Part 3 out of 8
"To allow that brute to get possession of that lovely girl."
"But, Jack," persisted his sister. "Brute?"
"Sybil, I have seen them with women, their own and other women;
and, now listen to me, I have yet to see the German who regards or
treats his frau as an English gentleman treats his wife. That is
putting it mildly."
"It ought to be stopped."
"Well, stop it then."
"I wish to God I could," said her brother.
YOU FORGOT ME
The Lakeside House, substantially built of logs, with "frame"
kitchen attached, stood cosily among the clump of trees, poplar and
spruce, locally described as a bluff. The bluff ran down to the
little lake a hundred yards away, itself an expansion of Wolf
Willow Creek. The whitewashed walls gleaming through its festoons
of Virginia creeper, a little lawn bordered with beds filled with
hollyhocks, larkspur, sweet-william and other old-fashioned flowers
and flanked by a heavy border of gorgeous towering sunflowers, gave
a general air, not only of comfort and thrift, but of refinement as
well, too seldom found in connection with the raw homesteads of the
new western country.
At a little distance from the house, at the end of a lane leading
through the bluff, were visible the stables, granary and other
outhouses, with corral attached.
Within, the house fulfilled the promise of its external appearance
and surroundings. There was dignity without stiffness, comfort
without luxury, simplicity without any suggestion of the poverty
that painfully obtrudes itself.
At the open window whose vine shade at once softened the light and
invited the summer airs, sat Mrs. Gwynne, with her basket of
mending at her side. Eight years of life on an Alberta ranch had
set their mark upon her. The summers' suns and winters' frosts and
the eternal summer and winter winds had burned and browned the
soft, fair skin of her earlier days. The anxieties inevitable to
the struggle with poverty had lined her face and whitened her hair.
But her eyes shone still with the serene light of a soul that
carries within it the secret of triumph over the carking cares of
Seated beside her was her eldest daughter Kathleen, sewing; and
stretched upon the floor lay Nora, frankly idle and half asleep,
listening to the talk of the other two. Their talk turned upon the
theme never long absent from their thought--that of ways and means.
"Tell you what, Mummie," droned Nora, lazily extending her lithe
young body to its utmost limits, "there is a simple way out of our
never ending worries, namely, a man, a rich man, if handsome, so
much the better, but rich he must be, for Kathleen. They say they
are hanging round the Gateway City of the West in bunches. How
about it, Kate?"
"My dear Nora," gently chided her mother, "I wish you would not
talk in that way. It is not quite nice. In my young days--"
"In your young days I know just exactly what happened, Mother.
There was always a long queue of eligible young men dangling after
the awfully lovely young Miss Meredith, and before she was well out
of her teens the gallant young Gwynne carried her off."
"We never talked about those things, my dear," said her mother,
shaking her head at her.
"You didn't need to, Mother."
"Well, if it comes to that, Nora," said her sister, "I don't think
you need to, very much, either. You have only got to look at--"
"Halt!" cried Nora, springing to her feet. "But seriously, Mother
dear, I think we can weather this winter right enough. Our food
supply is practically visible. We have oats enough for man and
beast, a couple of pigs to kill, a steer also, not to speak of
chickens and ducks. We shall have some cattle to sell, and if our
crops are good we ought to be able to pay off those notes. Oh, why
will Dad buy machinery?"
"My dear," said her mother with gentle reproach, "your father says
machinery is cheaper than men and we really cannot do without
"That's all right, Mother. I'm not criticising father. He is a
perfect dear and I am awfully glad he has got that Inspectorship."
"Yes," replied her mother, "your father is suited to his new work
and likes it. And Larry will be finishing his college this year,
I think. And he has earned it too," continued the mother. "When
I think of all he has done and how generously he has turned
his salary into the family fund, and how often he has been
disappointed--" Here her voice trembled a little.
Nora dropped quickly to her knees, taking her mother in her arms.
"Don't we all know, Mother, what he has done? Shall I ever forget
those first two awful years, the winter mornings when he had to get
up before daylight to get the house warm, and that awful school.
Every day he had to face it, rain, sleet, or forty below. How
often I have watched him in the school, always so white and tired.
But he never gave up. He just would not give up. And when those
big boys were unruly--I could have killed those boys--he would
always keep his temper and joke and jolly them into good order.
And all the time I knew how terribly his head was aching. What are
you sniffling about, Kate?"
"I think it was splendid, just splendid, Nora," cried Kathleen,
swiftly wiping away her tears. "But I can't help crying, it was
all so terrible. He never thought of himself, and year after year
he gave up his money--"
"Hello!" cried a voice at the door. "Who gave up his money and to
whom and is there any more around?" His eye glanced around the
group. "What's up, people? Mummie, are these girls behaving
badly? Let me catch them at it!" The youth stood smiling down
upon them. His years in the West had done much for him. He was
still slight, but though his face was pale and his body thin, his
movements suggested muscular strength and sound health. He had not
grown handsome. His features were irregular, mouth wide, cheek
bones prominent, ears large; yet withal there was a singular
attractiveness about his appearance and manner. His eyes were
good; grey-blue, humorous, straight-looking eyes they were, deep
set under overhanging brows, and with a whimsical humour ever
lingering about them; over the eyes a fore-head, broad, suggesting
intellect, and set off by heavy, waving, dark hair.
"Who gave his money? I insist upon knowing. No reply, eh? I have
evidently come upon a deep and deadly plot. Mother?--no use asking
you. Kathleen, out with it."
"You gave your money," burst forth Nora in a kind of passion as she
flew at him, "and everything else. But now that's all over. You
are going to finish your college course this year, that's what."
"Oh, that's it, eh? I knew there was some women's scheme afloat.
Well, children," said the youth, waving his hand over them in
paternal benediction, "since this thing is up we might as well
settle it 'right here and n-a-o-w,' as our American friend, Mr.
Ralph Waldo Farwell, would say, and a decent sort he is too. I
have thought this all out. Why should not a man gifted with a
truly great brain replete with grey matter (again in the style of
the aforesaid Farwell) do the thinking for his wimmin folk? Why
not? Hence the problem is already solved. The result is hereby
submitted, not for discussion but for acceptance, for acceptance
you understand, to-wit and namely, as Dad's J. P. law books have
it: I shall continue the school another year."
"You shan't," shouted Nora, seizing him by the arm and shaking him
with all the strength of her vigorous young body.
"Larry, dear!" said his mother.
"Oh, Larry!" exclaimed Kathleen.
"We shall then be able to pay off all our indebtedness," continued
Larry, ignoring their protests, "and that is a most important
achievement. This new job of Dad's means an addition to our
income. The farm management will remain in the present capable
hands. No, Miss Nora, I am not thinking of the boss, but of the
head, the general manager." He waved his hand toward his mother.
"The only change will be in the foreman. A new appointment will be
made, one who will bring to her task not only experience and with
it a practical knowledge, but the advantage of intellectual
discipline recently acquired at a famous educational centre; and
the whole concern will go on with its usual verve, swing, snap,
toward another year's success. Then next year me for the giddy
lights of the metropolitan city and the sacred halls of learning."
"And me," said Nora, "what does your high mightiness plan for me
this winter, pray?"
"Not quite so much truculence, young lady," replied her brother.
"For you, the wide, wide world, a visit to the seat of light and
learning already referred to, namely, Winnipeg."
For one single moment Nora looked at him. Then, throwing back her
head, she said with unsteady voice: "Not this time, old boy. One
man can lead a horse to water but ten cannot make him drink, and
you may as well understand now as later that this continual
postponement of your college career is about to cease. We have
settled it otherwise. Kathleen will take your school--an awful
drop for the kids, but what joy for the big boys. She and I will
read together in the evenings. The farm will go on. Sam and Joe
are really very good and steady; Joe at least, and Sam most of the
time. Dad's new work will not take him from home so much, he says.
And next year me for the fine arts and the white lights of
Winnipeg. That's all that needs to be said."
"I think, dear," said the mother, looking at her son, "Nora is
"Now, Mother," exclaimed Larry, "I don't like to hear your foot
come down just yet. I know that tone of finality, but listen--"
"We have listened," said Kathleen, "and we know we are right. I
shall take the school, Mr. Farwell--"
"Mr. Farwell, eh?--" exclaimed Nora significantly.
"Mr. Farwell has promised me," continued Kathleen, "indeed has
offered me, the school. Nora and I can study together. I shall
keep up my music. Nora will keep things going outside, mother will
look after every thing as usual, Dad will help us outside and in.
So that's settled."
"Settled!" cried her brother. "You are all terribly settling. It
seems to me that you apparently forget--"
Once more the mother interposed. "Larry, dear, Kathleen has put it
very well. Your father and I have talked it over"--the young
people glanced at each other and smiled at this ancient and well-
worn phrase--"we have agreed that it is better that you should
finish your college this winter. Of course we know you would
suggest delay, but we are anxious that you should complete your
"But, Mother, listen--" began Larry.
"Nonsense, Larry, 'children, obey your parents' is still valid,"
said Nora. "What are you but a child after all, though with your
teaching and your choral society conducting, and your nigger show
business, and your preaching in the church, and your popularity,
you are getting so uplifted that there's no holding you. Just make
up your mind to do your duty, do you hear? Your duty. Give up
this selfish determination to have your own way, this selfish
pleasing of yourself." Abruptly she paused, rushed at him, threw
her arms around his neck, and kissed him. "You darling old
humbug," she said with a very unsteady voice. "There, I will be
blubbering in a minute. I am off for the timber lot. What do you
say, Katty? It's cooler now. We'll go up the cool road. Are you
"Yes; wait until I change."
"All right, I will saddle up. You coming, Larry?"
"No, I'll catch up later."
"Now, Mother," warned Nora, "I know his ways and wiles. Remember
your duty to your children. You are also inclined to be horribly
selfish. Be firm. Hurry up, Kate."
Left alone with his mother, Larry went deliberately to work with
her. Well he knew the immovable quality of her resolution when
once her mind was made up. Patiently, quietly, steadily, he argued
with her, urging Nora's claims for a year at college.
"She needs a change after her years of hard work."
Her education was incomplete; the ground work was sound enough, but
she had come to the age when she must have those finishing touches
that girls require to fit them for their place in life. "She is a
splendid girl, but in some ways still a child needing discipline;
in other ways mature, too mature. She ought to have her chance and
ought to have it now." One never knew what would happen in the
case of girls.
His mother sighed. "Poor Nora, she has had discipline enough of a
kind, and hard discipline it has been indeed for you all."
"Nonsense, Mother, we have had a perfectly fine time together, all
of us. God knows if any one has had a hard time it is not the
children in this home. I do not like to think of those awful
winters, Mother, and of the hard time you had with us all."
"A hard time!" exclaimed his mother. "I, a hard time, and with you
all here beside me, and all so well and strong? What more could I
want?" The amazed surprise in her face stirred in her son a quick
rush of emotion.
"Oh, Mother, Mother, Mother," he whispered in her ear. "There is
no one like you. Did you ever in all your life seek one thing for
yourself, one thing, one little thing? Away back there in Ontario
you slaved and slaved and went without things yourself that all the
rest of us might get them. Here it has been just the same.
Haven't I seen your face and your hands, your poor hands,"--here
the boy's voice broke with an indignant passion--"blue with the
cold when you could not get furs to protect them? Never, never
shall I forget those days." The boy stopped abruptly, unable to go
Quickly the mother drew her son toward her. "Larry, my son, my
son, you must never think that a hard time. Did ever a woman have
such joy as I? When I think of other mothers and of other
children, and then think of you all here, I thank God every day and
many times a day that he has given us each other. And, Larry, my
son, let me say this, and you will remember it afterwards. You
have been a continual joy to me, always, always. You have never
given me a moment's anxiety or pain. Remember that. I continually
thank God for you. You have made my life very happy."
The boy put his face down on her lap with his arms tight around her
waist. Never in their life together had they been able to open
these deep, sacred chambers in their souls to each other's gaze.
For some moments he remained thus, then lifting up his face, he
kissed her again and again, her forehead, her eyes, her lips. Then
rising to his feet, he stood with his usual smile about his lips.
"You always beat me. But will you not think this all over again
carefully, and we will do what you say? But will you promise,
Mother, to think it over again and look at my side of it too?"
"Yes, Larry, I promise," said his mother. "Now run after the
girls, and I shall have tea ready for you."
As Larry rode down the lane he saw the young German, Ernest
Switzer, and his sister riding down the trail and gave them a call.
They pulled up and waited.
"Hello, Ernest; whither bound? How are you, Dorothea?"
"Home," said the young man, "and you?"
"Going up by the timber lot, around by the cool road. The girls
are on before."
"Ah, so?" said the young man, evidently waiting for an invitation.
"Do you care to come? It's not much longer that way," said Larry.
"I might," said the young man. Then looking doubtfully at his
sister, "You cannot come very well, Dorothea, can you?"
"No, that is, I'm afraid not," she replied. She was a pretty girl
with masses of yellow hair, light blue eyes, a plump, kindly face
and a timid manner. As she spoke she, true to her German training,
evidently waited for an indication of her brother's desire.
"There are the cows, you know," continued her brother.
"Yes, there are the cows," her face clouding as she spoke.
"Oh, rot!" said Larry, "you don't milk until evening, and we get
back before tea. Come along."
Still the girl hesitated. "Well," said her brother brusquely, "do
you want to come?"
She glanced timidly at his rather set face and then at Larry. "I
don't know. I am afraid that--"
"Oh, come along, Dorothea, do you hear me telling you? You will be
in plenty of time and your brother will help you with the milking."
"Ernest help! Oh, no!"
"Not on your life!" said that young man. "I never milk. I haven't
for years. Well, come along then," he added in a grudging voice.
"That is fine," said Larry. "But, Dorothea, you ought to make him
learn to milk. Why shouldn't he? The lazy beggar. Do you mean to
say that he never helps with the milking?"
"Oh, never," said Dorothea.
"Our men don't do women's work," said Ernest. "It is not the
German way. It is not fitting."
"And what about women doing men's work?" said Larry. "It seems to
me I have seen German women at work in the fields up in the
"I have no doubt you have," replied Ernest stiffly. "It is the
"You make me tired," said Larry, "the German custom indeed! Does
that make it right?"
"For us, yes," replied Ernest calmly.
"But you are Canadians, are you not? Are there to be different
standards in Canada for different nationalities?"
"Oh, the Germans will follow the German way. Because it is German,
and demonstrated through experience to be the best. Look at our
people. Look at our prosperity at home, at our growth in
population, at our wealth, at our expansion in industry and
commerce abroad. Look at our social conditions and compare them
with those in this country or in any other country in the world.
Who will dare to say that German methods and German customs are not
best, at least for Germans? But let us move a little faster,
otherwise we shall never catch up with them." He touched his
splendid broncho into a sharp gallop, the other horses following
more slowly behind.
"He is very German, my brother," said Dorothea. "He thinks he is
Canadian, but he is not the same since he went over Home. He is
talking all the time about Germany, Germany, Germany. I hate it."
Her blue eyes flashed fire and her usually timid voice vibrated
with an intense feeling. Larry gazed at her in astonishment.
"You may look at me, Larry," she cried. "I am German but I do not
like the German ways. I like the Canadian ways. The Germans treat
their women like their cows. They feed them well, they keep them
warm because--because--they have calves--I mean the cows--and the
women have kids. I hate the German ways. Look at my mother. What
is she in that house? Day and night she has worked, day and night,
saving money--and what for? For Ernest. Running to wait on him
and on Father and they never know it. It's women's work with us to
wait on men, and that is the way in the Settlement up there. Look
at your mother and you. Mein Gott! I could kill them, those men!"
"Why, Dorothea, you amaze me. What's up with you? I never heard
you talk like this. I never knew that you felt like this."
"No, how could you know? Who would tell you? Not Ernest," she
"But, Dorothea, you are happy, are you not?"
"Happy, I was until I knew better, till two years ago when I saw
your mother and you with her. Then Ernest came back thinking
himself a German officer--he is an officer, you know--and the way
he treated our mother and me!"
"Treated your mother! Surely he is not unkind to your mother?"
Larry had a vision of a meek, round-faced, kindly, contented woman,
who was obviously proud of her only son.
"Kind, kind," cried Dorothea, "he is kind as German sons are kind.
But you cannot understand. Why did I speak to you of this? Yes, I
will tell you why," she added, apparently taking a sudden resolve.
"Let's go slowly. Ernest is gone anyway. I will tell you why.
Before Ernest went away he was more like a Canadian boy. He was
good to his mother. He is good enough still but--oh, it is so hard
to show you. I have seen you and your mother. You would not let
your mother brush your boots for you, you would not sit smoking and
let her carry in wood in the winter time, you would not stand
leaning over the fence and watch your mother milk the cow. Mein
Gott! Ernest, since he came back--the women are only good for
waiting on him, for working in the house or on the farm. His wife,
she will not work in the fields; Ernest is too rich for that. But
she will not be like"--here the girl paused abruptly, a vivid
colour dyeing her fair skin--"like your wife. I would die sooner
than marry a German man."
"But Ernest is not like that, Dorothea. He is not like that with
my sisters. Why, he is rather the other way, awfully polite and
all that sort of thing, you know."
"Yes, that's the way with young German gentlemen to young ladies,
that is, other people's ladies. But to their own, no. And I must
tell you. Oh, I am afraid to tell you," she added breathlessly.
"But I will tell you, you have been so kind, so good to me. You
are my friend, and you will not tell. Promise me you will never
tell." The girl's usually red face was pale, her voice was hoarse
"What is the matter, Dorothea? Of course I won't tell."
"Ernest wants to marry your sister, Kathleen. He is just mad to
get her, and he always gets his way too. I would not like to see
your sister his wife. He would break her heart and," she added in
a lower voice, "yours too. But remember you are not to tell. You
are not to let him know I told you." A real terror shone in her
eyes. "Do you hear me?" she cried. "He would beat me with his
whip. He would, he would."
"Beat you, beat you?" Larry pulled up his horse short. "Beat you
in this country--oh, Dorothea!"
"They do. Our men do beat their women, and Ernest would too. The
women do not think the same way about it as your women. You will
not tell?" she urged.
"What do you think I am, Dorothea? And as for beating you, let me
catch him. By George, I'd, I'd--"
"What?" said Dorothea, turning her eyes full upon him, her pale
Larry laughed. "Well, he's a big chap, but I'd try to knock his
block off. But it's nonsense. Ernest is not that kind. He's an
awfully good sort."
"He is, he is a good sort, but he is also a German officer and, ah,
you cannot understand, but do not let him have your sister. I have
told you. Come, let us go quickly."
They rode on in silence, but did not overtake the others until they
reached the timber lot where they found the party waiting. With
what Dorothea had just told him in his mind, Larry could not help a
keen searching of Kathleen's face. She was quietly chatting with
the young German, with face serene and quite untouched with
anything but the slightest animation. "She is not worrying over
anything," said Larry to himself. Then he turned and looked upon
the face of the young man at her side. A shock of surprise, of
consternation, thrilled him. The young man's face was alight with
an intensity of eagerness, of desire, that startled Larry and
filled him with a new feeling of anxiety, indeed of dismay.
"Oh, you people are slow," cried Nora. "What is keeping you? Come
along or we shall be late. Shall we go through the woods straight
to the dump, or shall we go around?"
"Let's go around," cried Kathleen. "Do you know I have not been
around for ever so long?"
"Yes," said Larry, "let's go around by Nora's mine."
"Nora's mine!" exclaimed Ernest. "Do you know I've heard about
that mine a great deal but I have never seen Nora's mine?"
"Come along, then," said Nora, "but there's almost no trail and we
shall have to hurry while we can. There's only a cow track."
"Move along then," said her brother; "show us the way and we will
follow. Go on, Ernest."
But Ernest apparently had difficulty with his broncho so that he
was found at the rear of the line with Kathleen immediately in
front of him. The cow trail led out of the coolee over a shoulder
of a wooded hill and down into a ravine whose sharp sides made the
riding even to those experienced westerners a matter of difficulty,
in places of danger. At the bottom of the ravine a little torrent
boiled and foamed on its way to join Wolf Willow Creek a mile
further down. After an hour's struggle with the brushwood and
fallen timber the party was halted by a huge spruce tree which had
fallen fair across the trail.
"Where now, boss?" cried Larry to Nora, who from her superior
knowledge of the ground, had been leading the party.
"This is something new," answered Nora. "I think we should cross
the water and try to break through to the left around the top of
"No," said Ernest, "the right looks better to me, around the root
here. It is something of a scramble, but it is better than the
"Come along," said Nora; "this is the way of the trail, and we can
get through the brush of that top all right."
"I am for the right. Come, let's try it, Kathleen, shall we?" said
Kathleen hesitated. "Come, we'll beat them out. Right turn,
The commanding tones of the young man appeared to dominate the
girl. She set her horse to the steep hillside, following her
companion to the right. A steep climb through a tangle of
underbrush brought them into the cleared woods, where they paused
to breathe their animals.
"Ah, that was splendidly done. You are a good horsewoman," said
Ernest. "If you only had a horse as good as mine we could go
anywhere together. You deserve a better horse, too. I wonder if
you know how fine you look."
"My dear old Kitty is not very quick nor very beautiful, but she
is very faithful, and so kind," said Kathleen, reaching down and
patting her mare on the nose. "Shall we go on?"
"We need not hurry," replied her companion. "We have beaten them
already. I love the woods here, and, Kathleen, I have not seen you
for ever so long, for nine long months. And since your return
fifteen days ago I have seen you only once, only once."
"I am sorry," said Kathleen, hurrying her horse a little. "We
happened to be out every time you called."
"Other people have seen you," continued the young man with a note
almost of anger in his voice. "Everywhere I hear of you, but I
cannot see you. At church--I go to church to see you--but that,
that Englishman is with you. He walks with you, you go in his
motor car, he is in your house every day."
"What are you talking about, Ernest? Mr. Romayne? Of course.
Mother likes him so much, and we all like him."
"Your mother, ah!" Ernest's tone was full of scorn.
"Yes, my mother--we all like him, and his sister, Mrs. Waring-
Gaunt, you know. They are our nearest neighbours, and we have come
to know them very well. Shall we go on?"
"Kathleen, listen to me," said the young man.
At this point a long call came across the ravine.
"Ah, there they are," cried the girl. "Let's hurry, please do."
She brought her whip down unexpectedly on Kitty's shoulders. The
mare, surprised at such unusual treatment from her mistress, sprang
forward, slipped on the moss-covered sloping rock, plunged,
recovered herself, slipped again, and fell over on her side. At
her first slip, the young man was off his horse, and before the
mare finally pitched forward was at her head, and had caught the
girl from the saddle into his arms. For a moment she lay there
white and breathing hard.
"My God, Kathleen!" he cried. "You are hurt? You might have been
killed." His eyes burned like two blazing lights, his voice was
husky, his face white. Suddenly crushing her to him, he kissed her
on the cheek and again on her lips. The girl struggled to get
"Oh, let me go, let me go," she cried. "How can you, how can you?"
But his arms were like steel about her, and again and again he
continued to kiss her, until, suddenly relaxing, she lay white and
shuddering in his arms.
"Kathleen," he said, his voice hoarse with passion, "I love you, I
love you. I want you. Gott in Himmel, I want you. Open your
eyes, Kathleen, my darling. Speak to me. Open your eyes. Look at
me. Tell me you love me." But still she lay white and shuddering.
Suddenly he released her and set her on her feet. She stood
looking at him with quiet, searching eyes.
"You love me," she said, her voice low and quivering with a
passionate scorn, "and you treat me so? Let us go." She moved
toward her horse.
"Kathleen, hear me," he entreated. "You must hear me. You shall
hear me." He caught her once more by the arm. "I forgot myself.
I saw you lying there so white. How could I help it? I meant no
harm. I have loved you since you were a little girl, since that
day I saw you first herding the cattle. You had a blue dress and
long braids. I loved you then. I have loved you every day since.
I think of you and I dream of you. The world is full of you. I am
offering you marriage. I want you to be my wife." The hands that
clutched her arm were shaking, his voice was thick and broken. But
still she stood with her face turned from him, quietly trying to
break from his grasp. But no word did she speak.
"Kathleen, I forgot myself," he said, letting go of her arm. "I
was wrong, but, my God, Kathleen, I am not stone, and when I felt
your heart beat against mine--"
"Oh," she cried, shuddering and drawing further away from him.
"--and your face so white, your dear face so near mine, I forgot
"No," said the girl, turning her face toward him and searching him
with her quiet, steady, but contemptuous eyes, "you forgot me."
EXCEPT HE STRIVE LAWFULLY
The Wolf Willow Dominion Day Celebration Committee were in session
in the schoolhouse with the Reverend Evans Rhye in the chair, and
all of the fifteen members in attendance. The reports from the
various sub-committees had been presented and approved.
The programme for the day was in the parson's hand. "A fine
programme, ladies and gentlemen, thanks to you all, and especially
to our friend here," said Mr. Rhye, placing his hand on Larry's
A chorus of approval greeted his remark, but Larry protested. "Not
at all. Every one was keen to help. We are all tremendous
Canadians and eager to celebrate Dominion Day."
"Well, let us go over it again," said Mr. Rhye. "The football
match with the Eagle Hill boys is all right. How about the polo
match with the High River men, Larry?"
"The captain of the High River team wrote to express regret that
two of his seniors would not be available, but that he hoped to
give us a decent game."
"There will only be one fault with the dinner and the tea, Mrs.
"And what will that be, sir?" enquired Mrs. Kemp, who happened to
be Convener of the Refreshment Committee.
"They will receive far too much for their money," said Mr. Rhye.
"How about the evening entertainment, Larry?" he continued.
"Everything is all right, I think, sir," said Larry.
"Are the minstrels in good form?" enquired Mrs. Waring-Gaunt.
"This is your last appearance, you know, and you must go out in a
blaze of glory."
"We hope to get through somehow," said Larry.
"And the speakers?" enquired Mr. Rhye.
"Both will be on hand. Mr. Gilchrist promises a patriotic address.
Mr. Alvin P. Jones will represent Wolf Willow in a kind of local
"This is all perfectly splendid," said Mr. Rhye, "and I cannot tell
you how grateful I am to you all. We ought to have a memorable day
And a memorable day it was. The weather proved worthy of Alberta's
best traditions, for it was sunny, with a fine sweeping breeze to
temper the heat and to quicken the pulses with its life-bringing
ozone fresh from the glacier gorges and the pine forests of the
The captain of the Wolf Willow football team was awake and afoot
soon after break of day that he might be in readiness for the Eagle
Hill team when they arrived. Sam was in his most optimistic mood.
His team, he knew, were in the finest condition and fit for their
finest effort. Everything promised victory. But alas! for Sam's
hopes. At nine o'clock a staggering blow fell when Vial, his
partner on the right wing of the forward line, rode over with the
news that Coleman, their star goal-keeper, their ultimate reliance
on the defence line, had been stepped on by a horse and rendered
useless for the day. It was, indeed, a crushing calamity. Sam
spent an hour trying to dig up a substitute. The only possible
substitutes were Hepworth and Biggs, neither of them first class
men but passable, and Fatty Rose. The two former, however, had
gone for the day to Calgary, and Fatty Rose was hopelessly slow.
Sam discussed the distressing situation with such members of the
team as could be hastily got together.
"Dere's dat new feller," suggested Joe.
"That's so," said Vial, familiarly known as Bottles. "That chap
Sykes, Farwell's friend. He's a dandy dribbler. He could take
Cassap's place on left wing and let Cassap take goal."
With immense relief the team accepted this solution of the
difficulty. But gloom still covered Sam's face. "He's only been
here two weeks," he said, "and you know darn well the rule calls
"Oh, hang it!" said Bottles, "he's going to be a resident all
right. He's a real resident right now, and anyway, they won't know
anything about it."
"Oh, cut it out," said Sam, suddenly flaring into wrath. "You know
we can't do that sort of thing. It ain't the game and we ain't
goin' to do it."
"What ain't the game?" enquired Larry, who had come upon the
anxious and downcast group.
Farwell told him the calamitous news and explained the problem
under discussion. "We'd play Sykes, only he hasn't been here a
month yet, and Sam won't stand for it," he said.
"Of course Sam won't stand for it, and the Captain is right,"
said Larry. "Is there nobody else, Sam?" Sam shook his head
despondently. "Would I be any good, Sam? I am not keen about it,
but if you think I could take Cassap's place on left wing, he could
Sam brightened up a little. "Guess we can't do no better," he said
doubtfully. "I mean," he added in answer to the shout of laughter
from the team--"Aw, shut up, can that cackle. We know the Master
hates football an' this is goin' to be a real fightin' game. He'll
get all knocked about an' I don't want that. You know he'll be
takin' all kinds of chances."
"Oh, quit, Sam. I am in pretty good shape," said Larry. "They
can't kill me. That's the best I can do anyway, so let's get to
The situation was sufficiently gloomy to stir Joe to his supremest
efforts and to kindle Sam's spirit to a blazing flame. "We don't
need Sykes nor nobody else," he shouted to his men as they moved on
to the field. "They can wear their boots out on that defence line
of ours an' be derned to 'em. An', Bottles, you got to play the
game of your life to-day. None of your fancy embroidery, just
plain knittin'. Every feller on the ball an' every feller play to
his man. There'll be a lot of females hangin' around, but we don't
want any frills for the girls to admire. But all at it an' all the
time." Sam's little red eyes glowed with even a more fiery hue
than usual; his rat-like face assumed its most belligerent aspect.
Before the match Larry took the Eagle Hill captain, a young
Englishman who had been trying for ten years to make a living on a
ranch far up among the foothills and was only beginning to succeed,
to his mother, who had been persuaded to witness the game. They
found her in Kathleen's care and under instruction from young
Farwell as to the fundamental principles of the game. Near them a
group of men were standing, among whom were Switzer, Waring-Gaunt,
and Jack Romayne, listening to Farwell's dissertation.
"You see, Mrs. Gwynne," he said, "no one may handle the ball--head,
feet, body, may be used, but not the hands."
"But I understand they sometimes hurt each other, Mr. Farwell."
"Oh, accidents will happen even on the farm, Mrs. Gwynne. For
instance, Coleman this morning had a horse step on his foot,
necessitating Larry's going on."
"Is Lawrence going to play?" said Mrs. Gwynne. "Ah, here he is.
Lawrence, are you in good condition? You have not been playing."
"I am not really very fit, Mother, not very hard, but I have been
running a good deal. I don't expect I shall be much use. Sam is
quite dubious about it."
"He will be all right, Mrs. Gwynne," said Farwell confidently. "He
is the fastest runner in the team. If he were only twenty pounds
heavier and if he were a bit more keen about the game he would be a
"Why don't they play Sykes?" inquired Kathleen. "I heard some of
the boys say this morning that Sykes was going to play. He is
quite wonderful, I believe."
"He is," replied Larry, "quite wonderful, but unfortunately he is
not eligible. But let me introduce Mr. Duckworth, Captain of our
Mrs. Gwynne received the young man with a bright smile. "I am
sorry I cannot wish you victory, and all the more now that my own
son is to be engaged. But I don't understand, Larry," she
continued, "why Mr. Sykes cannot play."
"Why, because there's a League regulation, Mother, that makes a
month's residence in the district necessary to a place on the team.
Unfortunately Sykes has been here only two weeks, and so we are
unwilling to put one over on our gallant foe. Got to play the
game, eh, Duckworth?"
Duckworth's face grew fiery red. "Yes, certainly," he said.
"Rather an awkward rule but--"
"You see, Mother, we want to eliminate every sign of professionalism,"
said Larry, "and emphasise the principle of local material for
"Ah, I see, and a very good idea, I should say," said his mother.
"The Eagle Hill team, for instance, will be made up of Eagle Hill
men only. That is really much better for the game because you get
behind your team all the local pride and enthusiasm."
"A foolish rule, I call it," said Switzer abruptly to Kathleen,
"and you can't enforce it anyway. Who can tell the personality of
a team ten, twenty or fifty miles away?"
"I fancy they can tell themselves," said Jack Romayne. "Their
Captain can certify to his men."
"Aha!" laughed Switzer. "That's good. The Captain, I suppose, is
keen to win. Do you think he would keep a man off his team who is
his best player, and who may bring him the game?" Switzer's face
was full of scorn.
"I take it they are gentlemen," was Romayne's quiet rejoinder.
"Of course, Mr. Romayne," said Mrs. Gwynne. "That gets rid of all
the difficulty. Otherwise it seems to me that all the pleasure
would be gone from the contest, the essential condition of which is
keeping to the rules."
"Good for you, Mother. You're a real sport," said Larry.
"Besides," replied his mother, "we have Scripture for it. You
remember what it says? 'If a man strive for masteries yet is he
not crowned except he strive lawfully.' 'Except he strive
lawfully,' you see. The crown he might otherwise win would bring
neither honour nor pleasure."
"Good again, Mother. You ought to have a place on the League
committee. We shall have that Scripture entered on the rules. But
I must run and dress. Farwell, you can take charge of Duckworth."
But Duckworth was uneasy to be gone. "If you will excuse me, Mrs.
Gwynne, I must get my men together."
"Well, Mr. Duckworth," said Mrs. Gwynne, smiling on him as she gave
him her hand, "I am sorry we cannot wish you a victory, but we can
wish you your very best game and an honourable defeat."
"Thank you," said Duckworth. "I feel you have done your best."
"Come and see us afterward, Mr. Duckworth. What a splendid young
man," she continued, as Duckworth left the party and set off to get
his men together with the words "except he strive lawfully" ringing
in his ears.
"She's a wonder," he said to himself. "I wonder how it is she got
to me as she has. I know. She makes me think--" But Duckworth
refused even to himself to say of whom she made him think. "Except
he strive lawfully" the crown would bring "neither honour nor
pleasure." Those words, and the face which had suddenly been
recalled to Duckworth's memory reconstructed his whole scheme of
football diplomacy. "By George, we cannot play Liebold; we can't
do it. The boys will kick like steers, but how can we? I'm up
against a fierce proposition, all right."
And so he found when he called his men together and put to them the
problem before him. "It seems a rotten time to bring this matter
up just when we are going on to the ground, but I never really
thought much about it till that little lady put it to me as I told
you. And, fellows, I have felt as if it were really up to me to
put it before you. They have lost their goal man, Coleman--there's
no better in the League--and because of this infernal rule they
decline to put on a cracking good player. They are playing the
game on honour, and they are expecting us to do the same, and as
that English chap says, they expect us to be gentlemen. I
apologise to you all, and if you say go on as we are, I will go on
because I feel I ought to have kicked before. But I do so under
protest and feeling like a thief. I suggest that Harremann take
Liebold's place. Awfully sorry about it, Liebold, and I apologise
to you. I can't tell you how sorry I am, boys, but that's how it
is with me."
There was no time for discussion, and strangely enough there was
little desire for it, the Captain's personality and the action of
the Wolf Willow team carrying the proposition through. Harremann
took his place on the team, and Liebold made his contribution that
day from the side lines. But the team went on to the field with a
sense that whatever might be the outcome of the match they had
begun the day with victory.
The match was contested with the utmost vigour, not to say
violence; but there was a absence of the rancour which had too
often characterised the clashing of these teams on previous
occasions, the Eagle Hill team carrying on to the field a new
respect for their opponents as men who had shown a true sporting
spirit. And by the time the first quarter was over their action in
substituting an inferior player for Liebold for honour's sake was
known to all the members of the Wolf Willow team, and awakened in
them and in their friends among the spectators a new respect for
their enemy. The match resulted in a victory for the home team,
but the generous applause which followed the Eagle Hill team from
the field and which greeted them afterward at the dinner where they
occupied an honoured place at the table set apart for distinguished
guests, and the excellent dinner provided by the thrifty Ladies'
Aid of All Saints Church went far to soothe their wounded spirits
and to atone for their defeat.
"Awfully fine of you, Duckworth," said Larry, as they left the
table together. "That's the sort of thing that makes for clean
"I promised to see your mother after the match," said Duckworth.
"Can we find her now?"
"Sure thing," said Larry.
Mrs. Gwynne received the young man with hand stretched far out to
"You made us lose the game, Mrs. Gwynne," said Duckworth in a half-
shamed manner, "and that is one reason why I came to see you
"I?" exclaimed Mrs. Gwynne.
"Well, you quoted Scripture against us, and you know you can't
stand up against Scripture and hope to win, can you?" said
Duckworth with a laugh.
"Sit down here beside me, Mr. Duckworth," she said, her eyes
shining. "I won't pretend not to understand you;" she continued
when he had taken his place beside her. "I can't tell you how
proud I am of you."
"Thank you," said Duckworth. "I like to hear that. You see I
never thought about it very much. I am not excusing myself."
"No, I know you are not, but I heard about it, Mr. Duckworth. We
all think so much of you. I am sure your mother is proud of you."
Young Duckworth sat silent, his eyes fastened upon the ground.
"Please forgive me. Perhaps she is--no longer with you," said Mrs.
Gwynne softly, laying her hand upon his. Duckworth nodded,
refusing to look at her and keeping his lips firmly pressed
together. "I was wrong in what I said just now," she continued.
"She is with you still; she knows and follows all your doings, and
I believe she is proud of you."
Duckworth cleared his throat and said with an evident effort, "You
made me think of her to-day, and I simply had to play up. I must
go now. I must see the fellows." He rose quickly to his feet.
"Come and see us, won't you?" said Mrs. Gwynne.
"Won't I just," replied Duckworth, holding her hand a moment or
two. "I can't tell you how glad I am that I met you to-day."
"Oh, wait, Mr. Duckworth. Nora, come here. I want you to meet my
second daughter. Nora, this is Mr. Duckworth, the Captain."
"Oh, I know him, the Captain of the enemy," cried Nora.
"Of our friends, Nora," said her mother.
"All right, of our friends, now that we have beaten you, but I want
to tell you, Mr. Duckworth, that I could gladly have slain you many
"And why, pray?"
"Oh, you were so terribly dangerous, and as for Larry, why you just
played with him. It was perfectly maddening to me."
"All the same your brother got away from me and shot the winning
goal. He's fearfully fast."
"A mere fluke, I tell him."
"Don't you think it for one little minute. It was a neat bit of
THE SPIRIT Of CANADA
Whatever it was that rendered it necessary for Duckworth to "see
the fellows," that necessity vanished in the presence of Nora.
"Are you going to take in the polo?" he asked.
"Am I? Am I going to continue breathing?" cried Nora. "Come
along, Mother, we must go if we are to get a good place."
"May I find one for you," said Mr. Duckworth, quite forgetting that
he "must see the fellows," and thinking only of his good luck in
falling in with such a "stunning-looking girl." He himself had
changed into flannels, and with his athletic figure, his brown,
healthy face, brown eyes and hair, was a thoroughly presentable
young man. He found a place with ease for his party, a dozen
people offering to make room for them. As Mr. Duckworth let his
eyes rest upon the young lady at his side his sense of good-fortune
grew upon him, for Nora in white pique skirt and batiste blouse
smartly girdled with a scarlet patent leather belt, in white canvas
shoes and sailor hat, made a picture good to look at. Her dark
olive brown skin, with rich warm colour showing through the sunburn
of her cheeks, her dark eyes, and her hair for once "done up in
style" under Kathleen's supervision, against the white of her
costume made her indeed what her escort thought, "a stunning-
looking girl." Usually careless as to her appearance, she had
yielded to Kathleen's persuasion and had "gotten herself up to
kill." No wonder her friends of both sexes followed her with eyes
of admiration, for no one envied Nora, her frank manner, her
generous nature, her open scorn at all attempts to win admiration,
made her only friends.
"Bring your mother over here," cried Mrs. Waring-Gaunt, who
rejoiced exceedingly in the girl's beauty. "Why, how splendidly
you are looking to-day," she continued in a more confidential tone
as the party grouped themselves about her. "What have you been
doing to yourself? You are looking awfully fine."
"Am I?" said Nora, exceedingly pleased with herself. "I am awfully
glad. It is all Kathleen's doing. I got me the belt and the hat
new for this show."
"Very smart, that belt, my dear," said her friend.
"I rather fancy it myself, and Kathleen would do up my hair in this
new way," said Nora, removing her hat that the full glory of her
coiffure might appear. "Do you like it?"
"Perfectly spiffing!" ejaculated Mr. Duckworth, who had taken a
seat just behind her chair.
Nora threw him a challenging glance that made that young man's
heart skip a beat or two as all the excitements of the match had
"Are you a judge?" said the girl, tipping her saucy chin at him.
"Am I? With four sisters and dozens of cousins to practise on, I
fancy I might claim to be a regular bench show expert."
"Then," cried Nora with sudden animation, "you are the very man I
"Thank you so much," replied Mr. Duckworth fervently.
"I mean, perhaps you can advise me. Now as you look at me--" The
young man's eyes burned into hers so that with all her audacity
Nora felt the colour rising in her face. "Which would you suggest
as the most suitable style for me, the psyche knot or the neck
"I beg your pardon? I rather--"
"Or would you say the French twist?"
"Ah, the French twist--"
"Or simply marcelled and pomped?"
"I am afraid--"
"Or perhaps the pancake or the coronet?"
"Well," said the young man, desperately plunging, "the coronet I
should say would certainly not be inappropriate. It goes with
princesses, duchesses and that sort of thing. Don't you think so,
Mrs. Waring-Gaunt?" said Duckworth, hoping to be extricated. That
lady, however, gave him no assistance but continued to smile
affectionately at the girl beside her. "What style is this that
you have now adopted, may I ask?" inquired Mr. Duckworth cautiously.
"Oh, that's a combination of several. It's a creation of Kathleen's
which as yet has received no name."
"Then it should be named at once," said Duckworth with great
emphasis. "May I suggest the Thunderbolt? You see, of course--so
"They are coming on," cried Nora, turning her shoulder in disdain
upon the young man. "Look, there's your brother, Mrs. Waring-
Gaunt. I think he is perfectly splendid."
"Which is he?" said Mr. Duckworth, acutely interested.
"That tall, fine-looking man on the brown pony."
"Oh, yes, I see. Met him this morning. By Jove, he is some looker
too," replied Mr. Duckworth with reluctant enthusiasm.
"And there is the High River Captain," said Mrs. Waring-Gaunt, "on
"Oh, yes, Monteith, he played for All Canada last year, didn't he?"
said Nora with immense enthusiasm. "He is perfectly splendid."
"I hear the High River club has really sent only its second team,
or at least two of them," said Mrs. Waring-Gaunt. "Certainly
Tremaine is not with them."
"I hope they get properly trimmed for it," said Nora, indignantly.
The result of the match quite exceeded Nora's fondest hopes, for
the High River team, having made the fatal error of despising the
enemy, suffered the penalty of their mistake in a crushing defeat.
It was certainly a memorable day for Wolf Willow, whose inhabitants
were exalted to a height of glory as they never experienced in all
"Serves us right," said Monteith, the High River Captain,
apologising for his team's poor display to his friend, Hec Ross,
who had commanded the Wolf Willow team. "We deserved to be jolly
well licked, and we got what was coming to us."
"Oh, we're not worrying," replied the Wolf Willow Captain, himself
a sturdy horseman and one of the most famous stick handlers in the
West. "Of course, we know that if Murray and Knight had been with
you the result would have been different."
"I am not at all sure about that," replied Monteith. "That new man
of yours, Romayne, is a wonder. Army man, isn't he?"
"Yes, played in India, I believe."
"Oh, no wonder he's such a don at it. You ought to get together a
great team here, Ross, and I should like to bring our team down
again to give you a real game."
"Say two weeks. No. That throws it a little late for the harvest.
Say a week from to-day."
"I shall let you know to-night," said Ross. "You are staying for
the spellbinding fest and entertainment, are you not?"
"Sure thing; we are out for the whole day. Who are on for the
"Gilchrist for one, our Member for the Dominion, you know."
"Oh, yes, strong man, I believe. He's a Liberal, of Course."
"Yes," replied Ross, "he's a Grit all right, hide-bound too--"
"Which you are not, I take it," replied Monteith with a laugh.
"Traditionally I am a Conservative," said Ross, "but last election
I voted Liberal. I don't know how you were but I was keen on
"The contrary with me," replied Monteith. "Traditionally I am a
Liberal, but I voted Conservative."
"You voted against Reciprocity, you a western man voted against
a better market for our wheat and stuff, and against cheaper
"Yes, I knew quite well it would give us a better market for our
grain here, and it would give us cheaper machinery too, but--do you
really care to know why I switched?"
"Sure thing; I'd like awfully to hear if you don't mind. We are
not discussing politics, you understand."
"No. Well," said Monteith, "two things made me change my party.
In the first place, to be quite frank, I was afraid of American
domination. We are a small people yet. Their immense wealth would
overwhelm our manufacturers and flood our markets with cheap stuff,
and with trade dominance there would more easily go political
dominance. You remember Taft's speech? That settled it for me.
That was one thing. The other was the Navy question. I didn't
like Laurier's attitude. I am a Canadian, born right here in
Alberta, but I am an Imperialist. I am keen about the Empire and
that sort of thing. I believe that our destiny is with the Empire
and that with the Empire we shall attain to our best. And since
the Empire has protected us through all of our history, I believe
the time has come when we should make our contribution to its
defence. We ought to have a fleet, and that fleet in time of war
should automatically be merged with the Imperial Navy. That's how
I felt at the last election. This autonomy stuff of Laurier's is
all right, but it should not interfere with Imperial unity."
"It's a funny thing," replied Ross. "I take the opposite side on
both these points. I was born in the Old Country and like most Old
Country people believe in Free Trade. So I was keen to wipe out
all barriers between the United States and ourselves in trade. I
believe in trading wherever you can get the best terms. As for
American domination, I have not the slightest fear in the world of
the Yankees. They might flood our markets at first, probably
would, but they would certainly bring in capital. We need capital
badly, you know that. And why should not factories be established
on this side of the line with American money? Pennsylvania does
not hurt New York, nor Illinois Dakota. Why then, with all trade
barriers thrown down, should the United States hurt Canada? And
then on the other side, we get a market for everything we grow at
our doors. Reciprocity looked good to me. As for imperilling our
Imperial connections--I do not mean to be offensive at all--of
course you see what your position amounts to--that our financial
interests would swamp our loyalty, that our loyalty is a thing of
dollars and cents. My idea is that nothing in the world from the
outside can ever break the bonds that hold Canada to the Empire,
and after all, heart bonds are the strong bonds. Then in regard to
the Navy, I take the other view from you also. I believe I am a
better Canadian than you, although I am not Canadian born. I think
there's something awfully fine in Canada's splendid independence.
She wants to run her own ranch, and by George she will, and
everything on it. She is going to boss her own job and will allow
no one else to butt in. I agree with what you say about the
Empire. Canada ought to have a Navy and quick. She ought to take
her share of the burden of defence. But I agree here with Laurier.
I believe her ships should be under her own control. For after all
only the Canadian Government has the right to speak the word that
sends them out to war. Of course, when once Canada hands them over
to the Imperial Navy, they will fall into line and take their
orders from the Admiral that commands the fleet. Do you know I
believe that Laurier is right in sticking out for autonomy."
"I am awfully interested in what you say, and I don't believe we
are so far apart. It's a thousand pities they did not keep
together in the Commons. They could easily have worked it out."
"Yes, it was a beastly shame," replied Ross.
"But isn't it rather queer," said Monteith, "and isn't it
significant, too? Here I am, born in Canada, sticking out against
reciprocity and anxious to guard our Imperial connection and ready
to hand our Navy clean over to the Imperial authorities, and on the
other hand, there you are, born in the Old Country, you don't
appear to care a darn about Imperial connections. You let that
take care of itself, and you stick up for Canadian autonomy to the
"Well, for one thing," replied Ross, "we ought to get together on
the Navy business. On the trade question we represent, of course,
two schools of economics, but we ought not to mix up the flag with
our freight. This flag-flapping business makes me sick."
"There you are again," said Monteith. "Here I am, born right here
in the West, and yet I believe in all the flag-flapping you can
bring about and right here in this country too. Why, you know how
it is with these foreigners, Ruthenians, Russians, Germans, Poles.
Do you know that in large sections of this western country the
foreign vote controls the election? I believe we ought to take
every means to teach them to love the flag and shout for it too.
Oh, I know you Old Country chaps. You take the flag for granted,
and despise this flag-raising business. Let me tell you something.
I went across to Oregon a little while ago and saw something that
opened my eyes. In a little school in the ranching country in a
settlement of mixed foreigners--Swedes, Italians, Germans, Jews--
they had a great show they called 'saluting the flag.' Being
Scotch you despise the whole thing as a lot of rotten slushy
sentimentality, and a lot of Canadians agree with you. But let me
tell you how they got me. I watched those kids with their foreign
faces, foreign speech--you ought to hear them read--Great Scott,
you'd have to guess at the language. Then came this flag-saluting
business. A kid with Yiddish written all over his face was chosen
to carry in the flag, attended by a bodyguard for the colours, and
believe me they appeared as proud as Punch of the honour. They
placed the flag in position, sang a hymn, had a prayer, then every
kid at a signal shot out his right hand toward the flag held aloft
by the Yiddish colour bearer and pledged himself, heart, and soul,
and body, to his flag and to his country. The ceremony closed with
the singing of the national hymn, mighty poor poetry and mighty
hard to sing, but do you know listening to those kids and watching
their foreign faces I found myself with tears in my eyes and
swallowing like a darn fool. Ever since that day I believe in
"Maybe you are right," replied Ross. "You know we British folk are
so fearfully afraid of showing our feelings. We go along like
graven images; the more really stirred up, the more graven we
appear. But suppose we move over to the platform where the
speechifying is to be done."
In front of the school building a platform had been erected, and
before the stage, preparations had been made for seating the
spectators as far as the school benches and chairs from neighbours'
houses would go. The programme consisted of patriotic songs and
choruses with contributions from the minstrel company. The main
events of the evening, however, were to be the addresses, the
principal speech being by the local member for the Dominion
Parliament, Mr. J. H. Gilchrist, who was to be followed by a local
orator, Mr. Alvin P. Jones, a former resident of the United States,
but now an enthusiastic, energetic and most successful farmer and
business man, possessing one of the best appointed ranches in
Alberta. The chairman was, of course, Reverend Evans Rhye. The
parson was a little Welshman, fat and fussy and fiery of temper,
but his heart was warmly human, and in his ministry he manifested a
religion of such simplicity and devotion, of such complete
unselfishness as drew to him the loyal affection of the whole
community. Even such sturdy Presbyterians as McTavish, the Rosses,
Angus Frazer and his mother, while holding tenaciously and without
compromise to their own particular form of doctrine and worship,
yielded Mr. Rhye, in the absence of a church and minister of their
own denomination, a support and esteem unsurpassed even among his
own folk. Their attitude was considered to be stated with
sufficient clearness by Angus Frazer in McTavish's store one day.
"I am not that sure about the doctrine, but he has the right kind
of religion for me." And McTavish's reply was characteristic:
"Doctrine! He has as gude as you can expec' frae thae Episcopawlian
buddies. But he's a Godly man and he aye pays his debts whatever,"
which from McTavish was as high praise as could reasonably be
The audience comprised the total population of Wolf Willow and its
vicinity, as well as visitors from the country within a radius of
ten or fifteen miles.
Mr. J. H. Gilchrist, M. P., possessed the initial advantages of
Scotch parentage and of early Scotch training, and besides these he
was a farmer and knew the farmer's mind. To these advantages he
added those of a course of training in Toronto University in the
departments of metaphysics and economics, and an additional
advantage of five years' pedagogical experience. He possessed,
moreover, the gift of lucid and forceful speech. With such
equipment small wonder that he was in demand for just such occasions
as a Dominion Day celebration and in just such a community as Wolf
Willow. The theme of his address was Canadian Citizenship, Its
Duties and Its Responsibilities, a theme somewhat worn but
possessing the special advantage of being removed from the scope of
party politics while at the same time affording opportunity for the
elucidation of the political principles of that party which Mr.
Gilchrist represented, and above all for a fervid patriotic appeal.
With Scotch disdain of all that savoured of flattery or idle
compliment, Mr. Gilchrist plunged at once into the heart of his
"First, the area of Canada. Forty-six years ago, when Canada
became a nation, the Dominion possessed an area of 662,148 square
miles; to-day her area covers 3,729,665 square miles, one-third the
total size of the British Empire, as large as the continent of
Europe without Russia, larger by over one hundred thousand square
miles than the United States."
"Hear, hear," cried an enthusiastic voice from the rear.
"Aye, water and snow," in a rasping voice from old McTavish.
"Water and snow," replied Mr. Gilchrist. "Yes, plenty of water,
125,000 square miles of it, and a good thing it is too for Canada.
Some people sniff at water," continued the speaker with a humorous
glance at McTavish, "but even a Scotchman may with advantage
acknowledge the value of a little water." The crowd went off into
a roar of laughter at the little Scotchman who was supposed to be
averse to the custom of mixing too much water with his drink.
"My friend, Mr. McTavish," continued the speaker, "has all a
Scotchman's hatred of bounce and brag. I am not indulging in
foolish brag, but I maintain that no Canadian can rightly prize the
worth of his citizenship who does not know something of his
country, something of the wealth of meaning lying behind that word
'Canada,' and I purpose to tell you this evening something of some
of Canada's big things. I shall speak of them with gratitude and
with pride, but chiefly with a solemnising sense of responsibility.
"As for the 'water and the snow' question: Let me settle that now.
Water for a great inland continental country like ours is one of
its most valuable assets for it means three things. First, cheap
transportation. We have the longest continuous waterway in the
world, and with two small cuttings Canada can bring ocean-going
ships into the very heart of the continent. Second, water means
climate rainfall, and there need be no fear of snow and frost while
great bodies of open water lie about. And third, water power. Do
you know that Canada stands first in the world in its water power?
It possesses twice the water power of the United States (we like to
get something in which we can excel our American cousins), and
lying near the great centres of population too. Let me give you
three examples. Within easy reach of Vancouver on the west coast
there is at least 350,000 horse power, of which 75,000 is now in
use. Winnipeg, the metropolitan centre of Canada, where more than
in any place else can be heard the heart beat of the Dominion, has
400,000 horse power available, of which she now uses 50,000.
Toronto lies within reach of the great Niagara, whose power no one
can estimate, while along the course of the mighty St. Lawrence
towns and cities lie within touch of water power that is beyond all
calculation as yet. And do you Alberta people realise that right
here in your own province the big Bassano Dam made possible by a
tiny stream taken from the Bow River furnishes irrigation power for
over a million acres? Perhaps that will do about the water."
"Oo aye," said McTavish, with profound resignation in his voice.
"Ye'll dae wi' that."
"And snow," cried the speaker. "We would not willingly be without
our snow in Canada. Snow means winter transport, better business,
lumbering, and above all, wheat. Where you have no snow and frost
you cannot get the No. 1 hard wheat. Don't quarrel with the snow.
It is Canada's snow and frost that gives her the first place in the
world in wheat production. So much for the water and the snow."
McTavish hitched about uneasily. He wanted to have the speaker get
done with this part of his theme.
From Canada's area Mr. Gilchrist passed on to deal with Canada's
resources, warning his audience that the greater part of these
resources was as yet undeveloped and that he should have to indulge
in loud-sounding phrases, but he promised them that whatever words
he might employ he would still be unable to adequately picture to
their imagination the magnitude of Canada's undeveloped wealth.
Then in a perfect torrent he poured forth upon the people
statistics setting forth Canada's possessions in mines and forests,
in fisheries, in furs, in agricultural products, and especially in
wheat. At the word "wheat" he pulled up abruptly.
"Wheat," he exclaimed, "the world's great food for men. And Canada
holds the greatest wheat farm in all the world. Not long ago Jim
Hill told the Minneapolis millers that three-fourths of the wheat
lands on the American continent were north of the boundary line and
that Canada could feed every mouth in Europe. Our wheat crop this
year will go nearly 250,000,000 bushels, and this, remember,
without fertilisation and with very poor farming, for we Western
Canadians are poor farmers. We owe something to our American
settlers who are teaching us something of the science and art of
agriculture. Remember, too, that our crop comes from only one-
seventh of our wheat lands. Had the other six-sevenths been
cropped, our wheat yield would be over three and a half billion
bushels--just about the world's supply. We should never be content
till Canada does her full duty to the world, till Canada gives to
the world all that is in her power to give. I make no apology for
dwelling at such length upon Canada's extent and resources.
"Now let me speak to you about our privileges and responsibilities
as citizens of this Dominion. Our possessions and material things
will be our destruction unless we use them not only for our own
good, but for the good of the world. And these possessions we can
never properly use till we learn to prize those other possessions
of heart and mind and soul."
With a light touch upon the activities of Canadians, in the
development of their country in such matters as transportation and
manufactures, he passed to a consideration of the educational,
social, industrial, political and religious privileges which
Canadian citizens enjoyed.
"These are the things," he cried, "that have to do with the
nation's soul. These are the things that determine the quality of
a people and their place among the nations, their influence in the
world. In the matter of education it is the privilege of every
child in Canada to receive a sound training, not only in the
elementary branches of study, but even in higher branches as well.
In Canada social distinctions are based more upon worth than upon
wealth, more upon industry and ability than upon blue blood.
Nowhere in the world is it more profoundly true that
"'A man's a man for a' that;
The rank is but the guinea's stamp;
The man's the gowd for a' that.'"
At this old McTavish surprised the audience and himself by crying
out, "Hear-r-r, hear-r-r," glancing round defiantly as if daring
anyone to take up his challenge.
"In matters of religion," continued the speaker, "the churches of
Canada hold a position of commanding influence, not because of
any privileges accorded them by the State, nor because of any
adventitious or meretricious aids, but solely because of their
ability to minister to the social and spiritual needs of the
Briefly the speaker proceeded to touch upon some characteristic
features of Canadian political institutions.
"Nowhere in the world," he said, "do the people of a country enjoy
a greater measure of freedom. We belong to a great world Empire.
This connection we value and mean to cherish, but our Imperial
relations do not in the slightest degree infringe upon our
liberties. The Government of Canada is autonomous. Forty-six
years ago the four provinces of Canada were united into a single
Dominion with representative Government of the most complete kind.
Canada is a Democracy, and in no Democracy in the world does the
will of the people find more immediate and more complete expression
than in our Dominion. With us political liberty is both a heritage
and an achievement, a heritage from our forefathers who made this
Empire what it is, and an achievement of our own people led by
great and wise statesmen. This priceless possession of liberty we
shall never surrender, for the nation that surrenders its liberty,
no matter what other possessions it may retain, has lost its soul."
The address concluded with an appeal to the people for loyal
devotion to the daily duties of life in their various relations as
members of families, members of the community, citizens of the
Province and of the Dominion. In the applause that followed the
conclusion of this address, even old McTavish was observed to
contribute his share with something amounting almost to enthusiasm.
THE SHADOW OF WAR
It was finally agreed that a part at least of the responsibility
for the disturbance which marred the harmony of the Dominion Day
celebration at Wolf Willow upon this occasion must rest on the
shoulders of Mr. Alvin P. Jones. The impressive presentation by
Mr. Gilchrist of Canada's greatness and the splendour of her future
appeared to stimulate Mr. Jones to unusual flights of oratory.
Under ordinary circumstances Mr. Jones' oratory was characterised
by such extraordinary physical vigour, if not violence, and by such
a fluency of orotund and picturesque speech, that with the
multitude sound passed for eloquence and platitudes on his lips
achieved the dignity of profound wisdom. Building upon the
foundation laid by the previous speaker, Mr. Jones proceeded to
extol the grandeur of the Dominion, the wonders of her possessions,
the nobility of her people, the splendour of her institutions, the
glory of her future. He himself was not by birth a Canadian, but
so powerful a spell had the Dominion cast over him that he had
become a Canadian by adoption. Proud of his American birth and
citizenship, he was even more proud of his Canadian citizenship.
He saw before him a large number of American citizens who had come
to throw in their lot with the Dominion of Canada. He believed
they had done a wise thing, and that among the most loyal citizens
of this Dominion none would be found more devoted to the material
welfare and the spiritual well-being of Canada than those who came
from the other side of the line. He saw a number of those who were
sometimes improperly called foreigners. He said "improperly"
because whatever their origin, whether Ruthenian, Swede, French,
German, or whatever their race might be, here they were simply
Canadians with all the rights of Canadian citizenship assured to
them. He was glad to see so many of his German friends present.
They represent a great nation whose achievements in every department
of human activity, in learning, in industrial enterprise, in
commerce, were the envy and admiration of the world (excursus here
in glorification of the great German people): To these, his German
fellow citizens, he would say that no matter how deep their devotion
to the Vaterland (Mr. Jones pronounced it with a "v") he knew they
would be loyal citizens of Canada. The German Empire had its
differences and disagreements with Great Britain, the American
Republic has had the same, and indeed it was possible that there
were a number present who might not cherish any very passionate
regard for the wealthy, complaisant, self-contained somewhat
slow-going old gentleman, John Bull. But here in Canada, we were
all Canadians! First, last and all the time, Canadians (great
applause). Whatever might be said of other countries, their wealth,
their power, their glory, Canada was good enough for him (more
applause, followed by a further elaboration of Canada's vast
resources, etc., etc.). Canada's future was unclouded by the
political complications and entanglements of the older countries in
Europe. For one hundred years they had been at peace with the
Republic south of that imaginary line which delimited the boundaries,
but which did not divide the hearts of these two peoples (great
applause). For his part, while he rejoiced in the greatness of the
British Empire he believed that Canada's first duty was to herself,
to the developing here of a strong and sturdy national spirit.
Canada for Canadians, Canada first, these were the motives that had
guided his life both in public service and as a private citizen
(loud applause). In this country there was a place for all, no
matter from what country they came, a place for the Ruthenian
(enumeration of the various European and Asiatic states from which
potential citizens of Canada had come). Let us join hands and
hearts in building up a great empire where our children, free from
old-world entanglements, free to develop in our own way our own
institutions (eloquent passages on freedom) in obedience to laws of
our own making, defended by the strong arms and brave hearts of our
own sons, aided (here the speaker permitted himself a smile of
gentle humour) by the mighty wing of the American eagle (references
to the Monroe Doctrine and its protection of Canada's shores) we
shall abide in peace and security from all aggression and all alarm.
(Thunderous and continued applause, during which the speaker resumed
It was old McTavish who precipitated the trouble. The old Highlander
belonged to a family that boasted a long line of fighting forbears.
Ever since The Forty-five when the German king for the time occupying
the English throne astutely diverted the martial spirit of the
Scottish clans from the business of waging war against his own
armies, their chief occupation, to that of fighting his continental
foes, The McTavish was to be found ever in the foremost ranks of
British men-of-war, joyously doing battle for his clan and for his
king, who, if the truth were told, he regarded with scant loyalty.
Like so many of the old timers in western Canada, this particular
McTavish had been at one time a servant of the Hudson Bay Company
and as such had done his part in the occupation, peaceful and
otherwise, of the vast territories administered by that great
trading company. In his fiery fighting soul there burned a
passionate loyalty to the name and fame of the land of his birth,
and a passionate pride in the Empire under whose flag the Company's
ships had safely sailed the northern seas and had safely traded in
these vast wild lands for nearly three hundred years. Deep as this
loyalty and pride in the soul of him there lay a cold suspicion of
the Yankee. He had met him in those old days of trade war, had
suffered and had seen his Company suffer from his wiles, and finally
had been compelled to witness with bitter but unavailing hate the
steady encroachment of those rival traders upon the ancient
prerogatives and preserves of his own Company, once the sole and
undisputed lords of the northern half of the American continent. In
the person of Mr. Alvin P. Jones, McTavish saw the representative of
those ancient enemies of his, and in the oration to which he had
just listened he fancied he detected a note of disloyalty to the
flag, a suggestion of a break in the allegiance of Canada to the
Empire, and worst of all, a hint that Canada might safely depend for
protection upon something other than the naval power which had
guarded the shores of his country these many years from enemy
invasion. These things wrought in old McTavish an uncontrollable
anger, and no sooner had the tumultuous applause died away than he
was on his feet and in a high, rasping voice demanding audience.
"Will ye per-r-rmit me, Mr. Chair-r-rman, a few words in regar-r-d
to the remarkable address to which we haf listened?" Permission
was graciously granted by the chairman, surprise and complaisant
delight mantling the steaming face of Mr. Alvin P. Jones, albeit at
his heart there lurked a certain uneasiness, for on more than one
occasion had he suffered under the merciless heckling of the little
"'Tis a wonderful address we haf been hearing, an eloquent address.
Some of it iss true an' some of it iss lies [commotion in the
audience--the smile on Mr. Alvin P. Jones's face slightly less
expansive]. The speaker has told us about Canada, its great
extent, its vast r-r-resources. Some of us haf known about these
things while yet his mother was still sucking him [snickers of
delight from the younger members of the audience and cries of,
'Go to it, Mack]. 'Tis a great Dominion whatefer and will be a
gr-r-reater Dominion yet so lang as it keeps to right ways. He has
told us of the mighty achievements of Cher-r-rmany. I will jist be
askin' him what has Cher-r-rmany done for this country or for any
country but her ainsel? She has cluttered us up wi' pot-metal,
cutlery an' such things, an' cheap cloth that ye can put yer finger
through, an' that will be done in a month's wear-r-ring. Musick,
ye'll be sayin'! Musick! I was in Calgary not long since. They
took me to what they will be callin' a music-kale [delighted roars
of laughter from the audience]. A music-kale indeed! I haf
hear-r-rd of cauld kale an' het kale, of kale porridge an' kale
brose, but nefer haf I hear-r-rd before of a music-kale. Bless me,
man, I cud make neither head nor tail o' it, and they wer-r-re no
better themsel's. They had printed notes about it an' a bit man
makin' a speech about it, but not one of them knew a thing about the
hale hypotheck. Musick, quare musick I call it! If it is musick
yer wantin', gif me Angus there wi' the pipes [wild cheers
testifying to Angus's popularity] or the master-r-r himsel' an' the
young lady here [this with a courteous bow to Miss Switzer] wi'
their feeddles. That's what I will be callin' musick. An'
lairnin'! Lairnin' that will lay sacraleegious hands upon the Sacred
Word, an' tear-r-r it to bits. That like thing the Cher-r-rman
lairnin' is doin', and ye can ask Mr. Rhye yonder. An' other things
the Cher-r-rmans are doin' that keep us all from restin' quiet in
our beds. Let them come her-r-re to us if they will. Let them come
from all the countries of the ear-r-rth. We will share wi' them
what we haf, provided they will be behavin' themsel's and mindin'
their peeziness. But this man is sayin' somethin' more. He is
tellin' us how safe we are, an' that the great Republic south o' us
will be guar-r-rdin' us frae our enemies. I doubt it will be the
fox guar-r-rdin' the chicken frae the weasel. Now I'll ask this
gentleman what it is that has guar-r-rded these shores for the past
two hundred and fifty year-r-rs? I will tell him--the Br-r-ritish
Navy. What has kept the peace of Europe once an' again? The
Br-r-ritish Navy. Aye, what has protected America not once or twice
frae her enemies? The Br-r-ritish Navy, an' that same Br-r-ritish
Navy is gude enough fer me."
The tumultuous din that followed the conclusion of the cantankerous
little Highlander's speech was beyond all words, but before the
chairman could get to his feet, through the uproar a voice strident
with passion was demanding a hearing. "Mr. Ernest Switzer has the
floor," said the chairman.
The young man's face was white and his voice shaking when he began.
"Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen: I stand here to claim the
fair play that you say is British for myself and for my race. I am
a Canadian citizen. I was born in America, but my blood is German.
As a Canadian citizen, as an American by birth, as a German by
blood, I have been insulted to-night, and I demand the right to
reply to the man who has insulted me. There are Canadians here to
guard their own honour; the Americans can be trusted to protect
themselves. Germany is not here to refute the slanders uttered
against her, but I claim the honour to speak for that great nation,
for she is a great nation. There is none greater. There is none
so great in the world to-day." The young man's voice rang out with
passionate conviction, his pale set face, his blue eyes flaming
with rage proclaimed the intensity of his emotion. Before his
flaming passion the audience was subdued into a silence tense and
profound. "What has Germany done for the world? this man asks. I
would like to ask in reply where he has lived for the last twenty-
five years, and if during those years he has read anything beyond
his local newspaper? What has Germany done for the world? Germany
has shown the way to the world, even to America, in every activity
of life, in industrial organisation, in scientific inquiry in the
laboratory and in the practical application of science to every-day
life. Where do your philosophers go for their training? To German
universities where they seek to understand the philosophy of the
immortal Emanuel Kant. Where in the world has social reform
reached its highest achievement? In Germany. Where do you go for
your models for municipal government? To Germany. Mention any
department of human enterprise to-day and in that department
Germany stands easily in the lead. This man asks what has kept
Europe at peace all these years, and suggests the British Navy, the
one constant menace to the peace of Europe and to the freedom of
the seas. No, if you ask who has kept the peace of Europe I will
tell you. The German Kaiser, Wilhelm II. To him and to the Empire
of which he is the glorious head Europe owes its peace and the
world its greatest blessings to-day."
When Switzer sat down a half a dozen men were on their feet
demanding to be heard. Above the din a quiet, but penetrating
voice was distinguished. "Mr. Romayne has the floor," said the
Reverend Mr. Rhye, who himself was tingling with desire for
utterance. Mr. Romayne's appearance and voice suggested the
boredom of one who felt the whole thing to be rather a nuisance.
"Ladies and Gentlemen," he began, "I must apologise for venturing
to speak at all, having so recently come to this country, though I
am glad to say that I have been received with such cordial kindness
that I do not feel myself a stranger."
"You're all right, Jack," cried a voice. "You're right at home."
"I am at home," said Jack, "and that is one thing that makes me
able to speak. Few of you can understand the feeling that comes to
one who, travelling six thousand miles away from the heart of the
Empire, finds himself still among his own folk and under the same
old flag. Nor can I express the immense satisfaction and pride
that come to me when I find here in this new world a virile young
nation offering a welcome to men of all nationalities, an equal
opportunity to make home and fortune for themselves, and find also
these various nationalities uniting in the one purpose of building
solid and secure an outpost of the Empire to which we all belong.
I rise chiefly to say two things. The first is that if Germany
continues in her present mind she will be at war with our country
within a very short time. The young man who has just sat down
assures us that Germany is a great country. Let us at once frankly
grant this fact, for indeed it is a fact. Whether she is as
wonderful or as great as she thinks herself to be may be doubted.
But it is of importance to know that the opinion stated here to-
night is the opinion held by the whole body of the German people
from the Kaiser to the lowest peasant in the Empire. The universal
conviction throughout that Empire is that not only is Germany the
greatest nation on earth, but that it has a divine mission to
confer her own peculiar quality of civilisation upon the other
nations of Europe, and indeed upon the whole world. We might not
quarrel with Germany for cherishing this pleasing opinion in regard
to herself, but when this opinion is wrought into a purpose to
dominate the whole world in order that this mission might be
accomplished the thing takes on a somewhat serious aspect. Let me
repeat, Germany is a great nation, marvellously organised in every
department of her life, agricultural, manufacturing, educational,
commercial. But to what intent? What is the purpose dominating
this marvellous organisation? The purpose, Ladies and Gentlemen,
is war. The supreme industry of the German nation is the
manufacturing of a mighty war machine. I challenge the gentleman
who has just spoken to deny either of these statements, that
Germany believes that she has a definite mission to lift up the
other nations of Europe to her own high level and that to fulfil
this mission it is necessary that she be in a position of control."
The speaker paused for a moment or two. "He cannot deny these
because he knows they are true. The second thing I wish to say is
that the Kaiser means war and is waiting only for the favourable
moment. I believe it is correct to say that for many years after
his accession to the throne he used his influence on the side of
peace, but I have every reason to believe that for some years past
he has cherished another purpose, the purpose of war."
At this point Switzer sprang to his feet and cried, "I challenge
the truth of that statement. Modern European history proves it to
be false, and again and again the Kaiser has prevented war. So
much is this the case that the trustees of the only European fund
that recognises distinguished service in the interests of peace
bestowed upon the Kaiser the Nobel Prize."
"That is quite true," replied Mr. Romayne. "But let me recall to
this young man's mind a few facts. In 1875 Bismarck was determined
to make war upon France. He was prevented by the united action of
England and Russia. Germany made the same attempt in '87 and '91.
In 1905 so definite was the threat of war that France avoided it
only by dismissing her war minister, Delcasse. Perhaps my young
friend remembers the Casablanca incident in 1908 where again the
Kaiser threatened France with war. Indeed, for the last twenty
years, even while he was doubtless anxious to maintain peace, he
has been rattling his sword in his scabbard and threatening war
against the various nations of Europe. In most of these cases even
when he wanted peace he bluffed with threats of war. Then came the
Agadir incident in 1911 when once more the Kaiser bluffed. But
Great Britain called his bluff that time and the great War Lord had
to back down with great loss of prestige not only with his own
people but with the whole of Europe. It hurt the Kaiser to think
that any nation in Europe should move in any direction without his
consent. Agadir taught him that he must quit bluffing or make up
his mind to fight."
Again Switzer was upon his feet. "This is a slanderous falsehood,"
he cried. "How does this man know?"
"I happened to be there," was the quiet reply.
"How do we know?" again cried Switzer.
"Will you kindly repeat that remark?" said Mr. Romayne quietly.
"I believe this statement," shouted Switzer, "to be a slanderous
"If you accuse me of falsehood," said Romayne even more quietly,
"that is a matter of which we shall not discuss here, but later.
But these statements that I have made are history. All Germany
knows, all Europe knows, that at Agadir the Kaiser backed down. He
was not ready to fight, and he lost prestige by it. When Italy,
one of the Triple Alliance, went to war against Turkey without
consulting him, this lowered still further German prestige. In the
late Balkan War Germany was again humiliated. She backed the wrong
horse. Her protege and pupil in war, Turkey, was absolutely
beaten. These things convince me that Germany knows that her hope
of dominating Europe is rapidly waning, and she believes that this
hope can only be realised by war and, therefore, I repeat that the
Kaiser and his people are only waiting a favourable moment to
launch war upon Europe and more particularly upon the British
Empire, which, along with the great American democracy, stands
between her and the realisation of her dream."
"The British Empire!" cried Switzer scornfully as Romayne took his
seat, "the British Empire! at the first stern blow this ramshackle
empire will fall to pieces. Then Great Britain will be forced to
surrender her robber hold upon these great free states which she
has stolen and which she now keeps in chains." (Cries of "Never!"
"Rot!" "Shut your trap!") Switzer sprang to his feet and, shaking
his fist in their faces, cried: "I know what I am saying. This
you will see before many months have passed."
Again Romayne rose to his feet and waited till a silence fell upon
the audience. "Ladies and Gentlemen," he said solemnly, "this
German officer knows what he is talking about. That Germany within
a few months will make her supreme attempt to smash the British
Empire I believe is certain. I am equally certain that the result
of that attempt will not be what this gentleman anticipates and
For some moments the silence remained unbroken. Then young
Monteith sprang to his feet and led the audience in a succession of
mad cheers that indicated the depth of passion to which they were
stirred. After the cheering had subsided Larry rose and in a
slightly querulous tone and with a humorous smile upon his face he
"Mr. Chairman, don't you think we are becoming unnecessarily
serious? And are there not certain things on which we all agree?
First that we are all Canadians, first, last and all the time.
Secondly, that we greatly respect and admire our American cousins
and we desire only better mutual acquaintance for our mutual good.
Third, that we are loyal to and immensely proud of our Empire, and
we mean to stick to it. And fourth, that Germany is a great
country and has done great things for the world. As to the
historical questions raised, these are not settled by discussion
but by reliable historic documents. As to the prophecies made, we
can accept or reject them as we choose. Personally I confess that
I am unable to get up any real interest in this German war menace.
I believe Germany has more sense, not to say proper Christian
feeling, than to plunge herself and the world into war. I move,
Mr. Chairman, that we pass to the next order of business."
"Hear! Hear!" cried some. "Go on with the programme."
"No! No!" said others. "Let's have it out."
"Mr. Chairman," said Hec Ross, rising to his feet, "this thing is
better than any silly old programme, let's have it out."
But the chairman, much against his inclination, for he was a
fighter, ruled otherwise. "The differences that separate us from
one another here to-night are not differences that can be settled
by argument. They are differences that are due partly to our
history and partly to the ideals which we cherish. We shall go on
with the programme."
At first the people were in no mood for mere amusement. They had
been made to face for a brief moment the great and stern reality of
war. The words and more the manner of Jack Romayne had produced a
deep sense in their minds of the danger of a European conflagration,
and the ominous words of the young German spoken as from intimate
knowledge only served to deepen the impression made by Romayne. But
the feeling was transitory, and speedily the possibility of war was
dismissed as unthinkable. The bogey of a German war was familiar
and therefore losing its power to disturb them. So after two or
three musical numbers had been given the audience had settled back
into its normal state of mind which accepted peace as the natural
and permanent condition for the world.
The entertainment would have come to a perfectly proper and
harmonious close had it not been for the unrestrained exuberance of
Sam's humorous qualities on the one hand and the complete absence
of sense of humour in Ernest Switzer on the other. The final
number on the programme, which was to be a series of humorous
character sketches, had been left entirely in Sam's hands and
consisted of a trilogy representing the characteristics as
popularly conceived of the French Canadian habitant, the humorous
Irishman and the obese Teuton. Sam's early association with the
vaudeville stage had given him a certain facility in the use of
stage properties and theatrical paraphernalia generally, and this
combined with a decided gift of mimicry enabled him to produce a
really humorous if somewhat broadly burlesqued reproduction of
these characters. In the presentation of his sketch Sam had
reserved to the close his representation of the obese Teuton. The
doings of this Teuton, while sending the audience into roars of
laughter, had quite a different effect upon Switzer, who after a
few moments of wrathful endurance made toward the rear of the
Meantime the obese Teuton has appeared upon the stage in a famished
condition demanding vociferously and plaintively from the world at
large sausage. But no sausage is available. At this point a stray
dog wanders upon the stage. With a cry of delight the famished
Teuton seizes the unfortunate cur and joyously announcing that now
sausage he will have, forthwith disappears. Immediately from the
wings arise agonised canine howlings with which mingles the
crashing of machinery. Gradually the howlings die into choking
silence while the crash of the machinery proceeds for a few moments
longer. Thereupon reappears the Teuton, ecstatic and triumphant,
bearing with him a huge sausage, which he proceeds to devour with
mingled lamentations over his departed "hund" and raptures over its
metamorphosed condition. In the midst of this mingled lamentation
and rapture is heard in the distance upon a mouth organ band the
sound of the German national air. The Teuton is startled, drops
his sausage upon the stage and exclaiming "Der Kronprinz," hastily
beats a retreat.
At the mention of this august name Switzer disappears from the rear
of the audience and makes his way to the back of the stage. In the
meantime, to the accompaniment of organs and drums, appears upon
the stage no less a personage than "der Kronprinz," to the
reproduction of whose features Sam's peculiar facial appearance
admirably lends itself. From this point the action proceeds with
increased rapidity. No sooner had "der Kronprinz," who is also in
a famished condition, appeared upon the stage than his eyes light
upon the sausage. With a cry of delight he seizes it and proceeds
ravenously to devour it. But at the first mouthful renewed
howlings arise. "Der Kronprinz," in a state of intense excitement,
drops his sausage and begins a wild search in the corners of the
stage and in the wings for the source of the uproar. The sausage
thus abandoned, aided by an invisible cord, wabbles off the stage
before the eyes of the wondering and delighted audience. Thereafter
"der Kronprinz" reappears with his "hund" under his arm and begins
an active and distracted search for his precious sausage.
Disappointed in his search for the sausage and rendered desperate by
his famished condition, he seizes the wretched cur and begins
gnawing at the tail and retires from the scene, accompanied by the
howls of the unhappy canine and the applauding shouts of the
Meantime while Sam is engaged in executing a lightning change from
the role of "der Kronprinz" to that of the original obese Teuton,
Switzer beside himself with rage comes upon him at the precise
moment when he is engaged in tying up his shoe preparatory to
making his final entry upon the stage. The posture is irresistibly
inviting. The next instant the astonished audience beholds the
extraordinary spectacle of the obese Teuton under the impulse of
the irate Switzer's boot in rapid flight across the stage upon all
fours, bearing down with terrific speed upon the rear of the
unsuspecting chairman who, facing the audience and with a genial
smile upon his countenance, is engaged in applauding Sam's previous
performance. Making frantic but futile efforts to recover himself,
Sam plunges head on with resistless impact full upon the exact spot
where the legs of the parson effect a junction with the rest of his
person and carries that gentleman with him clear off the stage and
fairly upon the top of old McTavish, who at that moment is engaged
in conversation with little Miss Haight immediately behind him.
Immediately there is a terrific uproar, in which through the
delighted yells of the crowd, the crashing of the overturned
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