Part 6 out of 6
From among the employees as they poured from the gate Victor
pounced upon his victim and bore him away down a side street.
"Sam," he said, "it may be you are about to die, so tell me the
truth. I hate to take your young life." Sam grinned at his
captor, unafraid. "Cast your mind back to the occasion of the
hockey dance. You remember that?"
"You bet I do, Mister. I made a dollar that night."
"Ah! A dollar. Yes, you did, for delivering a note given you by
Captain Jack Maitland," hissed Vic, gripping his arm.
"Huh-huh," said Sam. "Look out, Mister, that's me."
"Villain!" cried Vic. "Boy, I mean. Now, Sam, did you deliver
"Of course I did. Didn't Captain Jack give me a dollar for it? I
didn't want his dollar."
"The last question, Sam," said Vic solemnly, "to whom did you
deliver the note?"
"To that chap, the son of the storekeeper."
"Rupert Stillwell?" suggested Vic.
"Huh-huh, that's his name. That's him now," cried Sam. "In that
"Boy," said Vic solemnly, "you have saved your life. Here's a
dollar. Now, remember, not a word about this."
"All right, sir," grinned Sam delightedly, as he made off down the
"Now then, what?" said Vic to himself. "This thing has got past
the joke stage. I must do some thinking. Shall I tell Pat or not?
By Jove, by Jove, that's not the question. When that young lady
gets those big eyes of hers on me the truth will flow in a limpid
stream. I must make sure of my ground. Meantime I shall do the
That afternoon Annette had another visitor. Her nurse, though
somewhat dubious as to the wisdom of this indulgence, could not
bring herself to refuse her request that McNish should be allowed
to see her.
"But you must be tired. Didn't Jack tire you?" inquired Adrien.
A soft and tender light stole into the girl's dark eyes.
"Ah, Jack. He could not tire me," she murmured. "He makes so much
of what I did. How gladly would I do it again. Jack is wonderful
to me. Wonderful to me," she repeated softly. Her lip trembled
and she lay back upon her pillow and from her closed eyes two tears
ran down her cheek.
"Now," said Adrien briskly, "you are too tired. We shall wait till
"No, no, please," cried Annette. "Jack didn't tire me. He
"But Malcolm will tire you," said Adrien. "Do you really want to
A faint colour came up into the beautiful face of her patient.
"Yes, Adrien, I really want to see him. I am sure he will do me
good. You will let him come, please?" The dark eyes were shining
with another light, more wistful, more tender.
"Is he here, Adrien?"
"Is he here?" echoed Adrien scornfully. "Has he been anywhere else
the last seven days?"
"Poor Malcolm," said the girl, the tenderness in her voice becoming
protective. "I have been very bad to him, and he loves me so. Oh,
he is just mad about me!" A little smile stole round the corners
of her mouth.
"Oh, you needn't tell me that, Annette," said Adrien. "It is easy
for you to make men mad about you."
"Not many," said the girl, still softly smiling.
McNish went toward the door of the sick room as if approaching a
holy shrine, walking softly and reverently.
"Go in, lucky man," said Adrien. "Go in, and thank God for your
He paused at the door, turned about and looked at her with grave
eyes. "Miss Templeton," he said in slow, reverent tones, "all my
life shall I thank God for His great mercy tae me."
"Don't keep her waiting, man," said Adrien, waving him in. Then
McNish went in and she closed the door softly upon them.
"There are only a few great moments given to men," she said, "and
this is one of them for those two happy people."
In ten days Annette was pronounced quite fit to return to her
family. But Patricia resolved that they should have a grand fete
in the Maitland home before Annette should leave it. She planned a
motor drive in the cool of the day, and in the evening all their
special friends who had been brought together through the tragic
events of the past weeks should come to bring congratulations and
mutual felicitations for the recovery of the patient.
Patricia was arranging the guest list, in collaboration with Mr.
Maitland and the assistance of Annette and Victor.
"We will have our boys, of course," she began.
"Old and young, I hope?" suggested Mr. Maitland.
"Of course!" she cried. "Although I don't know any old ones. That
will mean all the fathers and Vic, Jack, Hugh and Rupert, and
"Ah! It has come to Malcolm, then?" murmured Vic. "Certainly, why
not? He loves me to call him Malcolm. And then we will have Mr.
Matheson. And we must have Mr. McGinnis--they have become such
great friends. And I should like to have the Mayor, he is so
funny. But perhaps he wouldn't fit. He DOES take up a lot of
"Cut him out!" said Victor with decision.
"And for ladies," continued Patricia, "just the relatives--all the
mothers and the sisters. That's enough."
"How lovely!" murmured Vic.
"Oh, if you want any other ladies, Vic," said Patricia severely,
"we shall be delighted to invite them for you."
"Me? Other ladies? What could I do with other ladies? Is not my
young life one long problem as it is? Ah! Speaking of problems,
that reminds me. I have a communication to make to you young
lady." Vic's manner suggested a profound and deadly mystery. He
led Patricia away from the others. "I have something to tell you,
Patricia," he said, abandoning all badinage. "I hate to do it but
it is right for you, for myself, for Adrien, and by Jove for poor
old Jack, too. Though, perhaps--well, let that go."
"Oh, Vic!" cried Patricia. "It is about the note!"
"Yes, Patricia. That note was given by Jack to Sam Wigglesworth,
who gave it to Rupert Stillwell."
"And he forgot?" gasped Patricia.
"Ah--ah--at least, he didn't deliver it. No, Patricia, we are
telling the whole truth. He didn't forget. You remember he asked
about Jack. There, I have given you all I know. Make of it what
"Shall I tell Adrien?" asked Patricia.
"I think certainly Adrien ought to know."
"Then I'll tell her to-night," said Patricia. "I want it all over
before our fete, which is day after to-morrow."
Rupert Stillwell had been in almost daily attendance upon Adrien
during the past two weeks, calling for her almost every afternoon
with his car. The day following he came for her according to his
custom. Upon Adrien's face there dwelt a gentle, tender, happy
look as if her heart were singing for very joy. That look upon her
face drove from Rupert all the hesitation and fear which had fallen
upon him during these days of her ministry to the wounded girl. He
took a sudden and desperate resolve that he would put his fate to
Adrien's answer was short and decisive.
"No, Rupert," she said. "I cannot. I thought for a little while,
long ago, that perhaps I might, but now I know that I never could
have loved you."
"You were thinking of that note of Jack Maitland's which I sent you
"Oh, no," she said gently. "Not that."
"I felt awfully mean about that, Adrien. I feel mean still. I
thought that as you had learned all about it from Victor, it was of
"Yes," she replied gently, "but I was the best judge of that."
"Adrien, tell me," Rupert's voice shook with the intensity of his
passion, "is there no hope?"
"No," she said, "there is no hope, Rupert."
"There is someone else," he said, savagely.
"Yes," she said, happily, "I think so."
"Someone," continued Rupert, his voice trembling with rage,
"someone who distributes his affections."
"No," she said, a happy smile in her eyes, "I think not."
"You love him?" he asked.
"Oh, yes," she whispered, with a little catch in her breath, "I
At the door on their return Jack met them. A shadow fell upon his
face, but with a quick resolve, he shouted a loud welcome to them.
"Hello, Adrien," he cried, as she came running up the steps. "You
apparently have had a lovely drive."
"Oh, wonderful, Jack. A wonderful drive," she replied.
"Yes, you do look happy."
"Oh, so happy. I was never so happy."
"Then," said Jack, dropping his voice, "may I congratulate you?"
"Yes, I think so," she said. "I hope so." And then laughed aloud
for very glee.
Jack turned from her with a quick sharp movement, went down the
steps and offering his hand to Rupert, said:
"Good luck, old chap. I wish you good luck."
"Eh? What? Oh, all right," said Rupert in a dazed sort of way.
But he didn't come into the house.
Never was there such a day in June, never such a fete. The park
never looked so lovely and never a party so gay disported
themselves in it and gayest of them all was Adrien. All day long
it seemed as if her very soul were laughing for joy. And all day
long she kept close beside Jack, chaffing him, laughing at him,
rallying him on his solemn face and driving him half-mad with her
Then home they all came to supper, where waited them McNish and his
mother with Mr. McGinnis, for they had been unable to join in the
"Ma certie, lassie! But ye're a sight for sare een. What hae ye
bin daein tae her, Mr. Jack," said Mrs. McNish, as she welcomed
them at the door.
"The Lord only knows," said Jack.
"But, man, look at her!" exclaimed the old lady.
"I have been, all day long," replied Jack with a gallant attempt at
"Oh, Mrs. McNish," cried the girl, rippling with joyous laughter,
"he won't even look at me. He just--what do you say--glowers,
that's it--glowers at me. And we have had such a wonderful day.
Come, Jack, get yourself ready for supper. You have only a few
She caught her arm through his and laughing shamelessly into his
eyes, drew him away.
"I say, Adrien," said Jack, driven finally to desperation and
drawing her into the quiet of the library, "I am awfully glad you
are so happy and all that, but I don't see the necessity of rubbing
it into a fellow. You know how I feel. I am glad for you and--I
am glad for Rupert. Or, at least I told him so."
"But, Jack," said the girl, her eyes burning with a deep inner
glow, "Rupert has nothing to do with it. Rupert, indeed," and she
laughed scornfully. "Oh, Jack, why can't you see?"
"See what?" he said crossly.
"Jack," she said softly, turning toward him and standing very near
him, "you remember the note you sent me?"
"The note you sent the night of the hockey dance?"
"Yes," said Jack bitterly, "I remember."
"And you remember, too, how horrid I was to you the next time I saw
you? How horrid? Oh, Jack, it broke my heart." Her voice
faltered a moment and her shining eyes grew dim. "I was so horrid
"Oh, no," said Jack coolly, "you were kind. You were very kind and
sisterly, as I remember."
"Jack," she said and her breath began to come hurriedly, "I got
that note yesterday. Only yesterday, Jack."
"Yes, only yesterday. And I read it, Jack," she added with a happy
laugh. "And in that note, Jack, you said--do you remember--"
But Jack stood gazing stupidly at her. She pulled the note from
"Oh, Jack, you said--"
Still Jack gazed at her.
"Jack, you will kill me. Won't you hurry? Oh, I can't wait a
moment longer. You said you were going to tell me something,
Jack." She stood radiant, breathless and madly alluring. "And oh,
Jack, won't you tell me?"
"Adrien," said Jack, his voice husky and uncontrolled. "Do you
mean that you--"
"Oh, Jack, tell me quick," she said, swaying toward him. And while
she clung to him taking his kisses on her lips, Jack told her.