten by a--a--" she glanced at his opponent
with a defiant smile--"a foreigner."
"Oh! I say, Miss Frances," exclaimed that young man.
"A foreigner?" exclaimed Captain Jack. "Better not let Adrien hear
you." He turned toward a tall fair girl standing near.
"What's that?" said the girl. "Did I hear aright?"
"Well, he's not a Canadian, I mean," said Frances, sticking to her
guns. "Besides, I can't stand Adrien crowing over me. She is
already far too English, don-che-know. You have given her one more
occasion for triumph over us Colonials."
"Ah, this is serious," said Captain Jack. "But really it is too
hot you know for--what shall I say?--International complications."
"Jack, you are plain lazy," said Frances. "You know you are. You
don't deserve to win, but if you really would put your back into
"Oh, come, Frances. Why! You don't know that my cousin played for
his College at Oxford. And that is saying something," said Adrien.
"There you are, Jack! That's the sort of thing I have to live
with," said Frances. "She thinks that settles everything."
"Well, doesn't it rather?" smiled Adrien.
"Oh, Jack, if you have any regard for your country, not to say my
unworthy self, won't you humble her?" implored Frances. "If you
would only buck up!"
"He will need to, eh, Adrien?" said a young fellow standing near,
slowly sipping his drink.
"I think so. Indeed, I am quite sure of it," coolly replied the
girl addressed. "But I really think it is quite useless."
"Ha! Ha! Cheer up, Jack," laughed the young man, Stillwell by
"Really, old chap, I feel I must beat you this set," said Captain
Jack to the young Englishman. "My country's credit as well as my
own is at stake, you see."
"Both are fairly assured, I should say," said the Englishman.
"Not to-day," said Stillwell, with a suspicion of a polite sneer in
his voice. "My money says so."
"Canada vs. the Old Country!" cried a voice from the company.
"Now, Jack, Jack, remember," implored Frances.
"You have no mercy, Miss Frances, I see," said the Englishman,
looking straight into her eyes.
"Absolutely none," she replied, smiling saucily at him.
"Vae victis, eh, old chap?" said Sidney, as they sauntered off
together to their respective courts. "By the way, who is that
Stillwell chap?" he asked in a low voice of Captain Jack as they
moved away from the others. "Of any particular importance?"
"I think you've got him all right," replied Jack carelessly. The
"He somehow gets my goat," said Jack. The Englishman looked
"Rubs me the wrong way, you know."
"Oh, very good, very good. I must remember that."
"He rather fancies his own game, too," said Jack, "and he has come
on the last year or two. In more ways than one," he added as an
As they faced each other on the court it was Stillwell's voice that
"Now then, England!"
"Canada!" cried a girl's voice that was easily recognised as that
of Frances Amory.
"Thumbs down, eh, Maitland?" said the Englishman, waving a hand
toward his charming enemy.
Whatever the cause, whether from the spur supplied by the young
lady who had constituted herself his champion or from the sting
from the man for whom for reasons sufficient for himself he had
only feelings of hostility and dislike, the game put up by Captain
Jack was of quite a different brand from that he had previously
furnished. From the first service he took the offensive and
throughout played brilliant, aggressive, even smashing tennis, so
much so that his opponent appeared to be almost outclassed and at
the close the figures of the first set were exactly reversed,
standing six to two in Captain Jack's favour.
The warmth of the cheers that followed attested the popularity of
"My word, old chap, that is top-hole tennis," said the Englishman,
warmly congratulating him.
"Luck, old boy, brilliant luck!" said Captain Jack. "Couldn't do
it again for a bet."
"You must do it just once more," said Frances, coming to meet the
players. "Oh, you dear old thing. Come and be refreshed. Here is
the longest, coolest thing in drinks this Club affords. And one
for you, too," she added, turning to the Englishman. "You played a
"Did I not? I was at the top of my form," said the Englishman
gallantly. "But all in vain, as you see."
"Now for the final," cried Frances eagerly.
"Dear lady," said Captain Jack, affecting supreme exhaustion, "as
you are mighty, be merciful! Let it suffice that we appear to have
given you an exposition of fairly respectable tennis. I am quite
"A great win, Jack," said Adrien, offering her hand in
"All flukes count, eh, Maitland?" laughed Stillwell, unable in
spite of his laugh to keep the bite out of his voice.
"Fluke?" exclaimed the Englishman in a slow drawling voice. "I
call it ripping good tennis, if I am a judge."
A murmur of approval ran through the company, crowding about with
congratulations to both players.
"Oh, of course, of course," said Stillwell, noting the criticism of
his unsportsmanlike remark. "What I mean is, Maitland is clearly
out of condition. If he were not I wouldn't mind taking him on
myself," he added with another laugh.
"Now, do you mean?" said Captain Jack lazily.
"We will wait till the match is played out," said Stillwell with
easy confidence. "Some other day, when you are in shape, eh?" he
added, smiling at Maitland.
"Now if you like, or after the match, or any old time," said
Captain Jack, looking at Stillwell with hard grey, unsmiling eyes.
"I understand you have come up on your game during the war."
Stillwell's face burned a furious red at the little laugh that went
round among Captain Jack's friends.
"Frankly, I have had enough for to-day," said the Englishman to
"All right, old chap, if you don't really mind. Though I feel you
would certainly take the odd set."
"Not a bit of it, by Jove. I am quite satisfied to let it go at
that. We will have another go some time."
"Any time that suits you--to-morrow, eh?"
"To-morrow be it," said the Englishman.
"Now, then, Stillwell," said Captain Jack, with a curt nod at him.
"Whenever you are ready."
"Oh, come, Maitland. I was only joshing, you know. You don't want
to play with me to-day," said Stillwell, not relishing the look on
Maitland's face. "We can have a set any time."
"No!" said Maitland shortly. "It's now or never."
"Oh, all right," said Stillwell, with an uneasy laugh, going into
the Club house for his racquet.
The proposed match had brought a new atmosphere into the Club
house, an atmosphere of contest with all the fun left out.
"I don't like this at all," said a man with iron grey hair and
deeply tanned face.
"One can't well object, Russell," said a younger man, evidently a
friend of Stillwell's. "Maitland brought it on, and I hope he gets
mighty well trimmed. He is altogether too high and mighty these
"Oh, I don't agree with you at all," broke in Frances, in a voice
coldly proper. "You heard what Mr. Stillwell said?"
"Well, not exactly."
"Ah, I might have guessed you had not," answered the young lady,
Edwards looked foolishly round upon the circle of men who stood
grinning at him.
"Now will you be good?" said a youngster who had led the laugh at
"What the devil are you laughing at, Menzies?" he asked hotly.
"Why, don't you see the joke?" enquired Menzies innocently. "Well,
carry on! You will to-morrow."
Edwards growled out an oath and took himself off.
Meantime the match was making furious progress, with the fury, it
must be confessed, confined to one side only of the net. Captain
Jack was playing a driving, ruthless game, snatching and employing
without mercy every advantage that he could legitimately claim. He
delivered his service with deadly precision, following up at the
net with a smashing return, which left his opponent helpless. His
aggressive tactics gave his opponent almost no opportunity to
score, and he kept the pace going at the height of his speed. The
onlookers were divided in their sentiments. Stillwell had a strong
following of his own who expressed their feelings by their silence
at Jack's brilliant strokes and their loud approval of Stillwell's
good work when he gave them opportunity, while many of Maitland's
friends deprecated his tactics and more especially his spirit.
At whirlwind pace Captain Jack made the first three games a "love"
score, leaving his opponent dazed, bewildered with his smashing
play and blind with rage at his contemptuous bearing.
"I think I must go home, Frances," said Adrien to her friend, her
face pale, her head carried high.
Frances seized her by the arm and drew her to one side.
"Adrien, you must not go! You simply must not!" she said in a low
tense voice. "It will be misunderstood, and--"
"I am going, Frances," said her friend in a cold, clear voice. "I
have had enough tennis for this afternoon. Where is Sidney? Ah,
there he is across the court. No! Let me go, Frances!"
"You simply must not go like that in the middle of a game, Adrien.
Wait at least till this game is over," said her friend, clutching
hard at her arm.
"Very well. Let us go to Sidney," said Adrien.
Together they made their way round the court almost wholly
unobserved, so intent was the crowd upon the struggle going on
before them. As the game finished Adrien laid her hand upon her
"Haven't you had enough of this?" she said. Her voice carried
clear across the court.
"What d'ye say? By Jove, no!" said her cousin in a joyous voice.
"This is the most cheering thing I've seen for many moons, Adrien.
Eh, what? Oh, I beg pardon, are you seedy?" he added glancing at
her. "Oh, certainly, I'll come at once."
"Not at all. Don't think of it. I have a call to make on my way
home. Please don't come."
"But, Adrien, I say, this will be over now in a few minutes. Can't
you really wait?"
"No, I am not in the least interested in this--this kind of
tennis," she said in a bored voice.
Her tone, pitched rather higher than usual, carried to the ears of
the players who were changing ends at the moment. Both of the men
glanced at her. Stillwell's face showed swift gratitude. On
Jack's face the shadow darkened but except for a slight
straightening of the line of his lips he gave no sign.
"You are quite sure you don't care?" said Sidney. "You don't want
me? This really is great, you know."
"Not for worlds would I drag you away," said Adrien in a cool,
clear voice. "Frances will keep you company." She turned to her
friend. "Look after him, Frances," she said. "Good-bye. Dinner
at seven to-night, you know."
"Right-o!" said Sidney, raising his hat in farewell. "By Jove, I
wouldn't miss this for millions," he continued, making room for
Frances beside him. "Your young friend is really somewhat violent
in his style, eh, what?"
"There are times when violence is the only possible thing," replied
"By the way, who is the victim? I mean, what is he exactly?"
"Mr. Stillwell? Oh, he is the son of his father, the biggest
merchant in Blackwater. Oh, lovely! Beautiful return! Jack is
simply away above his form! And something of a merchant and
financier on his own account, to be quite fair. Making money fast
and using it wisely. But I'm not going to talk about him. You see
a lot of him about the Rectory, don't you?"
"Well, something," replied Sidney. "I can't quite understand the
situation, I confess. To be quite frank, I don't cotton much to
him. A bit sweetish, eh, what?"
"Yes, at the Rectory doubtless. I would hardly attribute to him a
sweet disposition. Oh, quit talking about him. He had flat feet
in the war, I think it was. Jack's twin brother was killed, you
know--and mine--well, you know how mine is."
A swift vision of a bright-faced, cheery-voiced soldier, feeling
his way around a darkened room in the Amory home, leaped to
Sidney's mind and overwhelmed him with pity and self-reproach.
"Dear Miss Frances, will you forgive me? I hadn't quite got on to
the thing. I understand the game better now."
"Now, I don't want to poison your mind. I shouldn't have said
that--about the flat feet, I mean. He goes to the Rectory, you
know. I want to be fair--"
"Please don't worry. We know all about that sort at home," said
Sidney, touching her hand for a moment. "My word, that was a hot
one! The flat-footed Johnnie is obviously bewildered. The last
game was sheer massacre, eh, what?"
If Maitland was not in form there was no sign of it in his work on
the court. There was little of courtesy, less of fun and nothing
at all of mercy in his play. From first to last and without
reprieve he drove his game ruthlessly to a finish. So terrific, so
resistless were his attacks, so coldly relentless the spirit he
showed, ignoring utterly all attempts at friendly exchange of
courtesy, that the unhappy and enraged Stillwell, becoming utterly
demoralized, lost his nerve, lost his control and hopelessly lost
every chance he ever possessed of winning a single game of the set
which closed with the score six to nothing.
At the conclusion of the set Stillwell, with no pretense of
explanation or apology, left the courts to his enemy who stood
waiting his appearance in a silence so oppressive that it seemed
to rest like a pall upon the side lines. So overwhelming was
Stillwell's defeat, so humiliating his exhibition of total collapse
of morale that the company received the result with but slight
manifestation of feeling. Without any show of sympathy even his
friends slipped away, as if unwilling to add to his humiliation by
their commiseration. On the other side, the congratulations
offered Maitland were for the most part lacking in the spontaneity
that is supposed to be proper to such a smashing victory. Some of
his friends seemed to feel as if they had been called upon to
witness an unworthy thing. Not so, however, with either Frances
Amory or Sidney Templeton. Both greeted Captain Jack with
enthusiasm and warmth, openly and freely rejoicing in his victory.
"By Jove, Maitland, that was tremendous, appalling, eh, what?"
"I meant it to be so," said Maitland grimly, "else I should not
have played with him."
"It was coming to him," said Frances. "I am simply completely
"Can I give you a lift home, Frances?" said Maitland. "Let us get
away. You, too, Templeton," he added to Sidney, who was lingering
near the young lady in obvious unwillingness to leave her side.
"Oh, thanks! Sure you have room?" he said. "All right. You know
my cousin left me in your care."
"Oh, indeed! Well, come along then, since our hero is so good.
Really, I am uplifted to quite an unusual height of glorious
"Don't rub it in, Frank," said Jack gloomily. "I made an ass of
myself, I know quite well."
"What rot, Jack. Every one of your friends was tickled to death."
"Adrien, for instance, eh?" said Jack with a bitter little laugh,
taking his place at the wheel.
"Oh, Adrien!" replied Frances. "Well, you know Adrien! She is--
As he turned into the street there was a sound of rushing feet.
"Hello, Captain Jack! Oh, Captain Jack! Wait for me! You have
room, haven't you?"
A whirlwind of flashing legs and windblown masses of gold-red hair,
which realised itself into a young girl of about sixteen, bore down
on the car. It was Adrien's younger sister, Patricia, and at once
her pride and her terror.
"Why, Patsy, where on earth did you come from? Of course! Get in!
Glad to have you, old chap."
"Oh, Captain Jack, what a game! What a wonderful game! And Rupert
has been playing all summer and awfully well! And you have hardly
played a game! I was awfully pleased--"
"Were you? I'm not sure that I was," replied Captain Jack.
"Well, you WERE savage, you know. You looked as if you were in a
"Did I? That was very rotten of me, wasn't it?"
"Oh, I don't know exactly. But it was a wonderful game. Of
course, one doesn't play tennis like a fight, I suppose."
"No! You are quite right, Pat," replied Captain Jack. "You see,
I'm afraid I lost my temper a bit, which is horribly bad form I
know, and--well, I wanted to fight rather than play, and of course
one couldn't fight on the tennis court in the presence of a lot of
ladies, you see."
"Well, I'm glad you didn't fight, Captain Jack. You have had
enough of fighting, haven't you? And Rupert is really very nice,
you know. He has a wonderful car and he lets me drive it, and he
always brings a box of chocolates every time he comes."
"He must be perfectly lovely," said Captain Jack, with a grin at
The girl laughed a laugh of such infectious jollity that Captain
Jack was forced to join with her.
"That's one for you, Captain Jack," she cried. "I know I am a pig
where chocs are concerned, and I do love to drive a car. But,
really, Rupert is quite nice. He is so funny. He makes Mamma
laugh. Though he does tease me a lot."
Captain Jack drove on in silence for some moments.
"I was glad to see you playing though to-day, Captain Jack."
"Where were you? I didn't see you anywhere."
"Not likely!" She glanced behind her at the others in the back
seat. She need not have given them a thought, they were too deeply
engrossed to heed her. "Do you know where I was? In the crutch of
the big elm--you know!"
"Don't I!" said Captain Jack. "A splendid seat, but--"
"Wouldn't Adrien be shocked?" said the girl, with a deliciously
mischievous twinkle in her eye. "Or, at least, she would pretend
to be. Adrien thinks she must train me down a bit, you know. She
says I have most awful manners. She wants Mamma to send me over to
England to her school. But I don't want to go, you bet. Besides,
I don't think Dad can afford it so they can't send me. Anyway, I
could have good manners if I wanted to. I could act just like
Adrien if I wanted to--I mean, for a while. But that was a real
game. I felt sorry for Rupert, a little. You see, he didn't seem
to know what to do or how to begin. And you looked so terrible!
Now in the game with Cousin Sidney you were so different, and you
played so awfully well, too, but differently. Somehow, it was just
like gentlemen playing, you know--"
"You have hit it, Patsy,--a regular bull!" said Captain Jack.
"Oh, I don't mean--" began the girl in confusion, rare with her.
"Yes, you do, Pat. Stick to your guns."
"Well, I will. The first game everybody loved to watch. The
second game--somehow it made me wish Rupert had been a Hun. I'd
have loved it then."
"By Jove, Patsy, you're right on the target. You've scored again."
"Oh, I'm not saying just what I want--but I hope you know what I
"Your meaning hits me right in the eye. And you are quite right.
The tennis court is no place for a fight, eh? And, after all,
Rupert Stillwell is no Hun."
"But you haven't been playing this summer at all, Captain Jack,"
said the girl, changing the subject. "Why not?" The girl's tone
was quite severe. "And you don't do a lot of things you used to
do, and you don't go to places, and you are different." The blue
eyes earnestly searched his face.
"Am I different?" he asked slowly. "Well, everybody is different.
And then, you know, I am busy. A business man has his hours and he
must stick to them."
"Oh, I don't believe you a bit. You don't need to be down at the
mills all the time. Look at Rupert. He doesn't need to be at his
"He gets off whenever he wants to."
"Looks like it."
"And why can't you?"
"Well, you see, I am not Rupert," said Captain Jack, grinning at
"Now you are horrible. Why don't you do as you used to do? You
know you could if you wanted to."
"Yes, I suppose, if I wanted to," said Captain Jack, suddenly
"You don't want to," said the girl, quick to catch his mood.
"Well, you know, Patsy dear, things are different, and I suppose I
am too. I don't care much for a lot of things."
"You just look as if you didn't care for anything or anybody
sometimes, Captain Jack," said Patricia quietly. Then after a few
moments she burst forth: "Oh, don't you remember your hockey team?
Oh! oh! oh! I used to sit and just hold my heart from jumping. It
nearly used to choke me when you would tear down the ice with the
"That was long ago, Pat dear. I guess I was--ah--very young then,
"Yes, I know," nodded the girl. "I feel the same way--I was just a
"Ah, yes," said Captain Jack, with never a smile. "You were just--
let's see--twelve, was it?"
"Yes, twelve. And I felt just a kid."
"And now?" Captain Jack's voice was quite grave.
"Now? Well, I am not exactly a kid. At least, not the same kind
of kid. And, as you say, a lot of things are different. I think I
know how you feel. I was like that, too--after--after--Herbert--"
The girl paused, with her lips quivering. "It was all different--
so different. Everything we used to do, I didn't feel like doing.
And I suppose that's the way with you, Captain Jack, with Andy--and
then your Mother, too." She leaned close to him and put her hand
timidly on his arm.
Captain Jack, sitting up very straight and looking very grave, felt
the thrill of the timid touch run through his very heart. A rush
of warm, tender emotion such as he had not allowed himself for many
months suddenly surprised him, filling his eyes and choking his
throat. Since his return from the war he had without knowledge
been yearning for just such an understanding touch as this child
with her womanly instinct had given him. He withdrew one hand from
the wheel and took the warm clinging fingers tight in his and
waited in silence till he was sure of himself. He drove some
blocks before he was quite master of his voice. Then, releasing
the fingers, he turned his face toward the girl.
"You are a real pal, aren't you, Patsy old girl?" he said with a
very bright smile at her.
"I want to be! Oh, I would love to be!" she said, with a swift
intake of breath. "And after a while you will be just as you were
before you went away."
"Hardly, I fear, Patsy."
"Well, not the same, but different from what you are now. No, I
don't mean that a bit, Captain Jack. But perhaps you know--I do
want to see you on the ice again. Oh, it would be wonderful! Of
course, the old team wouldn't be there--Herbert and Phil and Andy.
Why! You are the only one left! And Rupert." She added the name
doubtfully. "It WOULD be different! oh, so different! Oh! I don't
wonder you don't care, Captain Jack. I won't wonder--" There was
a little choke in the young voice. "I see it now--"
"I think you understand, Patsy, and you are a little brick," said
Captain Jack in a low, hurried tone. "And I am going to try.
Anyway, whatever happens, we will be pals."
The girl caught his arm tight in her clasped hands and in a low
voice she said, "Always and always, Captain Jack, and evermore."
And till they drew up at the Rectory door no more was said.
Maitland drove homeward through the mellow autumn evening with a
warmer, kindlier glow in his heart than he had known through all
the dreary weeks that had followed his return from the war. For
the war had wrought desolation for him in a home once rich in the
things that make life worth while, by taking from it his mother,
whose rare soul qualities had won and held through her life the
love, the passionate, adoring love of her sons, and his twin
brother, the comrade, chum, friend of all his days, with whose life
his own had grown into a complete and ideal unity, deprived of whom
his life was left like a body from whose raw and quivering flesh
one-half had been torn away.
The war had left his life otherwise bruised and maimed in ways
known only to himself.
Returning thus from his soul-devastating experience of war to find
his life desolate and maimed in all that gave it value, he made the
appalling discovery that he was left almost alone of all whom he
had known and loved in past days. For of his close friends none
were left as before. For the most part they were lying on one or
other of the five battle fronts of the war. Others had found
service in other spheres. Only one was still in his home town,
poor old Phil Amory, Frances' brother, half-blind in his darkened
room, but to bring anything of his own heart burden to that brave
soul seemed sacrilege or worse. True enough, he was passing
through the new and thrilling experience of making acquaintance
with his father. But old Grant Maitland was a hard man to know,
and they were too much alike in their reserve and in their poverty
of self-expression to make mutual acquaintance anything but a slow
and in some ways a painful process.
Hence in Maitland's heart there was an almost extravagant gratitude
toward this young generous-hearted girl whose touch had thrilled
his heart and whose voice with its passionate note of loyal and
understanding comradeship still sang like music in his soul,
"Always and always, Captain Jack, and evermore."
"By Jove, I have got to find some way of playing up to that," he
said aloud, as he turned from the gravelled driveway into the
street. And in the months that followed he was to find that the
search to which he then committed himself was to call for the
utmost of the powers of soul which were his.
THE COST OF SACRIFICE
Perrotte was by all odds the best all-round man in the planing
mill, and for the simple reason that for fifteen years he had
followed the lumber from the raw wood through the various machines
till he knew woods and machines and their ways as no other in the
mill unless it was old Grant Maitland himself. Fifteen years ago
Perrotte had drifted down from the woods, beating his way on a
lumber train, having left his winter's pay behind him at the verge
of civilisation, with old Joe Barbeau and Joe's "chucker out." It
was the "chucker out" that dragged him out of the "snake room" and,
all unwitting, had given him a flying start toward a better life.
Perrotte came to Maitland when the season's work was at its height
and every saw and planer were roaring night and day.
"Want a job?" Maitland had shouted over the tearing saw at him.
"What can you do?"
"(H)axe-man me," growled Perrotte, looking up at him, half wistful,
"See that slab? Grab it, pile it yonder. The boards, slide over
the shoot." For these were still primitive days for labor-saving
devices, and men were still the cheapest thing about a mill.
Perrotte grabbed the slab, heaved it down to its pile of waste, the
next board he slid into the shoot, and so continued till noon found
him pale and staggering.
"What's the matter with you?" said Maitland.
"Notting--me bon," said Perrotte, and, clutching at the door jamb,
hung there gasping.
Maitland's keen blue eyes searched his face. "Huh! When did you
last eat? Come! No lying!"
"Two day," said Perrotte, fighting for breath and nerve.
"Here, boy," shouted Maitland to a chore lad slouching by, "jump
for that cook house and fetch a cup of coffee, and be quick."
The boss' tone injected energy into the gawky lad. In three
minutes Perrotte was seated on a pile of slabs, drinking a cup of
coffee; in five minutes more he stood up, ready for "(h)anny man,
(h)anny ting." But Maitland took him to the cook.
"Fill this man up," he said, "and then show him where to sleep.
And, Perrotte, to-morrow morning at seven you be at the tail of the
"Oui, by gar! Perrotte be dere. And you got one good man TOO-day,
That was fifteen years ago, and, barring certain "jubilations,"
Perrotte made good his prophecy. He brought up from the Ottawa his
Irish wife, a clever woman with her tongue but a housekeeper that
scandalised her thrifty, tidy, French-Canadian mother-in-law, and
his two children, a boy and a girl. Under the supervision of his
boss he made for his family a home and for himself an assured place
in the Blackwater Mills. His children fell into the hands of a
teacher with a true vocation for his great work and a passion for
young life. Under his hand the youth of the rapidly growing mill
village were saved from the sordid and soul-debasing influences of
their environment, were led out of the muddy streets and can-strewn
back yards to those far heights where dwell the high gods of poesy
and romance. From the master, too, they learned to know their own
wonderful woods out of which the near-by farms had been hewn. Many
a home, too, owed its bookshelf to Alex Day's unobtrusive
The Perrotte children were prepared for High School by the master's
quiet but determined persistence. To the father he held up the
utilitarian advantages of an education.
"Your boy is quick--why should not Tony be a master of men some
day? Give him a chance to climb."
"Oui, by gar! Antoine he's smart lee'le feller. I mak him steeck
on his book, you mak him one big boss on some mill."
To the mother the master spoke of social advantages. The empty-
headed Irish woman who had all the quick wit and cleverness of
tongue characteristic of her race was determined that her girl
Annette should learn to be as stylish as "them that tho't
themselves her betters." So the children were kept at school by
their fondly ambitious parents, and the master did the rest.
At the Public School, that greatest of all democratic institutions,
the Perrotte children met the town youth of their own age, giving
and taking on equal terms, sharing common privileges and advantages
and growing into a community solidarity all their own, which in
later years brought its own harvest of mingling joy and bitterness,
but which on the whole made for sound manhood and womanhood.
With the girl Annette one effect of the Public School and its
influences, educational and social, was to reveal to her the depth
of the educational and social pit from which she had been taken.
Her High School training might have fitted her for the teaching
profession and completed her social emancipation but for her vain
and thriftless mother, who, socially ambitious for herself but more
for her handsome, clever children, found herself increasingly
embarrassed for funds. She lacked the means with which to suitably
adorn herself and her children for the station in life to which she
aspired and for which good clothes were the prime equipment and to
"eddicate" Tony as he deserved. Hence when Annette had completed
her second year at the High School her mother withdrew her from the
school and its associations and found her a place in the new Fancy
Box Factory, where girls could obtain "an illigant and refoined job
with good pay as well."
This change in Annette's outlook brought wrathful disappointment to
the head master, Alex Day, who had taken a very special pride in
Annette's brilliant school career and who had outlined for her a
University course. To Annette herself the ending of her school
days was a bitter grief, the bitterness of which would have been
greatly intensified had she been able to measure the magnitude of
the change to be wrought in her life by her mother's foolish vanity
and unwise preference of her son's to her daughter's future.
The determining factor in Annette's submission to her mother's will
was consideration for her brother and his career. For while for
her father she cherished an affectionate pride and for her mother
an amused and protective pity, her great passion was for her
brother--her handsome, vivacious, audacious and mercurial brother,
Tony. With him she counted it only joy to share her all too meagre
wages whenever he found himself in financial straits. And a not
infrequent situation this was with Tony, who, while he seemed to
have inherited from his mother the vivacity, quick wit and general
empty-headedness, from his father got nothing of the thrift and
patient endurance of grinding toil characteristic of the French-
Canadian habitant. But he did get from his father a capacity for
the knowing and handling of machinery, which amounted almost to
genius. Of the father's steadiness under the grind of daily work
which had made him the head mechanic in the Mill, Tony possessed
not a tittle. What he could get easily he got, and getting this
fancied himself richly endowed, knowing not how slight and
superficial is the equipment for life's stern fight that comes
without sweat of brain and body. His cleverness deceived first
himself and then his family, who united in believing him to be
destined for high place and great things. Only two of those who
had to do with him in his boyhood weighed him in the balance of
truth. One was his Public School master, who labored with
incessant and painful care to awaken in him some glimmer of the
need of preparation for that bitter fight to which every man is
appointed. The other was Grant Maitland, whose knowledge of men
and of life, gained at cost of desperate conflict, made the youth's
soul an open book to him. Recognising the boy's aptitude, he had
in holiday seasons set Tony behind the machines in his planing
mill, determined for his father's sake to make of him a mechanical
engineer. To Tony each new machine was a toy to be played with; in
a week or two he had mastered it and grown weary of it. Thenceforth
he slacked at his work and became a demoralizing influence in his
department, a source of anxiety to his steady-going father, a
plague to his employer, till the holiday time was done.
"Were you my son, my lad, I'd soon settle you," Grant Maitland
would say, when the boy was ready to go back to his school. "You
will make a mess of your life unless you can learn to stick at your
job. The roads are full of clever tramps, remember that, my boy."
But Tony only smiled his brilliant smile at him, as he took his pay
envelope, which burned a hole in his pocket till he had done with
it. When the next holiday came round Tony would present himself
for a job with Jack Maitland to plead for him. For to Tony Jack
was as king, to whom he gave passionate loyalty without stint or
measure. And thus for his son Jack's sake, Jack's father took Tony
on again, resolved to make another effort to make something out of
The bond between the two boys was hard to analyse. In games at
Public and High School Jack was always Captain and Tony his right-
hand man, held to his place and his training partly by his admiring
devotion to his Captain but more by a wholesome dread of the
inexorable disciplinary measures which slackness or trifling with
the rules of the game would inevitably bring him. Jack Maitland
was the one being in Tony's world who could put lasting fear into
his soul or steadiness into his practice. But even Jack at times
Then when both were eighteen they went to the War, Jack as an
Officer, Tony as a Non-Commissioned Officer in the same Battalion,
Jack hating the bloody business but resolute to play this great
game of duty as he played all games for all that was in him, Tony
aglow at first with the movement and glitter and later mad with the
lust for deadly daring that was native to his Keltic Gallic soul.
They returned with their respective decorations of D. S. O. and
Military Medal and each with the stamp of war cut deep upon him, in
keeping with the quality of his soul.
The return to peace was to them, as to the thousands of their
comrades to whom it was given to return, a shock almost as great as
had been the adventure of war. In a single day while still amid
the scenes and with all the paraphernalia of war about them an
unreal and bewildering silence had fallen on them. Like men in the
unearthly realities of a dream they moved through their routine
duties, waiting for the orders that would bring that well-known,
sickening, savage tightening of their courage and send them, laden
like beasts of burden, up once more to that hell of blood and mud,
of nerve-shattering shell, of blinding glare and ear-bursting roar
of gun fire, and, worse than all, to the place where, crouching in
the farcical deceptive shelter of the sandbagged trench, their
fingers gripping into the steel of their rifle hands, they would
wait for the zero hour. But as the weeks passed and the orders
failed to come they passed from that bewildering and subconscious
anxious waiting, to an experience of wildly exultant, hysterical
abandonment. They were done with all that long horror and terror;
they were never to go back into it again; they were going back
home; the New Day had dawned; war was no more, nor ever would be
again. Back to home, to waiting hearts, to shining eyes, to
welcoming arms, to peace, they were going.
Thereafter, when some weeks of peace had passed and the drums of
peace had fallen quiet and the rushing, crowding, hurrahing people
had melted away, and the streets and roads were filled again with
men and women bent on business, with engagements to keep, the
returned men found themselves with dazed, listless mind waiting for
orders from someone, somewhere, or for the next movie show to open.
But they were unwilling to take on the humdrum of making a living,
and were in most cases incapable of initiating a congenial method
of employing their powers, their new-found, splendid, glorious
powers, by means of which they had saved an empire and a world.
They had become common men again, they in whose souls but a few
weeks ago had flamed the glory and splendour of a divine heroism!
Small wonder that some of these men, tingling with the consciousness
of powers of which these busy, engaged people of the streets and
shops knew nothing, turned with disdain from the petty, paltry, many
of them non-manly tasks that men pursued solely that they might
live. Live! For these last terrible, great and glorious fifty
months they had schooled themselves to the notion that the main
business of life was not to live. There had been for them a thing
to do infinitely more worth while than to live. Indeed, had they
been determined at all costs to live, then they had become to
themselves, to their comrades, and indeed to all the world, the most
despicable of all living things, deserving and winning the infinite
contempt of all true men.
While the "gratuity money" lasted life went merrily enough, but
when the last cheque had been cashed, and the grim reality that
rations had ceased and Q. M. Stores were not longer available
thrust itself vividly into the face of the demobilised veteran, and
when after experiencing in job hunting varying degrees of
humiliation the same veteran made the startling and painful
discovery that for his wares of heroic self-immolation, of dogged
endurance done up in khaki, there was no demand in the bloodless
but none the less strenuous conflict of living; and that other
discovery, more disconcerting, that he was not the man he had been
in pre-war days and thought himself still to be, but quite another,
then he was ready for one of two alternatives, to surrender to the
inevitable dictum that after all life was really not worth a fight,
more particularly if it could be sustained without one, or, to
fling his hat into the Bolshevist ring, ready for the old thing,
war--war against the enemies of civilisation and his own enemies,
against those who possessed things which he very much desired but
which for some inexplicable cause he was prevented from obtaining.
The former class, to a greater or less degree, Jack Maitland
represented; the latter, Tony Perrotte. From their war experience
they were now knit together in bonds that ran into life issues.
Together they had faced war's ultimate horror, together they had
emerged with imperishable memories of sheer heroic manhood mutually
revealed in hours of desperate need.
At Jack's request Tony had been given the position of a Junior
Foreman in one of the planing mill departments, with the promise of
"You can have anything you are fit for, Tony, in any of the mills.
I feel that I owe you, that we both owe you more than we can pay by
any position we can offer," was Grant Maitland's word.
"Mr. Maitland, neither you nor Jack owes me anything. Jack has
paid, and more than once, all he owed me. But," with a rueful
smile, "don't expect too much from me in this job. I can't see
myself making it go."
"Give it a big try. Do your best. I ask no more," said Mr.
"My best? That's a hard thing. Give me a bayonet and set some
Huns before me, and I'll do my best. This is different somehow."
"Different, yet the same. The same qualities make for success.
You have the brains and with your gift for machinery--Well, try it.
You and Jack here will make this go between you, as you made the
The door closed on the young man.
"Will he make good, Jack?" said the father, anxiously.
"Will any of us make good?"
"You will, Jack, I know. You can stick."
"Yes, I can stick, I suppose, but, after all--well, we'll have a go
at it, anyway. But, like Tony, I feel like saying, 'Don't expect
"Only your best, Jack, that's all. Take three months, six months,
a year, and get hold of the office end of the business. You have
brains enough. I want a General Manager right now, Wickes is
hardly up to it. He knows the books and he knows the works but he
knows nothing else. He doesn't know men nor markets. He is an
office man pure and simple, and he's old, too old. The fact is,
Jack, I have to be my own Manager inside and outside. My foremen
are good, loyal, reliable fellows, but they only know their orders.
I want someone to stand beside me. The plant has been doubled in
capacity during the war. We did a lot of war work--aeroplane
parts. We got the spruce in the raw and worked it up, good work,
too, if I do say it myself. No better was done."
"I know something about that, Dad. I had a day with Badgley in
Toronto. I know something about it, and I know where the money
went, too, Dad."
"The money? Of course, I couldn't take the money--how could I with
my boys at the war, and other men's boys?"
"Rather not. My God, Dad, if I thought--! But what's the use
talking? They know in London all about the Ambulance Equipment and
the Machine Gun Battery, and the Hospital. Do you know why Caramus
took a job in the Permanent Force in England? It was either that
or blowing out his brains. He could not face his father, a war
millionaire. My God, how could he?"
The boy was walking about his room with face white and lips
"Caramus was in charge of that Machine Gun Section that held the
line and let us get back. Every man wiped out, and Caramus carried
back smashed to small pieces--and his father making a million out
of munitions! My God! My God!"
A silence fell in the room for a minute.
"Poor old Caramus! I saw him in the City a month ago," said the
father. "I pitied the poor wretch. He was alone in the Club, not
a soul would speak to him. He has got his hell."
"He deserves it--all of it, and all who like him have got fat on
blood money. Do you know, Dad, when I see those men going about in
the open and no one kicking them I get fairly sick. I don't wonder
at some of the boys seeing red. You mark my words, we are going to
have bad times in this country before long."
"I am afraid of it, boy. Things look ugly. Even in our own works
I feel a bad spirit about. There are some newcomers from the old
country whom I can't say I admire much. They grouch and they won't
work. Our production is lower than ever in our history and our
labor cost is more than twice what it was in 1914."
"Well, Dad, give them a little time to settle down. I have no more
use for a slacker than I have for a war millionaire."
"We can't stand much of that thing. Financially we are in fairly
good shape. We broke even with our aeroplane work. But we have a
big stock of spruce on hand--high-priced stuff, too--and a heavy,
very heavy overhead. We shall weather it all right. I don't mind
the wages, but we must have production. And that's why I want you
"You must not depend on me for much use for some time at least.
I know a little about handling men but about machinery I know
"Never fear, boy, you've got the machine instinct in you. I
remember your holiday work in the mill, you see. But your place is
in the office. Wickes will show you the ropes, and you will make
good, I know. And I just want to say that you don't know how glad
I am to have you come in with me, Jack. If your brother had come
back he would have taken hold, he was cut out for the job, but--"
"Poor old Andy! He had your genius for the business. I wish he
had been the one to get back!"
"We had not the choosing, Jack, and if he had come we should have
felt the same about you. God knows what He is doing, and we can
only do our best."
"Well, Dad," said Jack, rising and standing near his father's
chair, "as I said before, I'll make a go at it, but don't count too
much on me."
"I am counting a lot on you. You are all I have now." The
father's voice ended in a husky whisper. The boy swallowed the
rising lump in his throat but could find no more words to go on
with. But in his heart there was the resolve that he would make an
honest try to do for his father's sake what he would not for his
But before a month had gone he was heartily sick of the office. It
was indoors, and the petty fussing with trivial details irked him.
Accuracy was a sine qua non of successful office work, and accuracy
is either a thing of natural gift or is the result of long and
painful discipline, and neither by nature nor by discipline had
Jack come into the possession of this prime qualification for a
successful office man. His ledger wellnigh brought tears to old
Wickes' eyes and added a heavy load to his day's work. Not that
old Wickes grudged the extra burden, much less made any complaint;
rather did he count it joy to be able to cover from other eyes than
his own the errors that were inevitably to be found in Jack's daily
Had it seemed worth while, Jack would have disciplined himself to
accuracy. But what was the end of it all? A larger plant with
more machines to buy and more men to work them and to be overseen
and to be paid, a few more figures in a Bank Book--what else?
Jack's tastes were simple. He despised the ostentation of wealth
in the accumulation of mere things. He had only pity for the
plunger and for the loose liver contempt. Why should he tie
himself to a desk, a well appointed desk it is true, but still a
desk, in a four-walled room, a much finer room than his father had
ever known, but a room which became to him a cage. Why? Of
course, there was his father--and Jack wearily turned to his
correspondence basket, sick of the sight of paper and letter heads
and cost forms and production reports. For his father's sake, who
had only him, he would carry on. And carry on he did, doggedly,
wearily, bored to death, but sticking it. The reports from the
works were often ominous. Things were not going well. There was
an undercurrent of unrest among the men.
"I don't wonder at it," said Jack to old Wickes one day, when the
bookkeeper set before him the week's pay sheet and production
sheet, side by side. "After all, why should the poor devils work
"For us, sir?" said the shocked Wickes. "For themselves, surely.
What would they do for a living if there was no work?"
"That's just it, Wickes. They get a living--is it worth while?"
"But, sir," gasped the old man, "they must live, and--"
"Why must they?"
"Because they want to! Wait till you see 'em sick, sir. My word!
They do make haste for the Doctor."
"I fancy they do, Wickes. But all the same, I don't wonder that
they grouch a bit."
"'Tis not the grumbling, sir, I deplore," said Wickes, "if they
would only work, or let the machines work. That's the trouble,
sir. Why, sir, when I came to your father, sir, we never looked at
the clock, we kept our minds on the work."
"How long ago, Wickes?"
"Thirty-one years, sir, come next Michaelmas. And glad I was to
get the job, too. You see, sir, I had just come to the country,
and with the missus and a couple of kids--"
"Thirty-one years! Great Caesar! And you've worked at this desk
for thirty-one years! And what have you got out of it?"
"Well, sir, not what you might call a terrible lot. I hadn't the
eddication for much, as you might say--but--well, there's my little
home, and we've lived happy there, the missus and me, and the kids--
at least, till the war came." The old man paused abruptly.
"You're right, Wickes, by Jove," exclaimed Jack, starting from his
seat and gripping the old man's hand. "You have made a lot out of
it--and you gave as fine a boy as ever stepped in uniform to your
country. We were all proud of Stephen, every man of us."
"I know that, sir, and he often wrote the wife about you, sir,
which we don't forget, sir. Of course, it's hard on her and the
boys--just coming up to be somethin' at the school."
"By the way, Wickes, how are they doing? Two of them, aren't
there? Let's see--there's Steve, he's the eldest--"
"No, sir, he's the youngest, sir. Robert is the eldest--fourteen,
and quite clever at his books. Pity he's got to quit just now."
"Quit? Not a bit of it. We must see to that. And little Steve--
how is the back?"
"He's twelve. The back hurts a lot, but he is happy enough, if you
give him a pencil. They're all with us now."
"Ah, well, well. I think you have made something out of it after
all, Wickes. And we must see about Robert."
Thirty-one years at the desk! And to show for it a home for his
wife and himself, a daughter in a home of her own, a son dead for
his country, leaving behind him a wife and two lads to carry the
name--was it worth while? Yes, by Jove, it was worth it all to be
able to give a man like Stephen Wickes to his country. For Stephen
Wickes was a fine stalwart lad, a good soldier, steady as a rock,
with a patient, cheery courage that nothing could daunt or break.
But for a man's self was it worth while?
Jack had no thought of wife and family. There was Adrien. She had
been a great pal before the war, but since his return she had
seemed different. Everyone seemed different. The war had left
many gaps, former pals had formed other ties, many had gone from
the town. Even Adrien had drifted away from the old currents of
life. She seemed to have taken up with young Stillwell, whom Jack
couldn't abide. Stillwell had been turned down by the Recruiting
Officer during the war--flat feet, or something. True, he had done
great service in Red Cross, Patriotic Fund, Victory Loan work, and
that sort of thing, and apparently stood high in the Community.
His father had doubled the size of his store and had been a great
force in all public war work. He had spared neither himself nor
his son. The elder Stillwell, high up in the Provincial Political
world, saw to it that his son was on all the big Provincial War
Committees. Rupert had all the shrewd foresight and business
ability of his father, which was saying a good deal. He began to
assume the role of a promising young capitalist. The sources of
his income no one knew--fortunate investments, people said. And
his Hudson Six stood at the Rectory gate every day. Well, not even
for Adrien would Jack have changed places with Rupert Stillwell.
For Jack Maitland held the extreme and, in certain circles,
unpopular creed that the citizen who came richer out of a war which
had left his country submerged in debt, and which had drained away
its best blood and left it poorer in its manhood by well-nigh
seventy thousand of its noblest youth left upon the battlefields of
the various war fronts and by the hundreds of thousands who would
go through life a burden to themselves and to those to whom they
should have been a support--that citizen was accursed. If Adrien
chose to be a friend of such a man, by that choice she classified
herself as impossible of friendship for Jack. It had hurt a bit.
But what was one hurt more or less to one whom the war had left
numb in heart and bereft of ambition? He was not going to pity
himself. He was lucky indeed to have his body and nerve still
sound and whole, but they need not expect him to show any great
keenness in the chase for a few more thousands that would only rank
him among those for whom the war had not done so badly. Meantime,
for his father's sake, who, thank God, had given his best, his
heart's best and the best of his brain and of his splendid business
genius to his country, he would carry on, with no other reward than
that of service rendered.
THE HEATHEN QUEST
They stood together by the open fire in the study, Jack and his
father, alike in many ways yet producing effects very different.
The younger man had the physical makeup of the older, though of a
slighter mould. They had the same high, proud look of conscious
strength, of cool fearlessness that nothing could fluster. But the
soul that looked out of the grey eyes of the son was quite another
from that which looked out of the deep blue eyes of the father--
yet, after all, the difference may not have been in essence but
only that the older man's soul had learned in life's experience to
look out only through a veil.
The soul of the youth was eager, adventurous, still believing, yet
with a certain questioning and a touch of weariness, a result of
the aftermath of peace following three years of war. There was
still, however, the out-looking for far horizons, the outreaching
imagination, the Heaven given expectation of the Infinite. In the
older man's eye dwelt chiefly reserve. The veil was always there
except when he found it wise and useful to draw it aside. If ever
the inner light flamed forth it was when the man so chose. Self-
mastery, shrewdness, power, knowledge, lay in the dark blue eyes,
and all at the soul's command.
But to-night as the father's eyes rested upon his son who stood
gazing into and through the blazing fire there were to be seen only
pride and wistful love. But as the son turned his eyes toward his
father the veil fell and the eyes that answered were quiet, shrewd,
keen and chiefly kind.
The talk had passed beyond the commonplace of the day's doings.
They were among the big things, the fateful thing--Life and Its
Worth, Work and Its Wages, Creative Industry and Its Product,
Capital and Its Price, Man and His Rights.
They were frank with each other. The war had done that for them.
For ever since the night when his eighteen-year-old boy had walked
into his den and said, "Father, I am eighteen," and stood looking
into his eyes and waiting for the word that came straight and
unhesitating, "I know, boy, you are my son and you must go, for I
cannot," ever since that night, which seemed now to belong to
another age, these two had faced each other as men. Now they were
talking about the young man's life work.
"Frankly, I don't like it, Dad," said the son.
"Easy to see that, Jack."
"I'm really sorry. I'm afraid anyone can see it. But somehow I
can't put much pep into it."
"Why?" asked the father, with curt abruptness.
"Why? Well, I hardly know. Somehow it hardly seems worth while.
It is not the grind of the office, though that is considerable. I
could stick that, but, after all, what's the use?"
"What would you rather do, Jack?" enquired his father patiently, as
if talking to a child. "You tried for the medical profession, you
"I know, I know, you are quite right about it. You may think it
pure laziness. Maybe it is, but I hardly think so. Perhaps I went
back to lectures too soon after the war. I was hardly fit, I
guess, and the whole thing, the inside life, the infernal grind of
lectures, the idiotic serious mummery of the youngsters, those
blessed kids who should have been spanked by their mothers--the
whole thing sickened me in three months. If I had waited perhaps I
might have done better at the thing. I don't know--hard to tell."
The boy paused, looking into the fire.
"It was my fault, boy," said the father hastily. "I ought to have
figured the thing out differently. But, you see, I had no
knowledge of what you had gone through and of its effect upon you.
I know better now. I thought that the harder you went into the
work the better it would be for you. I made a mistake."
"Well, you couldn't tell, Dad. How could you? But everything was
so different when I came back. Mere kids were carrying on where we
had been, and doing it well, too, by Jove, and we didn't seem to be
"Needed, boy?" The father's voice was thick.
"Yes, but I didn't see that then. Selfish, I fear. Then, you
know, home was not the same--"
The older man choked back a groan and leaned hard against the
"I know, Dad, I can see now I was selfish--"
"Selfish? Don't say that, my lad. Selfish? After all you had
gone through? No, I shall never apply that word to you, but you--
you don't seem to realise--" The father hesitated a few moments,
then, as if taking a plunge:
"You don't realise just how big a thing--how big an investment
there is in that business down there--." His hand swept toward the
window through which could be seen the lights of that part of the
town which clustered about the various mills and factories of which
he was owner.
"I know there is a lot, Dad, but how much I don't know."
"There's $250,000 in plant alone, boy, but there's more than money,
a lot more than money--" Then, after a pause, as if to himself, "A
lot more than money--there's brain sweat and heart agony and
prayers and tears--and, yes, life, boy, your mother's life and
mine. We worked and saved and prayed and planned--"
He stepped quickly toward the window, drew aside the curtain and
pointed to a dark mass of headland beyond the twinkling lights.
"You see the Bluff there. Fifty years ago I stood with my father
on that Bluff and watched the logs come down the river to the
sawmill--his sawmill, into which he had put his total capital, five
hundred dollars. I remember well his words, 'My son, if you live
out your life you will see on that flat a town where thousands of
men and women will find homes and, please God, happiness.' Your
mother and I watched that town grow for forty years, and we tried
to make people happy--at least, if they were not it was no fault of
hers. Of course, other hands have been at the work since then, but
her hands and mine more than any other, and more than all others
together were in it, and her heart, too, was in it all."
The boy turned from the window and sat down heavily in a deep
armchair, his hands covering his face. His heart was still sick
with the ache that had smitten it that day in front of Amiens when
the Colonel, his father's friend, had sent for him and read him the
wire which had brought the terrible message of his mother's death.
The long months of days and nights heavy with watching, toiling,
praying, agonising, for her twin sons, and for the many boys who
had gone out from the little town wore out her none too robust
strength. Then, the sniper's bullet that had pierced the heart of
her boy seemed to reach to her heart as well. After that, the home
that once had been to its dwellers the most completely heart-
satisfying spot in all the world became a place of dread, of
haunting ghosts, of acutely poignant memories. They used the house
for sleeping in and for eating in, but there was no living in it
longer. To them it was a tomb, though neither would acknowledge it
and each bore with it for the other's sake.
"Honestly, Dad, I wish I could make it go, for your sake--"
"For my sake, boy? Why, I have all of it I care for. Not for my
sake. But what else can we do but stick it?"
"I suppose so--but for Heaven's sake give me something worth a
man's doing. If I could tackle a job such as you and"--the boy
winced--"you and mother took on I believe I'd try it. But that
office! Any fool could sit in my place and carry on. It is like
the job they used to give to the crocks or the slackers at the base
to do. Give me a man's job."
The father's keen blue eyes looked his son over.
"A man's job?" he said, with a grim smile, realising as his son did
not how much of a man's job it was. "Suppose you learn this one as
"What do you mean, Dad, exactly? How did you begin?"
"I? At the tail of the saw."
"All right, I'm game."
"Boy, you are right--I believe in my soul you are right. You did a
man's job 'out there' and you have it in you to do a man's job
The son shrugged his shoulders. Next morning at seven they were
down at the planing mill where men were doing men's work. He was
at a man's job, at the tail of a saw, and drawing a man's pay,
rubbing shoulders with men on equal terms, as he had in the
trenches. And for the first time since Armistice Day, if not happy
or satisfied, he was content to carry on.
Sam Wigglesworth had finished with school, which is not quite the
same as saying that he had finished his education. A number of
causes had combined to bring this event to pass. First, Sam was
beyond the age of compulsory attendance at the Public School, the
School Register recording him as sixteen years old. Then, Sam's
educational career had been anything but brilliant. Indeed, it
might fairly be described as dull. All his life he had been behind
his class, the biggest boy in his class, which fact might have been
to Sam a constant cause of humiliation had he not held as of the
slightest moment merely academic achievements. One unpleasant
effect which this fact had upon Sam's moral quality was that it
tended to make him a bully. He was physically the superior of all
in his class, and this superiority he exerted for what he deemed
the discipline of younger and weaker boys, who excelled him in
Furthermore, Sam, while quite ready to enforce the code of
discipline which he considered suitable to the smaller and weaker
boys in his class, resented and resisted the attempts of constituted
authority to enforce discipline in his own case, with the result
that Sam's educational career was, after much long suffering,
abruptly terminated by the action of the long-suffering head, Alex
"With great regret I must report," his letter to the School Board
ran, "that in the case of Samuel Wigglesworth I have somehow failed
to inculcate the elementary principles of obedience to school
regulations and of adherence to truth in speech. I am free to
acknowledge," went on the letter, "that the defect may be in myself
as much as in the boy, but having failed in winning him to
obedience and truth-telling, I feel that while I remain master of
the school I must decline to allow the influence of this youth to
continue in the school. A whole-hearted penitence for his many
offences and an earnest purpose to reform would induce me to give
him a further trial. In the absence of either penitence or purpose
to reform I must regretfully advise expulsion."
Joyfully the School Board, who had for months urged upon the
reluctant head this action, acquiesced in the course suggested, and
Samuel was forthwith expelled, to his own unmitigated relief but to
his father's red and raging indignation at what he termed the
"(h)ignorant persecution of their betters by these (h)insolent
Colonials," for "'is son 'ad 'ad the advantages of schools of the
'ighest standin' in (H)England."
Being expelled from school Sam forthwith was brought by his father
to the office of the mills, where he himself was employed. There
he introduced his son to the notice of Mr. Grant Maitland, with
request for employment.
The old man looked the boy over.
"What has he been doing?"
"Nothin'. 'E's just left school."
"Naw. Public School." Wigglesworth Sr.'s tone indicated no
exalted opinion of the Public School.
"Public School! What grade, eh?"
"Grade? I dinnaw. Wot grade, Samuel? Come, speak (h)up, cawn't
"Uh?" Sam's mental faculties had been occupied in observing the
activities and guessing the probable fate of a lumber-jack gaily
decked in scarlet sash and blue overalls, who was the central
figure upon a flaming calendar tacked up behind Mr. Maitland's
desk, setting forth the commercial advantages of trading with the
Departmental Stores of Stillwell & Son.
"Wot grade in school, the boss is (h)askin'," said his father
"Grade?" enquired Sam, returning to the commonplace of the moment.
"Yes, what grade in the Public School were you in when you left?"
The blue eyes of the boss was "borin' 'oles" through Sam and the
voice pierced like a "bleedin' gimblet," as Wigglesworth, Sr.,
reported to his spouse that afternoon.
Sam hesitated a bare second. "Fourth grade it was," he said with
"'Adn't no chance, Samuel 'adn't. Been a delicate child ever since
'is mother stopped suckin' 'im," explained the father with a
sympathetic shake of his head.
The cold blue eye appraised the boy's hulking mass.
"'E don't look it," continued Mr. Wigglesworth, noting the keen
glance, "but 'e's never been (h)able to bide steady at the school.
(H)It's 'is brain, sir."
"His--ah--brain?" Again the blue eyes appraised the boy, this time
scanning critically his face for indication of undue brain
"'Is brain, sir," earnestly reiterated the sympathetic parent.
"'Watch that (h)infant's brain,' sez the Doctor to the missus when
she put 'im on the bottle. And you know, we 'ave real doctors in
(H)England, sir. 'Watch 'is brain,' sez 'e, and, my word, the care
'is ma 'as took of that boy's brain is wunnerful, is fair
beautiful, sir." Mr. Wigglesworth's voice grew tremulous at the
remembrance of that maternal solicitude.
"And was that why he left school?" enquired the boss.
"Well, sir, not (h)exackly," said Mr. Wigglesworth, momentarily
taken aback, "though w'en I comes to think on it that must a been
at the bottom of it. You see, w'en Samuel went at 'is books of a
night 'e'd no more than begin at a sum an' 'e'd say to 'is ma, 'My
brain's a-whirlin', ma', just like that, and 'is ma would 'ave to
pull 'is book away, just drag it away, you might say. Oh, 'e's 'ad
a 'ard time, 'as Samuel." At this point the boss received a
distinct shock, for, as his eyes were resting upon Samuel's face
meditatively while he listened somewhat apathetically, it must be
confessed, to the father's moving tale, the eye of the boy remote
from the father closed in a slow but significant wink.
The boss sat up, galvanised into alert attention. "Eh? What?" he
"Yes, sir, 'e's caused 'is ma many a (h)anxious hour, 'as Samuel."
Again the eye closed in a slow and solemn wink. "And we thought,
'is ma and me, that we would like to get Samuel into some easy
"An easy job, eh?"
"Yes, sir. Something in the office, 'ere."
"But his brain, you say, would not let him study his books."
"Oh, it was them sums, sir, an' the Jography and the 'Istory an'
the Composition, an', an'--wot else, Samuel? You see, these 'ere
schools ain't a bit like the schools at 'ome, sir. They're so
confusing with their subjecks. Wot I say is, why not stick to real
(h)eddication, without the fiddle faddles?"
"So you want an easy job for your son, eh?" enquired Mr. Maitland.
"Boy," he said sharply to Samuel, whose eyes had again become fixed
upon the gay and daring lumber-jack. Samuel recalled himself with
visible effort. "Why did you leave school? The truth, mind." The
"borin'" eyes were at their work.
"Fired!" said Sam promptly.
Mr. Wigglesworth began a sputtering explanation.
"That will do, Wigglesworth," said Mr. Maitland, holding up his
hand. "Sam, you come and see me tomorrow here at eight. Do you
Sam nodded. After they had departed there came through the closed
office door the sound of Mr. Wigglesworth's voice lifted in violent
declamation, but from Sam no answering sound could be heard.
The school suffered no noticeable loss in the intellectual quality
of its activities by the removal of the whirling brain and
incidentally its physical integument of Samuel Wigglesworth. To
the smaller boys the absence of Sam brought unbounded joy, more
especially during the hours of recess from study and on their
homeward way from school after dismissal.
More than any other, little Steve Wickes rejoiced in Sam's
departure from school. Owing to some mysterious arrangement of
Sam's brain cells he seemed to possess an abnormal interest in
observing the sufferings of any animal. The squirming of an
unfortunate fly upon a pin fascinated him, the sight of a wretched
dog driven mad with terror rushing frantically down a street, with
a tin can dangling to its tail, convulsed him with shrieking
delight. The more highly organised the suffering animal, the
keener was Sam's joy. A child, for instance, flying in a paroxysm
of fear from Sam's hideously contorted face furnished acute
satisfaction. It fell naturally enough that little Steve Wickes,
the timid, shrinking, humpbacked son of the dead soldier, Stephen
Wickes, afforded Sam many opportunities of rare pleasure. It was
Sam that coined and, with the aid of his sycophantic following
never wanting to a bully, fastened to the child the nickname of
"Humpy Wicksy," working thereby writhing agony in the lad's highly
sensitive soul. But Sam did not stay his hand at the infliction of
merely mental anguish. It was one of his favorite forms of sport
to seize the child by the collar and breeches and, swinging him
high over head, hold him there in an anguish of suspense, awaiting
the threatened drop. It is to be confessed that Sam was not
entirely without provocation at the hands of little Steve, for the
lad had a truly uncanny cunning hidden in his pencil, by means of
which Sam was held up in caricature to the surreptitious joy of his
schoolmates. Sam's departure from school deprived him of the full
opportunity he formerly enjoyed of indulging himself in his
favourite sport. On this account he took the more eager advantage
of any opportunity that offered still to gratify his taste in this
Sauntering sullenly homeward from his interview with the boss and
with his temper rasped to a raw edge by his father's wrathful
comments upon his "dommed waggin' tongue," he welcomed with quite
unusual eagerness the opportunity for indulging himself in his
pastime of baiting Humpy Wicksy whom he overtook on his way home
from school during the noon intermission.
"Hello, Humpy," he roared at the lad.
Like a frightened rabbit Steve scurried down a lane, Sam whooping
"Come back, you little beast. Do you hear me? I'll learn you to
come when you're called," he shouted, catching the terrified lad
and heaving him aloft in his usual double-handed grip.
"Let me down, you! Leave me alone now," shrieked the boy,
squirming, scratching, biting like an infuriated cat.
"Bite, would you?" said Sam, flinging the boy down. "Now then,"
catching him by the legs and turning him over on his stomach,
"we'll make a wheelbarrow of you. Gee up, Buck! Want a ride,
boys?" he shouted to his admiring gallery of toadies. "All
While the unhappy Steve, shrieking prayers and curses, was
struggling vainly to extricate himself from the hands gripping his
ankles, Annette Perrotte, stepping smartly along the street on her
way from the box factory, came past the entrance to the lane. By
her side strode a broad-shouldered, upstanding youth. Arrested by
Steve's outcries and curses she paused.
"What are those boys at, I wonder?" she said. "There's that big
lout of a Wigglesworth boy. He's up to no good, I bet you."
"Oh, a kids' row of some kind or ither, a doot," said the youth.
"He's hurting someone," said Annette, starting down the lane.
"What? I believe it's that poor child, Steve Wickes." Like a
wrathful fury she dashed in upon Sam and his company of tormentors
and, knocking the little ones right and left, she sprang upon Sam
with a fierce cry.
"You great brute!" She seized him by his thatch of thick red hair
and with one mighty swing she hurled him clear of Steve and dashed
him head on against the lane fence. Sheer surprise held Sam silent
for a few seconds, but as he felt the trickle of warm blood run
down his face and saw it red upon his hand, his surprise gave place
"Ouw! Ouw!" he bellowed. "I'm killed, I'm dying. Ouw! Ouw!"
"I hope so," said Annette, holding Steve in her arms and seeking to
quiet his sobbing. But as she saw the streaming blood her face
"For the love of Mike, Mack, see if he's hurt," she said in a low
voice to her companion.
"Not he! He's makin' too much noise," said the young man. "Here,
you young bull, wait till I see what's wrang wi' ye," he continued,
stooping over Sam.
"Get away from me, I tell you. Ouw! Ouw! I'm dying, and they'll
hang her. Ouw! Ouw! I'm killed, and I'm just glad I am, for
she'll be hung to death." Here Sam broke into a vigorous stream of
"Ay, he's improvin' A doot," said Mack. "Let us be going."
"'Ello! Wot's (h)up?" cried a voice. It was Mr. Wigglesworth on
his way home from the mill. "Why, bless my living lights, if it
bean't Samuel. Who's been a beatin' of you, Sammy?" His eye swept
the crowd. "'Ave you been at my lad?" he asked, stepping toward
the young man, whom Annette named Mack.
"Aw, steady up, man. There's naethin' much wrang wi' the lad--a
wee scratch on the heid frae fa'in' against the fence yonder."
"Who 'it 'im, I say?" shouted Mr. Wigglesworth. "Was it you?" he
added, squaring up to the young man.
"No, it wasn't, Mr. Wigglesworth. It was me." Mr. Wigglesworth
turned on Annette who, now that Sam's bellowing had much abated
with the appearance of his father upon the scene, had somewhat
regained her nerve.
"You?" gasped Mr. Wigglesworth. "You? My Samuel? It's a lie," he
"Hey, mon, guairrd y're tongue a bit," said Mack. "Mind ye're
speakin' to a leddy."
"A lidy! A lidy!" Mr. Wigglesworth's voice was eloquent of scorn.
"Aye, a leddy!" said Mack. "An' mind what ye say aboot her tae.
Mind y're manners, man."
"My manners, hey? An' 'oo may you be, to learn me manners, you
bloomin' (h)ignorant Scotch (h)ass. You give me (h)any of your
(h)imperance an' I'll knock y're bloomin' block (h)off, I will."
And Mr. Wigglesworth, throwing himself into the approved pugilistic
attitude, began dancing about the young Scot.
"Hoot, mon, awa' hame wi' ye. Tak' yon young tyke wi' ye an' gie
him a bit wash, he's needin' it," said Mack, smiling pleasantly at
the excited and belligerent Mr. Wigglesworth.
At this point Captain Jack, slowly motoring by the lane mouth,
turned his machine to the curb and leaped out.
"What's the row here?" he asked, making his way through the
considerable crowd that had gathered. "What's the trouble,
"They're knockin' my boy abaht, so they be," exclaimed Mr.
Wigglesworth. "But," with growing and righteous wrath, "they'll
find (h)out that, wotsomever they do to a kid, w'en they come (h)up
agin Joe Wigglesworth they've struck somethin' 'ard--'ard, d'ye
'ear? 'Ard!" And Mr. Wigglesworth made a pass at the young Scot.
"Hold on, Wigglesworth," said Captain Jack quietly, catching his
arm. "Were you beating up this kid?" he asked, turning to the
"Nae buddie's beatin' up the lad," said Mack quietly.
"It was me," said the girl, turning a defiant face to Captain Jack.
"You? Why! great Scot! Blest if it isn't Annette."
"Yes, it's me," said the girl, her face a flame of colour.
"By Jove, you've grown up, haven't you? And it was you that--"
"Yes, that big brute was abusing Steve here."
"What? Little Steve Wickes?"
"He was, and I pitched him into the fence. He hit his head and cut
it, I guess. I didn't mean--"
"Served him right enough, too, I fancy," said Captain Jack.
"I'll 'ave the law on the lot o' ye, I will. I'm a poor workin'
man, but I've got my rights, an' if there's a justice in this Gawd
forsaken country I'll 'ave protection for my family." And Mr.
Wigglesworth, working up a fury, backed off down the lane.
"Don't fear, Wigglesworth, you'll get all the justice you want.
Perhaps Sam will tell us--Hello! Where is Sam?"
But Sam had vanished. He had no mind for an investigation in the
presence of Captain Jack.
"Well, well, he can't be much injured, I guess. Meantime, can I
give you a lift, Annette?"
"No, thank you," said the girl, the colour in her cheeks matching
the crimson ribbon at her throat. "I'm just going home. It's only
a little way. I don't--"
"The young leddy is with me, sir," said the young Scotchman
"Oh, she is, eh?" said Captain Jack, looking him over. "Ah, well,
then--Good-bye, Annette, for the present." He held out his hand.
"We must renew our old acquaintance, eh?"
"Thank you, sir," said the girl.
"'Sir?' Rot! You aren't going to 'sir' me, Annette, after all the
fun and the fights we had in the old days. Not much. We're going
to be good chums again, eh? What do you say?"
"I don't know," said Annette, flashing a swift glance into Captain
Jack's admiring eyes. "It depends on--"
"I didn't say so." Her head went up a bit.
"I didn't say so."
"Well, let it go. But we will be pals again, Annette, I vow.
Good-bye." Captain Jack lifted his hat and moved away.
As he reached his car he ran up against young Rupert Stillwell.
"Deucedly pretty Annette has grown, eh?" said Stillwell.
"Annette's all right," said Jack, rather brusquely, entering his
"Working in your box factory, I understand, eh?"
"Don't really know," said Jack carelessly. "Probably."
The crowd had meantime faded away with Captain Jack's going.
"Did na know the Captain was a friend of yours, Annette," said
Mack, falling into step beside her.
"No--yes--I don't know. We went to Public School together before
the war. I was a kid then." Her manner was abstracted and her
eyes were far away. Mack walked gloomily by her on one side,
little Steve on the other.
"Huh! He's no your sort, A doot," he said sullenly.
"What do you say?" cried Annette, returning from her abstraction.
"What do you mean, 'my sort'?" Her head went high and her eyes
"He would na look at ye, for ony guid."
"He did look at me though," replied Annette, tossing her head.
"No for ony guid!" repeated Mack, stubbornly.
Annette stopped in her tracks, a burning red on her cheeks and a
dangerous light in her black eyes.
"Mr. McNish, that's your road," she said, pointing over his
"A'll tak it tae," said McNish, wheeling on his heel, "an' ye can
hae your Captain for me."
With never a look at him Annette took her way home.
"Good-bye, Steve," she said, stooping and kissing the boy. "This
is your corner."
"Annette," he said, with a quick, shy look up into her face, "I
like Captain Jack, don't you?"
"No," she said hurriedly. "I mean yes, of course."
"And I like you too," said the boy, with an adoring look in his
deep eyes, "better'n anyone in the world."
"Do you, Steve? I'm glad." Again she stooped swiftly and kissed
him. "Now run home."
She hurried home, passed into her room without a word to anyone.
Slowly she removed her hat, then turning to her glass she gazed at
her flushed face for a few moments. A little smile curved her
lips. "He did look at me anyway," she whispered to the face that
looked out at her, "he did, he did," she repeated. Then swiftly
she covered her eyes. When she looked again she saw a face white
and drawn. "He would na look at ye." The words smote her with a
chill. Drearily she turned away and went out.
The Rectory was one of the very oldest of the more substantial of
Blackwater's dwellings. Built of grey limestone from the local
quarries, its solid square mass relieved by its quaint dormer
windows was softened from its primal ugliness by the Boston ivy
that had clambered to the eaves and lay draped about the windows
like a soft green mantle. Built in the early days, it stood with
the little church, a gem of Gothic architecture, within spacious
grounds bought when land was cheap. Behind the house stood the
stable, built also of grey limestone, and at one side a cherry and
apple orchard formed a charming background to the grey buildings
with their crowding shrubbery and gardens. A gravelled winding
drive led from the street through towering elms, a picturesque
remnant from the original forest, to the front door and round the
house to the stable yard behind. From the driveway a gravelled
footpath led through the shrubbery and flower garden by a wicket
gate to the Church. When first built the Rectory stood in dignified
seclusion on the edge of the village, but the prosperity of the
growing town demanding space for its inhabitants had driven its
streets far beyond the Rectory demesne on every side, till now it
stood, a green oasis of sheltered loveliness, amid a crowding mass
of modern brick dwellings, comfortable enough but arid of beauty and
suggestive only of the utilitarian demands of a busy manufacturing
For nearly a quarter of a century the Rev. Herbert Aveling
Templeton, D.D., LL.D., for whom the Rectory had been built, had
ministered in holy things to the Parish of St. Alban's and had
exercised a guiding and paternal care over the social and religious
well-being of the community. The younger son of one of England's
noble families, educated in an English Public School and University,
he represented, in the life of this new, thriving, bustling town,
the traditions and manners of an English gentleman of the Old
School. Still in his early sixties, he carried his years with all
the vigour of a man twenty years his junior. As he daily took his
morning walk for his mail, stepping with the brisk pace of one whose
poise the years had not been able to disturb, yet with the stately
bearing consistent with the dignity attaching to his position and
office, men's eyes followed the tall, handsome, white-haired, well
set up gentleman always with admiration and, where knowledge was
intimate, with reverence and affection. Before the recent rapid
growth of the town consequent upon the establishment of various
manufacturing industries attracted thither by the unique railroad
facilities, the Rector's walk was something in the nature of public
perambulatory reception. For he knew them all, and for all had a
word of greeting, of enquiry, of cheer, of admonition, so that by
the time he had returned to his home he might have been said to have
conducted a pastoral visitation of a considerable proportion of his
flock. Even yet, with the changes that had taken place, his walk to
the Post Office was punctuated with greetings and salutations from
his fellow-citizens in whose hearts his twenty-five years of
devotion to their well-being, spiritual and physical, had made for
him an enduring place.
The lady of the Rectory, though some twenty years his junior, yet,
by reason of delicate health due largely to the double burden of
household cares and parish duties, appeared to be quite of equal
age. Gentle in spirit, frail in body, there seemed to be in her
soul something of the quality of tempered steel, yet withal a
strain of worldly wisdom mingled with a strange ignorance of the
affairs of modern life. Her life revolved around one centre, her
adored husband, a centre enlarged as time went on to include her
only son and her two daughters. All others and all else in her
world were of interest solely as they might be more or less closely
related to these, the members of her family. The town and the town
folk she knew solely as her husband's parish. There were other
people and other communions, no doubt, but being beyond the pale
they could hardly be supposed to matter, or, at any rate, she could
not be supposed to regard them with more than the interest and
spasmodic concern which she felt it her duty to bestow upon those
unfortunate dwellers in partibus infidelium.
Regarding the Public School of the town with aversion because of
its woefully democratic character, she was weaned from her
hostility to that institution when her son's name was entered upon
its roll. Her eldest daughter, indeed, she sent as a girl of
fourteen to an exclusive English school, the expense of which was
borne by her husband's eldest brother, Sir Arthur Templeton, for
she held the opinion that while for a boy the Public School was an
excellent institution with a girl it was quite different. Hence,
while her eldest daughter went "Home" for her education, her boy
went to the Blackwater Public and High Schools, which institutions
became henceforth invested with the highest qualifications as