Part 4 out of 8
chairs, and the general confusion could be heard the shrieks of the
little spinster and weird Scotch oaths from McTavish. After the
noise had somewhat subsided and when the confusion had been reduced
to a semblance of order, McTavish was discovered with his hand upon
the collar of the dazed parson who in turn held the obese Teuton in
a firm and wrathful grip, at which once more the whole crowd rocked
with an unholy but uncontrollable joy.
It was Larry who saved the situation by appearing upon the stage
and gravely announcing that this unfortunate catastrophe was due to
a sudden international upheaval which as usual in such cases had
come about in an absolutely unexpected manner and as a result of
misunderstandings and mistakes for which no one could be held
responsible. He proposed in the name of the audience votes of
thanks to those who had laboured so diligently to make the Dominion
Day celebration so great a success, especially to the ladies and
gentlemen who had served upon the various committees, to the
speakers of the evening, to those who had provided the entertainment,
and last but not least to the chairman who had presided with such
grace and dignity over the proceedings of the evening. The motion
was carried with tumultuous applause, and after the singing of "The
Maple Leaf" and the national anthem, the meeting came to a close.
After the entertainment was over Larry and his mother slowly took
the trail homewards, declining many offers of a lift from their
friends in cars and carriages. It was the Harvest Moon. Upon the
folds of the rolling prairie, upon the round tops of the hills,
upon the broad valleys, and upon the far-away peaks in the west the
white light lay thick and soft like a mantle. Above the white-
mantled world the concave of the sky hung blue and deep and pricked
out with pale star points. About the world the night had thrown
her mystic jewelled robes of white and blue, making a holy shrine,
a very temple of peace for God and man. For some minutes they
walked together in silence, after they had bidden good-night to the
last of their friends.
"What a world it is, Mother!" said Larry, gazing about him at the
beauty of the night.
"Yes, but alas, alas, that God's own children should spoil all this
glory with hatred and strife! This very night in the unhappy
Balkan States men are killing each other. It is too sad and too
terrible to think of. Oh, if men would be content only to do
justly by each other."
"Those people of the Balkan States are semi-barbarians," said
Larry, "and therefore war between them is to be expected; but I
cannot get myself to believe in the possibility of war between
Christians, civilised nations to-day. But, Mother, for the first
time in my life, listening to those two men, Romayne and Switzer, I
had a feeling that war might be possible. Switzer seemed so eager
for it, and so sure about it, didn't he? And Romayne, too, seemed
ready to fight. But then I always remember that military men and
military nations are for ever talking war."
"That is quite true, my dear," said his mother. "I too find it
difficult to believe that war is possible in spite of what we have
heard to-night. Our Friends at Home do not believe that war is
imminent. They tell me that the feeling between Germany and
Britain is steadily improving."
"And yet two years ago, Mother, in connection with the Agadir
incident war might have happened any minute."
"That is true," replied his mother, "but every year of peace makes
war less likely. The Friends are working and praying for a better
understanding between these nations, and they are very confident
that these peace delegations that are exchanging visits are doing a
great deal for peace. Your Uncle Matthew, who has had a great deal
to do with them, is very hopeful that a few years of peace will
carry us past the danger point."
"Well, I hope so, Mother. I loathe the very thought of war," said
Larry. "I think I am like you in this. I never did fight, you
know; as a boy I always got out of it. Do you know, Mother, I
think I would be afraid to fight."
"I hope so," replied his mother. "Fighting is no work for man, but
"But you would not be afraid, Mother. I know you would stand up to
"Oh, no, no," cried his mother. "I could stand up to very little.
After all, it is only God that makes strong to endure."
"But it is not quite the question of enduring, it is not the
suffering, Mother. It is the killing. I don't believe I could
kill a man, and yet in the Bible they were told to kill."
"But surely, Larry, we read our Bible somewhat differently these
days. Surely we have advanced since the days of Abraham. We do
not find our Lord and master commanding men to kill."
"But, Mother, in these present wars should not men defend their
women and children from such outrages as we read about?"
"When it comes to the question of defending women and children it
seems to me that the question is changed," said his mother. "As to
that I can never quite make up my mind, but generally speaking we
hold that it is the Cross, not the sword, that will save the world
from oppression and break the tyrant's power."
"But after all, Mother," replied Larry, "it was not Smithfield that
saved England's freedom, but Naseby."
"Perhaps both Naseby and Smithfield," said his mother. "I am not
very wise in these things."
At the door of their house they came upon Nora sitting in the
moonlight. "Did you meet Ernest and Mr. Romayne?" she inquired.
"They've only gone five minutes or so. They walked down with us."
"No, we did not meet them."
"You must be tired after the wild excitement of the day, Mother,"
said Nora. "I think you had better go at once to bed. As for me,
I am going for a swim."
"That's bully; I'm with you," said Larry.
In a few minutes they were dressed in their bathing suits, and,
wrapped up in their mackintosh coats, they strolled toward the
"Let's sit a few moments and take in this wonderful night," said
Nora. "Larry, I want to talk to you about what we heard to-night
from those two men. They made me feel that war was not only
possible but near."
"It did not impress me in the very least," said Larry. "They
talked as military men always talk. They've got the war bug.
These men have both held commissions in their respective armies.
Romayne, of course, has seen war, and they look at everything from
the military point of view."
As he was speaking there came across the end of the lake the sound
of voices. Over the water the still air carried the words
distinctly to their ears.
"Explain what?" It was Switzer's voice they heard, loud and
"Just what you meant by the words 'slanderous falsehood' which you
used to-night," replied a voice which they recognised to be Jack
"I meant just what I said."
"Did you mean to impugn my veracity, because--"
"Because if you did I should have to slap your face just now."
"Mein Gott! You--!"
"Not so loud," said Romayne quietly, "unless you prefer an audience."
"You schlap my face!" cried the German, in his rage losing perfect
control of his accent. "Ach, if you were only in my country, we
could settle this in the only way."
"Perhaps you will answer my question." Romayne's voice was low and
clear and very hard. "Did you mean to call me a liar? Yes or no."
"A liar," replied the German, speaking more quietly. "No, it is
not a question of veracity. It is a question of historical
"Oh, very well. That's all."
"No, it is not all," exclaimed the German. "My God, that I should
have to take insult from you! In this country of barbarians there
is no way of satisfaction except by the beastly, the savage method
of fists, but some day we will show you schwein of England--"
"Stop!" Romayne's voice came across the water with a sharp ring
like the tap of a hammer on steel. "You cannot use your hands, I
suppose? That saves you, but if you say any such words again in
regard to England or Englishmen, I shall have to punish you."
"Punish me!" shouted the German. "Gott in Himmel, that I must bear
"They are going to fight," said Nora in an awed and horrified
voice. "Oh, Larry, do go over."
"He-l-l-o," cried Larry across the water. "That you, Switzer? Who
is that with you? Come along around here, won't you?"
There was a silence of some moments and then Romayne's voice came
quietly across the water. "That you, Gwynne? Rather late to come
around, I think. I am off for home. Well, Switzer, that's all, I
think, just now. I'll say good-night." There was no reply from
"You won't come then?" called Larry. "Well, goodnight, both of
"Good-night, good-night," came from both men.
"Do you think they will fight?" said Nora.
"No, I think not. There's Switzer riding off now. What fools they
"And Jack Romayne is so quiet and gentlemanly," said Nora.
"Quiet, yes, and gentlemanly, yes too. But I guess he'd be what
Sam calls a 'bad actor' in a fight. Oh, these men make me tired
who can't have a difference of opinion but they must think of
"Oh, Larry, I don't understand you a bit," cried Nora. "Of course
they want to fight when they get full of rage. I would myself."
"I believe you," said Larry. "You are a real Irish terrier. You
are like father. I am a Quaker, or perhaps there's another word
for it. I only hope I shall never be called on to prove just what
I am. Come on, let's go in."
For a half hour they swam leisurely to and fro in the moonlit
water. But before they parted for the night Nora returned to the
subject which they had been discussing.
"Larry, I don't believe you are a coward. I could not believe that
of you," she said passionately; "I think I would rather die."
"Well, don't believe it then. I hope to God I am not, but then one
can never tell. I cannot see myself hitting a man on the bare
face, and as for killing a fellow being, I would much rather die
myself. Is that being a coward?"
"But if that man," breathed Nora hurriedly, for the household were
asleep, "if that man mad with lust and rage were about to injure
your mother or your sisters--"
"Ah," said Larry, drawing in his breath quickly, "that would be
"Good-night, you dear goose," said his sister, kissing him quickly.
"I am not afraid for you."
MEN AND A MINE
It was early in July that Mr. Gwynne met his family with a
proposition which had been elaborated by Ernest Switzer to form a
company for the working of Nora's mine. With characteristic energy
and thoroughness Switzer had studied the proposition from every
point of view, and the results of his study he had set down in a
document which Mr. Gwynne laid before his wife and children for
consideration. It appeared that the mine itself had been
investigated by expert friends of Switzer's from the Lethbridge and
Crows' Nest mines. The reports of these experts were favourable to
a degree unusual with practical mining men, both as to the quality
and quantity of coal and as to the cost of operation. The quality
was assured by the fact that the ranchers in the neighbourhood for
years had been using the coal in their own homes. In addition to
this Switzer had secured a report from the Canadian Pacific Railway
engineers showing that the coal possessed high steaming qualities.
And as to quantity, the seam could be measured where the creek cut
through, showing enough coal in sight to promise a sufficient
supply to warrant operation for years to come. In brief, the
report submitted by the young German was that there was every
ground for believing that a paying mine, possibly a great mine,
could be developed from the property on Mr. Gwynne's land. In
regard to the market, there was of course no doubt. Every ton of
coal produced could be sold at the mine mouth without difficulty.
There remained only the question of finance to face. This also
Switzer had considered, and the result of his consideration was
before them in a detailed scheme. By this scheme a local company
was to be organised with a capitalisation of $500,000, which would
be sufficient to begin with. Of this amount $200,000 should be
assigned to the treasury, the remaining $300,000 disposed of as
follows: to Mr. Gwynne, as owner of the mine, should be allotted
$151,000 stock, thus giving him control; the remaining $149,000
stock should be placed locally. The proposition contained an offer
from Switzer to organise the company and to place the stock, in
consideration for which service he asked a block of stock such as
the directors should agree upon, and further that he should be
secretary of the company for a term of five years at a salary of
$2,000 per annum, which should be a first charge upon the returns
from the mine.
"Ernest insists on being secretary?" said Nora.
"Yes, naturally. His interests are all here. He insists also that
I be president."
"And why, Dad?" enquired Nora.
"Well," said Mr. Gwynne, with a slight laugh, "he frankly says he
would like to be associated with me in this business. Of course,
he said some nice things about me which I need not repeat."
"Oh pshaw!" exclaimed Nora, patting him on the shoulder, "I thought
you were a lot smarter man than that. Can't you see why he wants
to be associated with you? Surely you don't need me to tell you."
"Nora dear, hush," said her mother.
With an imploring look at her sister, Kathleen left the room.
"Indeed, Mother, I think it is no time to hush. I will tell you,
Dad, why he wants to be associated with you in this coal mine
business. Ernest Switzer wants our Kathleen. Mother knows it. We
all know it."
Her father gazed at her in astonishment.
"Surely this is quite unwarranted, Nora," he said. "I cannot allow
a matter of this kind to be dragged into a matter of business."
"How would it do to take a few days to turn it over in our minds?"
said his wife. "We must not forget, dear," she continued, a note
of grave anxiety in her voice, "that if we accept this proposition
it will mean a complete change in our family life."
"Family life, Mother," said Mr. Gwynne with some impatience. "You
"I mean, my dear," replied the mother, "that we shall no longer be
ranchers, but shall become coal miners. Let us think it over and
perhaps you might consult with some of our neighbours, say with Mr.
"Surely, surely," replied her husband. "Your advice is wise, as
always. I shall just step over to Mr. Waring-Gaunt's immediately."
After Mr. Gwynne's departure, the others sat silent for some
moments, their minds occupied with the question raised so abruptly
"You may as well face it, Mother," said the girl. "Indeed, you
must face it, and right now. If this Company goes on with Ernest
as secretary, it means that he will necessarily be thrown into
closer relationship with our family. This will help his business
with Kathleen. This is what he means. Do you wish to help it on?"
The mother sat silent, her face showing deep distress. "Nora
dear," at length she said, "this matter is really not in our hands.
Surely you can see that. I can't discuss it with you." And so
saying she left the room.
"Now, Nora," said Larry severely, "you are not to worry Mother.
And besides you can't play Providence in this way. You must
confess that you have a dreadful habit of trying to run things.
I believe you would have a go at running the universe."
"Run things?" cried Nora. "Why not? There is altogether too much
of letting things slide in this family. It is all very well to
trust to Providence. Providence made the trees grow in the woods,
but this house never would have been here if Mr. Sleighter had not
got on to the job. Now I am going to ask you a straight question.
Do you want Ernest Switzer to have Kathleen?"
"Well, he's a decent sort and a clever fellow," began Larry.
"Now, Larry, you may as well cut that 'decent sort,' 'clever fellow'
stuff right out. I want to know your mind. Would you like to see
Ernest Switzer have Kathleen, or not?"
"Would you?" retorted her brother.
"No. I would not," emphatically said Nora.
"To tell the truth, ever since that concert night I feel I can't
trust him. He is different from us. He is no real Canadian. He
is a German."
"Well, Nora, you amaze me," said Larry. "What supreme nonsense you
are talking! You have got that stuff of Romayne's into your mind.
The war bug has bitten you too. For Heaven's sake be reasonable.
If you object to Ernest because of his race, I am ashamed of you
and have no sympathy with you."
"Not because of his race," said Nora, "though, Larry, let me tell
you he hates Britain. I was close to him that night, and hate
looked out of his eyes. But let that pass. I have seen Ernest
with 'his women' as he calls them, and, Larry, I can't bear to
think of our Kathleen being treated as he treats his mother and
"Now, Nora, let us be reasonable. Let us look at this fairly,"
"Oh, Larry! stop or I shall be biting the furniture next. When you
assume that judicial air of yours I want to swear. Answer me. Do
you want him to marry Kathleen? Yes or no."
"Well, as I was about to say--"
"Larry, will you answer yes or no?"
"Well, no, then," said Larry.
"Thank God!" cried Nora, rushing at him and shaking him vigorously.
"You wretch! Why did you keep me in suspense? How I wish that
English stick would get a move on!"
"English stick? Whom do you mean?"
"You're as stupid as the rest, Larry. Whom should I mean? Jack
Romayne, of course. There's a man for you. I just wish he'd
waggle his finger at me! But he won't do things. He just
'glowers' at her, as old McTavish would say, with those deep eyes
of his, and sets his jaw like a wolf trap, and waits. Oh, men are
so stupid with women!"
"Indeed?" said Larry. "And how exactly?"
"Why doesn't he just make her love him, master her, swing her off
her feet?" said Nora.
"Like Switzer, eh? The cave man idea?"
"No, no. Surely you see the difference?"
"Pity my ignorance and elucidate the mystery."
"Mystery? Nonsense. It is quite simple. It is a mere matter of
"Oh, I see," said Larry, "or at least I don't see. But credit me
with the earnest and humble desire to understand."
"Well," said his sister, "the one--"
"Switzer. He is mad to possess her for his very own. He would
carry her off against her will. He'd bully her to death."
"Ah, you would like that?"
"Not I. Let him try it on. The other, Romayne, is mad to have her
too. He would give her his very soul. But he sticks there waiting
till she comes and flings herself into his arms."
"You prefer that, eh?"
"Oh, that makes me tired!" said Nora in a tone of disgust.
"Well, I give it up," said Larry hopelessly. "What do you want?"
"I want both. My man must want me more than he wants Heaven
itself, and he must give me all he has but honour. Such a man
would be my slave! And such a man--oh, I'd just love to be bullied
For some moments Larry stood looking into the glowing black eyes,
then said quietly, "May God send you such a man, little sister, or
none at all."
In a few weeks the Alberta Coal Mining and Development Company was
an established fact. Mr. Waring-Gaunt approved of it and showed
his confidence in the scheme by offering to take a large block of
stock and persuade his friends to invest as well. He also agreed
that it was important to the success of the scheme both that Mr.
Gwynne should be the president of the company and that young
Switzer should be its secretary. Mr. Gwynne's earnest request that
he should become the treasurer of the company Mr. Waring-Gaunt felt
constrained in the meantime to decline. He already had too many
irons in the fire. But he was willing to become a director and to
aid the scheme in any way possible. Before the end of the month
such was the energy displayed by the new secretary of the company
in the disposing of the stock it was announced that only a small
block of about $25,000 remained unsold. A part of this Mr. Waring-
Gaunt urged his brother-in-law to secure.
"Got twenty thousand myself, you know--looks to me like a sound
proposition--think you ought to go in--what do you say, eh, what?"
"Very well; get ten or fifteen thousand for me," said his brother-
Within two days Mr. Waring-Gaunt found that the stock had all been
disposed of. "Energetic chap, that young Switzer,--got all the
stock placed--none left, so he told me."
"Did you tell him the stock was for me?" enquired Romayne.
"Of course, why not?"
"Probably that accounts for it. He would not be especially anxious
to have me in."
"What do you say? Nothing in that, I fancy. But I must see about
"Oh, let it go," said Romayne.
"Gwynne was after me again to take the treasurership," said Waring-
Gaunt, "but I am busy with so many things--treasurership very
hampering--demands close attention--that sort of thing, eh, what?"
"Personally I wish you would take it," said Romayne. "You would be
able to protect your own money and the investments of your friends.
Besides, I understand the manager is to be a German, which, with a
German secretary, is too much German for my idea."
"Oh, you don't like Switzer, eh? Natural, I suppose. Don't like
him myself; bounder sort of chap--but avoid prejudice, my boy, eh,
what? German--that sort of thing--don't do in this country, eh?
English, Scotch, Irish, French, Galician, Swede, German--all sound
Canadians--melting pot idea, eh, what?"
"I am getting that idea, too," said his brother-in-law. "Sybil has
been rubbing it into me. I believe it is right enough. But apart
altogether from that, frankly I do not like that chap; I don't
trust him. I fancy I know a gentleman when I see him."
"All right, all right, my boy, gentleman idea quite right too--but
new country, new standards--'Old Family' idea played out, don't you
know. Burke's Peerage not known here--every mug on its own bottom--
rather touchy Canadians are about that sort of thing--democracy
stuff and all that you know. Not too bad either, eh, what? for a
chap who has got the stuff in him--architect of his fortune--
founder of his own family and that sort of thing, don't you know.
Not too bad, eh, what?"
"I quite agree," cried Jack, "at least with most of it. But all
the same I hope you will take the treasurership. Not only will
you protect your own and your friends' investments, but you will
protect the interests of the Gwynnes. The father apparently is no
business man, the son is to be away; anything might happen. I
would hate to see them lose out. You understand?"
His brother-in-law turned his eyes upon him, gazed at him steadily
for a few moments, then taking his hand, shook it warmly,
exclaiming, "Perfectly, old chap, perfectly--good sort, Gwynne--
good family. Girl of the finest--hope you put it off, old boy.
Madame has put me on, you know, eh, what? Jolly good thing."
"Now what the deuce do you mean?" said Romayne angrily.
"All right--don't wish to intrude, don't you know. Fine girl
though--quite the finest thing I've seen--could go anywhere."
His brother-in-law's face flushed fiery red. "Now look here, Tom,"
he said angrily, "don't be an ass. Of course I know what you mean
but as the boys say here, 'Nothing doing!'"
"What? You mean it? Nothing doing? A fine girl like that--sweet
girl--good clean stock--wonderful mother--would make a wife any man
would be proud of--the real thing, you know, the real thing--I have
known her these eight years--watched her grow up--rare courage--
pure soul. Nothing doing? My God, man, have you eyes?" It was
not often that Tom Waring-Gaunt allowed himself the luxury of
passion, but this seemed to him to be an occasion in which he might
indulge himself. Romayne stood listening to him with his face
turned away, looking out of the window. "Don't you hear me, Jack?"
said Waring-Gaunt. "Do you mean there's nothing in it, or have you
burned out your heart with those fool women of London and Paris?"
Swiftly his brother-in-law turned to him. "No, Tom, but I almost
wish to God I had. No, I won't say that; rather do I thank God
that I know now what it is to love a woman. I am not going to lie
to you any longer, old chap. To love a sweet, pure woman, sweet
and pure as the flowers out there, to love her with every bit of my
heart, with every fibre of my soul, that is the finest thing that
can come to a man. I have treated women lightly in my time, Tom.
I have made them love me, taken what they have had to give, and
left them without a thought. But if any of them have suffered
through me, and if they could know what I am getting now, they
would pity me and say I had got enough to pay me out. To think
that I should ever hear myself saying that to another man, I who
have made love to women and laughed at them and laughed at the poor
weak devils who fell in love with women. Do you get me? I am
telling you this and yet I feel no shame, no humiliation!
Humiliation, great heaven! I am proud to say that I love this girl.
From the minute I saw her up there in the woods I have loved her.
I have cursed myself for loving her. I have called myself fool,
idiot, but I cannot help it. I love her. It is hell to me or
heaven, which you like. It's both." He was actually trembling,
his voice hoarse and shaking.
Amazement, then pity, finally delight, succeeded each other in
rapid succession across the face of his brother-in-law as he
listened. "My dear chap, my dear chap," he said when Romayne had
finished. "Awfully glad, you know--delighted. But why the howl?
The girl is there--go in and get her, by Jove. Why not, eh, what?"
"It's no use, I tell you," said Romayne. "That damned German has
got her. I have seen them together too often. I have seen in her
eyes the look that women get when they are ready to give themselves
body and soul to a man. She loves that man. She loves him, I tell
you. She has known him for years. I have come too late to have a
chance. Too late, my God, too late!" He pulled himself up with
an effort, then with a laugh said, "Do you recognise me, Tom? I
confess I do not recognise myself. Well, that's out. Let it go.
That's the last you will get from me. But, Tom, this is more than
I can stand. I must quit this country, and I want you to make it
easy for me to go. We'll get up some yarn for Sibyl. You'll help
me out, old man? God knows I need help in this."
"Rot, beastly rot. Give her up to that German heel-clicking
bounder--rather not. Buck up, old man--give the girl a chance
anyway--play the game out, eh, what? Oh, by the way, I have made
up my mind to take that treasurership--beastly nuisance, eh?
"Off with the dogs for a run somewhere."
"No, take the car--too beastly hot for riding, don't you know.
Take my car. Or, I say, let's go up to the mine. Must get to know
more about the beastly old thing, eh, what? We'll take the guns
and Sweeper--we'll be sure to see some birds and get the evening
shoot coming back. But, last word, my boy, give the girl a chance
to say no. Think of it, a German, good Lord! You go and get the
car ready. We'll get Sybil to drive while we shoot."
Tom Waring-Gaunt found his great, warm, simple heart overflowing
with delight at the tremendous news that had come to him. It was
more than his nature could bear that he should keep this from his
wife. He found her immersed in her domestic duties and adamant
against his persuasion to drive them to the mine.
"A shoot," she cried, "I'd love to. But, Tom, you forget I am a
rancher's wife, and you know, or at least you don't know, what that
means. Run along and play with Jack. Some one must work. No,
don't tempt me. I have my programme all laid out. I especially
prayed this morning for grace to resist the lure of the outside
this day. 'Get thee behind me--' What? I am listening, but I
shouldn't be. What do you say? Tom, it cannot be!" She sat down
weakly in a convenient chair and listened to her husband while he
retailed her brother's great secret.
"And so, my dear, we are going to begin a big campaign--begin to-
day--take the girls off with us for a shoot--what do you say, eh?"
"Why, certainly, Tom. Give me half an hour to get Martha fairly on
the rails, and I am with you. We'll take those dear girls along.
Oh, it is perfectly splendid. Now let me go; that will do, you
foolish boy. Oh, yes, how lovely. Trust me to back you up. What?
Don't spoil things. Well, I like that. Didn't I land you? That
was 'some job,' as dear Nora would say. You listen to me, Tom.
You had better keep in the background. Finesse is not your forte.
Better leave these things to me. Hurry up now. Oh, I am so
Few women can resist an appeal for help from a husband. The
acknowledgment of the need of help on the part of the dominating
partner is in itself the most subtle flattery and almost always
irresistible. No woman can resist the opportunity to join in that
most fascinating of all sport--man-hunting. And when the man runs
clear into the open wildly seeking not escape from but an opening
into the net, this only adds a hazard and a consequent zest to the
sport. Her husband's disclosures had aroused in Sybil Waring-Gaunt
not so much her sporting instincts, the affair went deeper far than
that with her. Beyond anything else in life she desired at that
time to bring together the two beings whom, next to her husband,
she loved best in the world. From the day that her brother had
arrived in the country she had desired this, and more or less
aggressively had tried to assist Providence in the ordering of
events. But in Kathleen, with all her affection and all her sweet
simplicity, there was a certain shy reserve that prevented
confidences in the matter of her heart affairs.
"How far has the German got with her? That is what I would like to
know," said Mrs. Waring-Gaunt to herself as she hastily prepared
for the motor ride. "There's no doubt about him. Every one can
see how he stands, and he has such a masterful way with him that it
makes one think that everything is settled. If it is there is no
chance for Jack, for she is not the changing kind." Meantime she
would hope for the best and play the game as best she could.
"Would you mind running into the Gwynnes' as we pass, Tom?" said
his wife as they settled themselves in the car. "I have a message
"Righto!" said her husband, throwing his wife a look which she
refused utterly to notice. "But remember you must not be long.
We cannot lose the evening shoot, eh, what?"
"Oh, just a moment will do," said his wife.
At the door Nora greeted them. "Oh, you lucky people--guns and a
dog, and a day like this," she cried.
"Come along--lots of room--take my gun," said Mr. Waring-Gaunt.
"Don't tempt me, or I shall come."
"Tell us what is your weakness, Miss Nora," said Jack. "How can we
get you to come?"
"My weakness?" cried the girl eagerly, "you all are, and especially
your dear Sweeper dog there." She put her arms around the neck of
the beautiful setter, who was frantically struggling to get out to
"Sweeper, lucky dog, eh, Jack, what?" said Mr. Waring-Gaunt, with a
warm smile of admiration at the wholesome, sun-browned face. "Come
along, Miss Nora--back in a short time, eh, what?"
"Short time?" said Nora. "Not if I go. Not till we can't see the
"Can't you come, Nora?" said Mrs. Waring-Gaunt, "I want to talk to
you, and we'll drive to-day and let the men shoot. Where is
Kathleen? Is she busy?"
"Busy? We are all positively overwhelmed with work. But, oh, do
go away, or I shall certainly run from it all."
"I am going in to get your mother to send you both out. Have you
had a gun this fall? I don't believe you have," said Mrs. Waring-
"Not once. Yes, once. I had a chance at a hawk that was paying
too much attention to our chickens. No, don't go in, Mrs. Waring-
Gaunt, I beg of you. Well, go, then; I have fallen shamelessly.
If you can get Kathleen, I am on too."
In a few moments Mrs. Waring-Gaunt returned with Kathleen and her
mother. "Your mother says, Nora, that she does not need you a bit,
and she insists on your coming, both of you. So be quick."
"Oh, Mother," cried the girl in great excitement. "You cannot
possibly get along without us. There's the tea for all those men."
"Nonsense, Nora, run along. I can do quite well without you.
Larry is coming in early and he will help. Run along, both of
"But there isn't room for us all," said Kathleen.
"Room? Heaps," said Mr. Waring-Gaunt. "Climb in here beside me,
"Oh, it will be great," said Nora. "Can you really get along,
"Nonsense," said the mother. "You think far too much of yourself.
Get your hat."
"Hat; who wants a hat?" cried the girl, getting in beside Mr.
Waring-Gaunt. "Oh, this is more than I had ever dreamed, and I
feel so wicked!"
"All the better, eh, what?"
"Here, Kathleen," said Mrs. Waring-Gaunt, "here between us."
"I am so afraid I shall crowd you," said the girl, her face showing
a slight flush.
"Not a bit, my dear; the seat is quite roomy. There, are you
comfortable? All right, Tom. Good-bye, Mrs. Gwynne. So good of
you to let the girls come."
In high spirits they set off, waving their farewell to the mother
who stood watching till they had swung out of the lane and on to
the main trail.
A DAY IN SEPTEMBER
A September day in Alberta. There is no other day to be compared
to it in any other month or in any other land. Other lands have
their September days, and Alberta has days in other months, but
the combination of September day in Alberta is sui generis. The
foothill country with plain, and hill, and valley, and mighty
mountain, laced with stream, and river, and lake; the over-arching
sheet of blue with cloud shapes wandering and wistful, the kindly
sun pouring its genial sheen of yellow and gold over the face of
the earth below, purple in the mountains and gold and pearly grey,
and all swimming in air blown through the mountain gorges and over
forests of pine, tingling with ozone and reaching the heart and
going to the head like new wine--these things go with a September
day in Alberta.
And like new wine the air seemed to Jack Romayne as the Packard
like a swallow skimmed along the undulating prairie trail, smooth,
resilient, of all the roads in the world for motor cars the best.
For that day at least and in that motor car life seemed good to
Jack Romayne. Not many such days would be his, and he meant to
take all it gave regardless of cost. His sister's proposal to call
at the Gwynnes' house he would have rejected could he have found a
reasonable excuse. The invitation to the Gwynne girls to accompany
them on their shoot he resented also, and still more deeply he
resented the arrangement of the party that set Kathleen next to
him, a close fit in the back seat of the car. But at the first
feeling of her warm soft body wedged closely against him, all
emotions fled except one of pulsating joy. And this, with the air
rushing at them from the western mountains, wrought in him the
reckless resolve to take what the gods offered no matter what might
follow. As he listened to the chatter about him he yielded to the
intoxication of his love for this fair slim girl pressing soft
against his arm and shoulder. He allowed his fancy to play with
surmises as to what would happen should he turn to her and say,
"Dear girl, do you know how fair you are, how entrancingly lovely?
Do you know I am madly in love with you, and that I can hardly
refrain from putting this arm, against which you so quietly lean
your warm soft body, about you?" He looked boldly at the red
curves of her lips and allowed himself to riot in the imagination
of how deliciously they would yield to his pressed against them.
"My God!" he cried aloud, "to think of it."
The two ladies turned their astonished eyes upon him. "What is it,
Jack? Wait, Tom. Have you lost something?"
"Yes, that is, I never had it. No, go on, Tom, it cannot be helped
now. Go on, please do. What a day it is!" he continued. "'What a
time we are having,' as Miss Nora would say."
"Yes, what a time!" exclaimed Nora, turning her face toward them.
"Mrs. Waring-Gaunt, I think I must tell you that your husband is
making love to me so that I am quite losing my head."
"Poor things," said Mrs. Waring-Gaunt. "How could either of you
"Why is it that all the nice men are married?" inquired Nora.
"I beg your pardon, Miss Nora," said Jack in a pained voice.
"I mean--why--I'm afraid I can't fix that up, can I?" she said,
appealing to Mrs. Waring-Gaunt.
"Certainly you can. What you really mean is, why do all married
men become so nice?" said Mrs. Waring-Gaunt.
"Oh, thank you, the answer is so obvious. Do you know, I feel wild
"And so do I," replied Kathleen, suddenly waking to life. "It is
the wonderful air, or the motor, perhaps."
"Me, too," exclaimed Jack Romayne, looking straight at her, "only
with me it is not the air, nor the motor."
"What then!" said Kathleen with a swift, shy look at him.
"'The heart knoweth its own bitterness and a stranger intermeddleth
not with its joy.'"
"That's the Bible, I know," said Kathleen, "and it really means
'mind your own business.'"
"No, no, not that exactly," protested Jack, "rather that there are
things in the heart too deep if not for tears most certainly for
words. You can guess what I mean, Miss Kathleen," said Jack,
trying to get her eyes.
"Oh, yes," said the girl, "there are things that we cannot trust to
words, no, not for all the world."
"I know what you are thinking of," replied Jack. "Let me guess."
"No, no, you must not, indeed," she replied quickly. "Look, isn't
that the mine? What a crowd of people! Do look."
Out in the valley before them they could see a procession of teams
and men weaving rhythmic figures about what was discovered to be
upon a nearer view a roadway which was being constructed to cross
a little coolee so as to give access to the black hole on the
hillside beyond which was the coal mine. In the noise and bustle
of the work the motor came to a stop unobserved behind a long
wooden structure which Nora diagnosed as the "grub shack."
"In your English speech, Mr. Romayne, the dining room of the camp.
He is certainly a hustler," exclaimed Nora, gazing upon the scene
"Who?" inquired Mrs. Waring-Gaunt.
"Ernest Switzer," said Nora, unable to keep the grudge out of her
voice. "It is only a week since I was up here and during that time
he has actually made this village, the streets, the sidewalks--and
if that is not actually a system of water pipes."
"Some hustler, as you say, Miss Nora, eh, what?" said Tom.
"Wonderful," replied Nora; "he is wonderful."
Jack glanced at the girl beside him. It seemed to him that it
needed no mind-reader to interpret the look of pride, yes and of
love, in the wonderful blue-grey eyes. Sick as from a heavy blow
he turned away from her; the flicker of hope that his brother-in-
law's words had kindled in his heart died out and left him cold.
He was too late; why try to deceive himself any longer? The only
thing to do was to pull out and leave this place where every day
brought him intolerable pain. But today he would get all he could,
to-day he would love her and win such poor scraps as he could from
her eyes, her smiles, her words.
"Glorious view that," he said, touching her arm and sweeping his
hand toward the mountains.
She started at his touch, a faint colour coming into her face.
"How wonderful!" she breathed. "I love them. They bring me my
Before he could reply there came from behind the grub shack a
torrent of abusive speech florid with profane language and other
adornment and in a voice thick with rage.
"That's him," said Nora. "Some one is getting it." The satisfaction
in her voice and look were in sharp contrast to the look of dismay
and shame that covered the burning face of her sister. From English
the voice passed into German, apparently no less vigorous or
threatening. "That's better," said Nora with a wicked glance at
Romayne. "You see he is talking to some one of his own people.
They understand that. There are a lot of Germans from the
Settlement, Freiberg, you know."
As she spoke Switzer emerged from behind the shack, driving before
him a cringing creature evidently in abject terror of him. "Get
back to your gang and carry out your orders, or you will get your
time." He caught sight of the car and stopped abruptly, and,
waving his hand imperiously to the workman, strode up to the party,
followed by a mild-looking man in spectacles.
"Came to see how you are getting on, Switzer, eh, what?" said Tom.
"Getting on," he replied in a loud voice, raising his hat in
salutation. "How can one get on with a lot of stupid fools who
cannot carry out instructions and dare to substitute their own
ideas for commands. They need discipline. If I had my way they
would get it, too. But in this country there is no such thing as
discipline." He made no attempt to apologise for his outrageous
outburst, was probably conscious of no need of apology.
"This is your foreman, I think?" said Nora, who alone of the party
seemed to be able to deal with the situation.
"Oh, yes, Mr. Steinberg," said Switzer, presenting the spectacled
"You are too busy to show us anything this afternoon?" said Nora
"Yes, much too busy," said Switzer, gruffly. "I have no time for
anything but work these days."
"You cannot come along for a little shoot?" she said, innocently.
Nora was evidently enjoying herself.
"Shoot!" cried Switzer in a kind of contemptuous fury. "Shoot,
with these dogs, these cattle, tramping around here when they need
some one every minute to drive them. Shoot! No, no. I am not a
gentleman of leisure."
The distress upon Kathleen's face was painfully apparent. Jack was
in no hurry to bring relief. Like Nora he was enjoying himself as
well. It was Tom who brought about the diversion.
"Well, we must go on, Switzer. Coming over to see you one of these
days and go over the plant. Treasurer's got to know something
about it, eh, what?"
Switzer started and looked at him in surprise. "Treasurer, who?
Are you to be treasurer of the company? Who says so? Mr. Gwynne
did not ask--did not tell me about it."
"Ah, sorry--premature announcement, eh?" said Tom. "Well, good-
bye. All set."
The Packard gave forth sundry growls and snorts and glided away
down the trail.
Nora was much excited. "What's this about the treasurership?" she
demanded. "Are you really to be treasurer, Mr. Waring-Gaunt? I am
awfully glad. You know this whole mine was getting terribly
Switzery. Isn't he awful? He just terrifies me. I know he will
undertake to run me one of these days."
"Then trouble, eh, what?" said Waring-Gaunt, pleasantly.
After a short run the motor pulled up at a wheat field in which the
shocks were still standing and which lay contiguous to a poplar
"Good chicken country, eh?" said Tom, slipping out of the car
quietly. "Nora, you come with me. Quiet now. Off to the left,
eh, what? You handle Sweeper, Jack."
"I'll drive the car," said Mrs. Waring-Gaunt. "Go on with Jack,
"Come on, Miss Kathleen, you take the gun, and I'll look after the
dog. Let me have the whistle, Tom."
They had not gone ten yards from the car when the setter stood
rigid on point. "Steady, old boy," said Jack. "Move up quickly,
Miss Kathleen. Is your gun ready? Sure it's off safe?"
"All right," said the girl, walking steadily on the dog.
Bang! Bang! went Nora's gun. Two birds soared safely aloft. Bang!
Bang! went Kathleen's gun. "Double, by jove! Steady, Sweeper!"
Again the dog stood on point. Swiftly Jack loaded the gun. "Here
you are, Miss Kathleen. You will get another," he said. "There
are more here." As he spoke a bird flew up at his right. Bang!
went Kathleen's gun. "Another, good work." Bang! went Nora's gun
to the left. "Look out, here he comes," cried Jack, as Nora's bird
came careening across their front. It was a long shot. Once more
Kathleen fired. The bird tumbled in the air and fell with a thump
right at their feet.
Sweeper, released from his point, went bounding joyfully over the
stubble. Jack rushed up toward the girl, and taking her hand in
both of his, shook it warmly. "Oh, splendid, partner, splendid,
"Oh, it was easy. Sweeper had them fast," said Kathleen. "And
that last shot was just awfully good luck."
"Good luck! Good Lord! it was anything but luck. It was great
shooting. Well, come along. Oh, we're going to have a glorious
day, aren't we, partner?" And catching hold of her arm, he gave
her a friendly little shake.
"Yes," she cried, responding frankly to his mood, "we will. Let's
have a good day."
"Where did you learn to shoot?" inquired Jack.
"Nora and I have always carried guns in the season," replied
Kathleen, "even when we were going to school. You see, Larry hates
shooting. We loved it and at times were glad to get them--the
birds, I mean. We did not do it just for sport."
"Can your sister shoot as well as you?"
"Hardly, I think. She pulls too quickly, you see, but when she
steadies down she will shoot better than I."
"You are a wonder," said Jack enthusiastically.
"Oh, not a wonder," said the girl.
"Wait till I get the birds back to the car," he cried.
"He-l-l-o," cried his sister as he came running. "What, four of
"Four," he answered. "By jove, she's a wonder, isn't she. She
really bowls me over."
"Nonsense," said his sister in a low voice. "She's just a fine
girl with a steady hand and a quick eye, and," she added as Jack
turned away from her, "a true heart."
"A true heart," Jack muttered to himself, "and given to that
confounded bully of a German. If it had been any other man--but we
have got one day at least." Resolutely he brushed away the
thoughts that maddened him as he ran to Kathleen's side. Meantime,
Tom and Nora had gone circling around toward the left with Sweeper
ranging widely before them.
"Let's beat round this bluff," suggested Kathleen. "They may not
have left the trees yet."
Together they strolled away through the stubble, the girl moving
with an easy grace that spoke of balanced physical strength, and
with an eagerness that indicated the keen hunter's spirit. The
bluff brought no result.
"That bluff promised chickens if ever a bluff did," said Kathleen
in a disappointed voice. "We'll get them further down, and then
again in the stubble."
"Cheer-o," cried Jack. "The day is fine and we are having a
ripping time, at least I am."
"And I, too," cried the girl. "I love this, the open fields,--and
the sport, too."
"And good company," said Jack boldly.
"Yes, good company, of course," she said with a quick, friendly
glance. "And you ARE good company to-day."
"Yes. Sometimes, you know, you are rather--I don't know what to
say--but queer, as if you did not like--people, or were carrying
some terrible secret," she added with a little laugh.
"Secret? I am, but not for long. I am going to tell you the
secret. Do you want to hear it now?"
The note of desperation in his voice startled the girl. "Oh, no,"
she cried hurriedly. "Where have we got to? There are no birds in
this open prairie here. We must get back to the stubble."
"You are not interested in my secret, then?" said Jack. "But I am
going to tell you all the same, Kathleen."
"Oh, please don't," she replied in a distressed voice. "We are
having such a splendid time, and besides we are after birds, aren't
we? And there are the others," she added, pointing across the
stubble field, "and Sweeper is on point again. Oh, let's run."
She started forward quickly, her foot caught in a tangle of vetch
vine and she pitched heavily forward. Jack sprang to catch her. A
shot crashed at their ears. The girl lay prone.
"My God, Kathleen, are you hurt?" said Jack.
"No, no, not a bit, but awfully scared," she panted. Then she
shrieked, "Oh, oh, oh, Jack, you are wounded, you are bleeding!"
He looked down at his hand. It was dripping blood. "Oh, oh," she
moaned, covering her face with her hands. Then springing to her
feet, she caught up his hand in hers.
"It is nothing at all," he said. "I feel nothing. Only a bit of
skin. See," he cried, lifting his arm up. "There's nothing to it.
No broken bones."
"Let me see, Jack--Mr. Romayne," she said with white lips.
"Say 'Jack,'" he begged.
"Let me take off your coat--Jack, then. I know a little about
this. I have done something at it in Winnipeg."
Together they removed the coat. The shirt sleeve was hanging in a
tangled, bloody mass from the arm.
"Awful!" groaned Kathleen. "Sit down."
"Oh, nonsense, it is not serious."
"Sit down, Jack, dear," she entreated, clasping her hands about his
"Say it again," said Jack.
"Oh, Jack, won't you sit down, please?"
"Say it again," he commanded sternly.
"Oh, Jack, dear, please sit down," she cried in a pitiful voice.
He sat down, then lay back reclining on his arm. "Now your knife,
Jack," she said, feeling hurriedly through his pockets.
"Here you are," he said, handing her the knife, biting his lips the
while and fighting back a feeling of faintness.
Quickly slipping behind him, she whipped off her white petticoat
and tore it into strips. Then cutting the bloody shirt sleeve, she
laid bare the arm. The wound was superficial. The shot had torn a
wide gash little deeper than the skin from wrist to shoulder, with
here and there a bite into the flesh. Swiftly, deftly, with
fingers that never fumbled, she bandaged the arm, putting in little
pads where the blood seemed to be pumping freely.
"That's fine," said Jack. "You are a brick, Kathleen. I think--I
will--just lie down--a bit. I feel--rather rotten." As he spoke
he caught hold of her arm to steady himself. She caught him in her
arms and eased him down upon the stubble. With eyes closed and a
face that looked like death he lay quite still.
"Jack," she cried aloud in her terror. "Don't faint. You must not
But white and ghastly he lay unconscious, the blood still welling
right through the bandages on his wounded arm. She knew that in
some way she must stop the bleeding. Swiftly she undid the
bandages and found a pumping artery in the forearm. "What is it
that they do?" she said to herself. Then she remembered. Making a
tourniquet, she applied it to the upper arm. Then rolling up a
bloody bandage into a pad, she laid it upon the pumping artery and
bound it firmly down into place. Then flexing the forearm hard
upon it, she bandaged all securely again. Still the wounded man
lay unconscious. The girl was terrified. She placed her hand over
his heart. It was beating but very faintly. In the agony and
terror of the moment as in a flash of light her heart stood
suddenly wide open to her, and the thing that for the past months
had lain hidden within her deeper than her consciousness, a secret
joy and pain, leaped strong and full into the open, and she knew
that this man who lay bleeding and ghastly before her was dearer to
her than her own life. The sudden rush of this consciousness
sweeping like a flood over her soul broke down and carried away the
barrier of her maidenly reserve. Leaning over him in a passion of
self-abandonment, she breathed, "Oh, Jack, dear, dear Jack." As he
lay there white and still, into her love there came a maternal
tender yearning of pity. She lifted his head in her arm, and
murmured brokenly, "Oh, my love, my dear love." She kissed him on
his white lips.
At the touch of her lips Jack opened his eyes, gazed at her for a
moment, then with dawning recognition, he said with a faint smile,
"Oh, you heard," she cried, the red blood flooding face and neck,
"but I don't care, only don't go off again. You will not, Jack,
you must not."
"No--I won't," he said. "It's rotten--of me--to act--like this
and--scare you--to death. Give me--a little--time. I will be--all
"If they would only come! If I could only do something!"
"You're all right--Kathleen. Just be--patient with me--a bit. I
am feeling--better every minute."
For a few moments he lay quiet. Then with a little smile he looked
up at her again and said, "I would go off again just to hear you
say those words once more."
"Oh, please don't," she entreated, hiding her face.
"Forgive me, Kathleen, I am a beast. Forget it. I am feeling all
right. I believe I could sit up."
"No, no, no," she cried. "Lie a little longer."
She laid his head down, ran a hundred yards to the wheat field,
returning with two sheeves, and made a support for his head and
shoulders. "That is better," she said.
"Good work," he said. "Now I am going to be fit for anything in a
few moments. But," he added, "you look rather badly, as if you
might faint yourself."
"I? What difference does it make how I look? I am quite right.
If they would only come! I know what I will do," she cried.
"Where are your cartridges?" She loaded the gun and fired in quick
succession half a dozen shots. "I think I see them," she
exclaimed, "but I am not sure that they heard me." Again she fired
"Don't worry about it," said Jack, into whose face the colour was
beginning to come back. "They are sure to look us up. Just sit
down, won't you please, beside me here? There, that's good," he
continued, taking her hand. "Kathleen," he cried, "I think you
know my secret."
"Oh, no, no, please don't," she implored, withdrawing her hand and
hiding her face from him. "Please don't be hard on me. I really
do not know what I am doing and I am feeling dreadfully."
"You have reason to feel so, Kathleen. You have been splendidly
brave, and I give you my word I am not going to worry you."
"Oh, thank you; you are so good, and I love you for it," she cried
in a passion of gratitude. "You understand, don't you?"
"I think I do," he said. "By the way, do you know I think I could
"Oh, splendid!" she cried, and, springing up, she searched through
his coat pockets, found pipe, pouch, matches, and soon he had his
pipe going. "There, that looks more like living," said Kathleen,
laughing somewhat hysterically. "Oh, you did frighten me!" Again
the red flush came into her face and she turned away from him.
"There they are coming. Sure enough, they are coming," she cried
with a sob in her voice.
"Steady, Kathleen," said Jack quietly. "You won't blow up now,
will you? You have been so splendid! Can you hold on?"
She drew a deep breath, stood for a minute or two in perfect
silence, and then she said, "I can and I will. I am quite right
Of course they exclaimed and stared and even wept a bit--at least
the ladies did--but Jack's pipe helped out amazingly, and, indeed,
he had recovered sufficient strength to walk unhelped to the car.
And while Tom sent the Packard humming along the smooth, resilient
road he kept up with Nora and his sister a rapid fire of breezy
conversation till they reached their own door. It was half an hour
before Tom could bring the doctor, during which time they discussed
the accident in all its bearings and from every point of view.
"I am glad it was not I who was with you," declared Nora. "I
cannot stand blood, and I certainly should have fainted, and what
would you have done then?"
"Not you," declared Jack. "That sort of thing does not go with
your stock. God knows what would have happened to me if I had had
a silly fool with me, for the blood was pumping out all over me.
But, thank God, I had a woman with a brave heart and clever hands."
When the doctor came, Mrs. Waring-Gaunt went in to assist him, but
when the ghastly bloody spectacle lay bare to her eyes she found
herself grow weak and hurried to the kitchen where the others were.
"Oh, I am so silly," she said, "but I am afraid I cannot stand the
sight of it."
Kathleen sprang at once to her feet. "Is there no one there?" she
demanded with a touch of impatience in her voice, and passed
quickly into the room, where she stayed while the doctor snipped
off the frayed patches of skin and flesh and tied up the broken
arteries, giving aid with quick fingers and steady hands till all
"You have done this sort of thing before, Miss Gwynne?" said the
"No, never," she replied.
"Well, you certainly are a brick," he said, turning admiring eyes
upon her. He was a young man and unmarried. "But this is a little
too much for you." From a decanter which stood on a side table he
poured out a little spirits. "Drink this," he said.
"No, thank you, Doctor, I am quite right," said Kathleen, quietly
picking up the bloody debris and dropping them into a basin which
she carried into the other room. "He is all right now," she said
to Mrs. Waring-Gaunt, who took the basin from her, exclaiming,
"My poor dear, you are awfully white. I am ashamed of myself. Now
you must lie down at once."
"No, please, I shall go home, I think. Where is Nora?"
"Nora has gone home. You won't lie down a little? Then Tom shall
take you in the car. You are perfectly splendid. I did not think
you had it in you."
"Oh, don't, don't," cried the girl, a quick rush of tears coming to
her eyes. "I must go, I must go. Oh, I feel terrible. I don't
know what I have done. Let me go home." She almost pushed Mrs.
Waring-Gaunt from her and went out of the house and found Tom
standing by the car smoking.
"Take her home, Tom," said his wife. "She needs rest."
"Come along, Kathleen; rest--well, rather. Get in beside me here.
Feel rather rotten, eh, what? Fine bit of work, good soldier--no,
don't talk--monologue indicated." And monologue it was till he
delivered her, pale, weary and spent, to her mother.
AN EXTRAORDINARY NURSE
"A letter for you, Nora," said Larry, coming just in from the post
"From Jane!" cried Nora, tearing open the letter. "Oh, glory," she
continued. "They are coming. Let's see, written on the ninth,
leaving to-morrow and arrive at Melville Station on the twelfth.
Why, that's tomorrow."
"Who, Nora?" said Larry. "Jane?"
"Yes, Jane and her father. She says, 'We mean to stay two or three
days, if you can have us, on our way to Banff.'"
"Hurrah! Good old Jane! What train did you say?" cried Larry.
"Sixteen-forty-five to-morrow at Melville Station."
"'We'll have one trunk and two boxes, so you will need some sort of
rig, I am afraid. I hope this will not be too much trouble.'"
"Isn't that just like Jane?" said Larry. "I bet you she gives the
size of the trunk, doesn't she, Nora?"
"A steamer trunk and pretty heavy, she says."
"Same old girl. Does she give you the colour?" inquired Larry.
"Like an old maid, she is."
"Nonsense," said Nora, closing up her letter. "Oh, it's splendid.
Let's see, it is eight years since we saw her."
"Just about fifteen months since I saw her," said Larry.
"And about four months for me," said Kathleen.
"But eight years for me," cried Nora, "and she has never missed
writing me every week, except once when she had the mumps, and she
made her father write that week. Now we shall have to take our old
democrat to meet her, the awful old thing," said Nora in a tone of
"Jane won't mind if it is a hayrack," said Larry.
"No, but her father. He's such a swell. I hate meeting him with
that old bone cart. But we can't help it. Oh, I am just nutty
over her coming. I wonder what she's like?"
"Why, she's the same old Jane," said Larry. "That's one immense
satisfaction about her. She is always the same, no matter when,
how or where you meet her. There's never a change in Jane."
"I wonder if she has improved--got any prettier, I mean."
"Prettier! What the deuce are you talking about?" said Larry
indignantly. "Prettier! Like a girl that is! You never think of
looks when you see Jane. All you see is just Jane and her big blue
eyes and her smile. Prettier! Who wants her prettier?"
"Oh, all right, Larry. Don't fuss. She IS plain-looking, you
know. But she is such a good sort. I must tell Mrs. Waring-
"Do," said Larry, "and be sure to ask her for her car."
Nora made a face at him, but ran to the 'phone and in an ecstatic
jumble of words conveyed the tremendous news to the lady at the
other end of the wire and to all the ears that might be open along
the party line.
"Is that Mrs. Waring-Gaunt?--it's Nora speaking. I have the most
glorious news for you. Jane is coming!--You don't know Jane? My
friend, you know, in Winnipeg. You must have often heard me speak
of her.--What?--Brown.--No, Brown, B-r-o-w-n. And she's coming to-
morrow.--No, her father is with her.--Yes, Dr. Brown of Winnipeg.--
Oh, yes. Isn't it splendid?--Three days only, far too short. And
we meet her to-morrow.--I beg your pardon?--Sixteen-forty-five, she
says, and she is always right. Oh, a change in the time table is
there?--Yes, I will hold on.--Sixteen-forty-five, I might have
known.--What do you say?--Oh, could you? Oh, dear Mrs. Waring-
Gaunt, how perfectly splendid of you! But are you sure you can?--
Oh, you are just lovely.--Yes, she has one trunk, but that can come
in the democrat. Oh, that is perfectly lovely! Thank you so much.
Good-bye.--What? Yes, oh, yes, certainly I must go.--Will there be
room for him? I am sure he will love to go. That will make five,
you know, and they have two bags. Oh, lovely; you are awfully
good.--We shall need to start about fifteen o'clock. Good-bye.
Oh, how is Mr. Romayne?--Oh, I am so sorry, it is too bad. But,
Mrs. Waring-Gaunt, you know Dr. Brown is a splendid doctor, the
best in Winnipeg, one of the best in Canada. He will tell you
exactly what to do.--I beg your pardon?--Yes, she's here.
Kathleen, you are wanted. Hurry up, don't keep her waiting. Oh,
isn't she a dear?"
"What does she want of me?" said Kathleen, a flush coming to her
"Come and see," said Nora, covering the transmitter with her hand,
"and don't keep her waiting. What is the matter with you?"
Reluctantly Kathleen placed the receiver to her ear. "Yes, Mrs.
Waring-Gaunt, it is Kathleen speaking.--Yes, thank you, quite
well.--Oh, I have been quite all right, a little shaken perhaps.--
Yes, isn't it splendid? Nora is quite wild, you know. Jane is her
dearest friend and she has not seen her since we were children, but
they have kept up a most active correspondence. Of course, I saw a
great deal of her last year. She is a splendid girl and they were
so kind; their house was like a home to me. I am sure it is very
kind of you to offer to meet them.--I beg your pardon?--Oh, I am so
sorry to hear that. We thought he was doing so well. What brought
that on?--Blood-poisoning!--Oh, Mrs. Waring-Gaunt, you don't say
so? How terrible! Isn't it good that Dr. Brown is coming? He
will know exactly what is wrong.--Oh, I am so sorry to hear that.
Sleeplessness is so trying.--Yes--Yes--Oh, Mrs. Waring-Gaunt, I am
afraid I couldn't do that." Kathleen's face had flushed bright
crimson. "But I am sure Mother would be so glad to go, and she is
a perfectly wonderful nurse. She knows just what to do.--Oh, I am
afraid not. Wait, please, a moment."
"What does she want?" asked Nora.
Kathleen covered the transmitter with her hand. "She wants me to
go and sit with Mr. Romayne while she drives you to the station. I
cannot, I cannot do that. Where is Mother? Oh, Mother, I cannot
go to Mrs. Waring-Gaunt's. I really cannot."
"What nonsense, Kathleen!" cried Nora impatiently. "Why can't you
go, pray? Let me speak to her." She took the receiver from her
sister's hand. "Yes, Mrs. Waring-Gaunt, it is Nora.--I beg your
pardon?--Oh, yes, certainly, one of us will be glad to go.--No, no,
certainly not. I would not have Mr. Waring-Gaunt leave his work
for the world.--I know, I know, awfully slow for him. We had not
heard of the change. It is too bad.--Yes, surely one of us will be
glad to come. We will fix it up some way. Good-bye."
Nora hung up the receiver and turned fiercely upon her sister.
"Now, what nonsense is this," she said, "and she being so nice
about the car, and that poor man suffering there, and we never even
heard that he was worse? He was doing so splendidly, getting about
all right. Blood-poisoning is so awful. Why, you remember the
Mills boy? He almost lost his arm."
"Oh, my dear Nora," said her mother. "There is no need of
imagining such terrible things, but I am glad Dr. Brown is to be
here. It is quite providential. I am sure he will put poor Mr.
Romayne right. Kathleen, dear," continued the mother, turning to
her elder daughter, "I think it would be very nice if you would run
over to-morrow while Mrs. Waring-Gaunt drives to the station. I am
sure it is very kind of her."
"I know it is, Mother dear," said Kathleen. "But don't you think
you would be so much better?"
"Oh, rubbish!" cried Nora. "If it were not Jane that is coming, I
would go myself; I would only be too glad to go. He is perfectly
splendid, so patient, and so jolly too, and Kathleen, you ought to
"Nora, dear, we won't discuss it," said the mother in the tone that
the family knew meant the end of all conversation. Kathleen
hurried away from them and took refuge in her own room. Then
shutting the door, she began pacing the floor, fighting once more
the battle which during that last ten days she had often fought
with herself and of which she was thoroughly weary. "Oh," she
groaned, wringing her hands, "I cannot do it. I cannot look at
him." She thought of that calm, impassive face which for the past
three months this English gentleman had carried in all of his
intercourse with her, and over against that reserve of his she
contrasted her own passionate abandonment of herself in that
dreadful moment of self-revelation. The contrast caused her to
writhe in an agony of self-loathing. She knew little of men, but
instinctively she felt that in his sight she had cheapened herself
and never could she bear to look at him again. She tried to recall
those glances of his and those broken, passionate words uttered
during the moments of his physical suffering that seemed to mean
something more than friendliness. Against these, however, was the
constantly recurring picture of a calm cold face and of intercourse
marked with cool indifference. "Oh, he cannot love me," she cried
to herself. "I am sure he does not love me, and I just threw
myself at him." In her march up and down the room she paused
before her mirror and looked at the face that stared so wildly back
at her. Her eyes rested on the red line of her mouth. "Oh," she
groaned, rubbing vigorously those full red lips. "I just kissed
him." She paused in the rubbing operation, gazed abstractedly into
the glass; a tender glow drove the glare from her eyes, a delicious
softness as from some inner well overflowed her countenance, the
red blood surged up into her white face; she fled from her accusing
mirror, buried her burning face in the pillow in an exultation of
rapture. She dared not put into words the thoughts that rioted in
her heart. "But I loved it, I loved it; I am glad I did." Lying
there, she strove to recall in shameless abandon the sensation of
those ecstatic moments, whispering in passionate self-defiance, "I
don't care what he thinks. I don't care if I was horrid. I am NOT
sorry. Besides, he looked so dreadful." But she was too honest
not to acknowledge to herself that not for pity's sake but for
love's she had kissed him, and without even his invitation. Then
once again she recalled the look in his eyes of surprise in the
moment of his returning consciousness, and the little smile that
played around his lips. Again wave upon wave of sickening self-
loathing flooded from her soul every memory of the bliss of that
supreme moment. Even now she could feel the bite of the cold, half
humorous scorn in the eyes that had opened upon her as she withdrew
her lips from his. On the back of this came another memory, sharp
and stabbing, that this man was ill, perhaps terribly ill. "We are
a little anxious about him," his sister had said, and she had
mentioned the word "blood-poisoning." Of the full meaning of that
dread word Kathleen had little knowledge, but it held for her a
horror of something unspeakably dangerous. He had been restless,
sleepless, suffering for the last two days and two nights. That
very night and that very hour he was perhaps tossing in fever. An
uncontrollable longing came over her to go to him. Perhaps she
might give him a few hours' rest, might indeed help to give him the
turn to health again. After all, what mattered her feelings. What
difference if he should despise her, provided she brought him help
in an hour of crisis. Physically weary with the long struggle
through which she had been passing during the last ten days, sick
at heart, and torn with anxiety for the man she loved, she threw
herself upon her bed and abandoned herself to a storm of tears.
Her mother came announcing tea, but this she declined, pleading
headache and a desire to sleep. But no sooner had her mother
withdrawn than she rose from her bed and with deliberate purpose
sat herself down in front of her mirror again. She would have this
out with herself now. "Well, you are a beauty, sure enough," she
said, addressing her swollen and disfigured countenance. "Why
can't you behave naturally? You are acting like a fool and you are
not honest with yourself. Come now, tell the truth for a few
minutes if you can. Do you want to go and see this man or not?
Answer truly." "Well, I do then." The blue eyes looked back
defiantly at her. "Why? to help him? for his sake? Come, the
truth." "Yes, for his sake, at least partly." "And for your own
sake, too? Come now, none of that. Never mind the blushing."
"Yes, for my own sake, too." "Chiefly for your own sake?" "No, I
do not think so. Chiefly I wish to help him." "Then why not go?"
Ah, this is a poser. She looks herself fairly in the eye,
distinctly puzzled. Why should she not simply go to him and help
him through a bad hour? With searching, deliberate persistence she
demanded an answer. She will have the truth out of herself. "Why
not go to him if you so desire to help him?" "Because I am
ashamed, because I have made myself cheap, and I cannot bear his
eyes upon me. Because if I have made a mistake and he does not
care for me--oh, then I never want to see him again, for he would
pity me, and that I cannot bear." "What? Not even to bring him
rest and relief from his pain? Not to help him in a critical hour?
He has been asking for you, remember." Steadily they face each
other, eye to eye, and all at once she is conscious that the
struggle is over, and, looking at the face in the glass, she says,
"Yes, I think I would be willing to do that for him, no matter how
it would shame me." Another heart-searching pause, and the eyes
answer her again, "I will go to-morrow." At once she reads a new
peace in the face that gazes at her so weary and wan, and she knows
that for the sake of the man she loves she is willing to endure
even the shame of his pity. The battle was over and some sort of
victory at least she had won. An eager impatience possessed her to
go to him at once. "I wish it were to-morrow now, this very
She rose and looked out into the night. There was neither moon nor
stars and a storm was brewing, but she knew she could find her way
in the dark. Quietly and with a great peace in her heart she
bathed her swollen face, changed her dress to one fresh from the
ironing board--pale blue it was with a dainty vine running through
it--threw a wrap about her and went out to her mother.
"I am going up to the Waring-Gaunts', Mother. They might need me,"
she said in a voice of such serene control that her mother only
"Yes, dear, Larry will go with you. He will soon be in."
"There is no need, Mother, I am not afraid."
Her mother made no answer but came to her and with a display of
tenderness unusual between them put her arms about her and kissed
her. "Good-night, then, darling; I am sure you will do them good."
The night was gusty and black, but Kathleen had no fear. The road
was known to her, and under the impulse of the purpose that
possessed her she made nothing of the darkness nor of the
approaching storm. She hurried down the lane toward the main
trail, refusing to discuss with herself the possible consequence of
what she was doing. Nor did she know just what situation she might
find at the Waring-Gaunts'. They would doubtless be surprised to
see her. They might not need her help at all. She might be going
upon a fool's errand, but all these suppositions and forebodings
she brushed aside. She was bent upon an errand of simple kindness
and help. If she found she was not needed she could return home
and no harm done.
Receiving no response to her knock, she went quietly into the
living room. A lamp burned low upon the table. There was no one
to be seen. Upstairs a child was wailing and the mother's voice
could be heard soothing the little one to sleep. From a bedroom,
of which the door stood open, a voice called. The girl's heart
stood still. It was Jack's voice, and he was calling for his
sister. She ran upstairs to the children's room.
"He is calling for you," she said to Mrs. Waring-Gaunt without
preliminary greeting. "Let me take Doris."
But Doris set up a wail of such acute dismay that the distracted
mother said, "Could you just step in and see what is wanted? Jack
has been in bed for two days. We have been unable to get a nurse
anywhere, and tonight both little girls are ill. I am so thankful
you came over. Indeed, I was about to send for one of you. Just
run down and see what Jack wants. I hope you don't mind. I shall
be down presently when Doris goes to sleep."
"I am not going to sleep, Mamma," answered Doris emphatically. "I
am going to keep awake, for if I go to sleep I know you will go
"All right, darling, Mother is going to stay with you," and she
took the little one in her arms, adding, "Now we are all right,
Kathleen ran downstairs, turned up the light in the living room and
passed quietly into the bedroom.
"Sorry to trouble you, Sybil, but there's something wrong with this
Kathleen went and brought in the lamp. "Your sister cannot leave
Doris, Mr. Romayne," she said quietly. "Perhaps I can be of use."
For a few moments the sick man gazed at her as at a vision. "Is
this another of them?" he said wearily. "I have been having
hallucinations of various sorts for the last two days, but you do
look real. It is you, Kathleen, isn't it?"
"Really me, Mr. Romayne," said the girl cheerfully. "Let me look
at your arm."
"Oh, hang it, say 'Jack,' won't you, and be decent to a fellow. My
God, I have wanted you for these ten days. Why didn't you come to
me? What did I do? I hurt you somehow, but you know I wouldn't
willingly. Why have you stayed away from me?" He raised himself
upon his elbow, his voice was high, thin, weak, his eyes
glittering, his cheeks ghastly with the high lights of fever upon
Shocked, startled and filled with a poignant mothering pity,
Kathleen struggled with a longing to take him in her arms and
comfort him as the mother was the little wailing child upstairs.
"Excuse me just a moment," she cried, and ran out into the living
room and then outside the door and stood for a moment in the dark,
drawing deep breaths and struggling to get control of the pity and
of the joy that surged through her heart. "Oh, God," she cried,
lifting her hands high above her head in appeal, "help me to be
strong and steady. He needs me and he wants me too."
From the darkness in answer to her appeal there came a sudden
quietness of nerve and a sense of strength and fitness for her
work. Quickly she entered the house and went again to the sick
"Thank God," cried Jack. "I thought I was fooled again. You won't
go away, Kathleen, for a little while, will you? I feel just like
a kiddie in the dark, do you know? Like a fool rather. You won't
go again?" He raised himself upon his arm, the weak voice raised
to a pitiful appeal.
It took all her own fortitude to keep her own voice steady. "No,
Jack, I am going to stay. I am your nurse, you know, and I am your
boss too. You must do just as I say. Remember that. You must
behave yourself as a sick man should."
He sank back quietly upon the pillow. "Thank God. Anything under
heaven I promise if only you stay, Kathleen. You will stay, won't
"Didn't you hear me promise?"
"Yes, yes," he said, a great relief in his tired face. "All right,
I am good. But you have made me suffer, Kathleen."
"Now, then, no talk," said Kathleen. "We will look at that arm."
She loosened the bandages. The inflamed and swollen appearance of
the arm sickened and alarmed her. There was nothing she could do
there. She replaced the bandages. "You are awfully hot. I am
going to sponge your face a bit if you will let me."
"Go on," he said gratefully, "do anything you like if only you
don't go away again."
"Now, none of that. A nurse doesn't run away from her job, does
she?" She had gotten control of herself, and her quick, clever
fingers, with their firm, cool touch, seemed to bring rest to the
jangling nerves of the sick man. Whatever it was, whether the
touch of her fingers or the relief of the cool water upon his
fevered face and arm, by the time the bathing process was over,
Jack was lying quietly, already rested and looking like sleep.
"I say, this is heavenly," he murmured. "Now a drink, if you
please. I believe there is medicine about due too," he said. She
gave him a drink, lifting up his head on her strong arm. "I could
lift myself, you know," he said, looking up into her face with a
little smile, "but I like this way so much better if you don't
"Certainly not; I am your nurse, you know," replied Kathleen. "Now
your medicine." She found the bottle under his direction and,
again lifting his head, gave him his medicine.
"Oh, this is fine. I will take my medicine as often as you want me
to, and I think another drink would be good." She brought him the
glass. "I like to drink slowly," he said, looking up into her
eyes. But she shook her head at him.
"No nonsense now," she warned him.
"Nonsense!" he said, sinking back with a sigh, "I want you to
believe me, Kathleen, it is anything but nonsense. My God, it is
"Now then," said Kathleen, ignoring his words, "I shall just smooth
out your pillows and straighten down your bed, tuck you in and make
you comfortable for the night and then--"
"And then," he interrupted eagerly, "oh, Kathleen, all good
children get it, you know."
A deep flush tinged her face. "Now you are not behaving properly."
"But, Kathleen," he cried, "why not? Listen to me. There's no
use. I cannot let you go till I have this settled. I must know.
No, don't pull away from me, Kathleen. You know I love you, with
all my soul, with all I have, I love you. Oh, don't pull away from
me. Ever since that day when I first saw you three months ago I
have loved you. I have tried not to. God knows I have tried not
to because I thought you were pledged to that--that German fellow.
Tell me, Kathleen. Why you are shaking, darling! Am I frightening
you? I would not frighten you. I would not take advantage of you.
But do you care a little bit? Tell me. I have had ten days of
sheer hell. For one brief minute I thought you loved me. You
almost said you did. But then you never came to me and I have
feared that you did not care. But to-night I must know. I must
know now." He raised himself up to a sitting posture. "Tell me,
Kathleen; I must know."
"Oh, Jack," she panted. "You are not yourself now. You are weak
and just imagine things."
"Imagine things," he cried with a kind of fierce rage. "Imagine!
Haven't I for these three months fought against this every day?
Oh, Kathleen, if you only knew. Do you love me a little, even a
Suddenly the girl ceased her struggling. "A little!" she cried.
"No, Jack, not a little, but with all my heart I love you. I
should not tell you to-night, and, oh, I meant to be so strong and
not let you speak till you were well again, but I can't help it.
But are you quite sure, Jack? Are you sure you won't regret this
when you are well again?"
He put his strong arm round about her and drew her close. "I can't
half hold you, darling," he said in her ear. "This confounded arm
of mine--but you do it for me. Put your arms around me, sweetheart,
and tell me that you love me."
She wreathed her arms round about his neck and drew him close.
"Oh, Jack," she said, "I may be wrong, but I am so happy, and I
never thought to be happy again. I cannot believe it. Oh, what
awful days these have been!" she said with a break in her voice and
hiding her face upon his shoulder.
"Never mind, sweetheart, think of all the days before us."
"Are you sure, Jack?" she whispered to him, still hiding her face.
"Are you very sure that you will not be ashamed of me? I felt so
dreadful and I came in just to help you, and I was so sure of
myself. But when I saw you lying there, Jack, I just could not
help myself." Her voice broke.
He turned her face up a little toward him. "Look at me," he said.
She opened her eyes and, looking steadily into his, held them
there. "Say, 'Jack, I love you,'" he whispered to her.
A great flood of red blood rushed over her face, then faded,
leaving her white, but still her eyes held his fast. "Jack," she
whispered, "my Jack, I love you."
"Kathleen, dear heart," he said.
Closer he drew her lips toward his. Suddenly she closed her eyes,
her whole body relaxed, and lay limp against him. As his lips met
hers, her arms tightened about him and held him in a strong
embrace. Then she opened her eyes, raised herself up, and gazed at
him as if in surprise. "Oh, Jack," she cried, "I cannot think it
is true. Are you sure? I could not bear it if you were mistaken."
There was the sound of a footstep on the stair. "Let me go, Jack;
there's your sister coming. Quick! Lie down." Hurriedly, she
began once more to bathe his face as Mrs. Waring-Gaunt came in.
"Is he resting?" she said. "Why, Jack, you seem quite feverish.
Did you give him his medicine?"
"Yes, about an hour ago, I think."
"An hour! Why, before you came upstairs? How long have you been
"Oh, no, immediately after I came down," said the girl in confusion.
"I don't know how long ago. I didn't look at the time." She busied
herself straightening the bed.
"Sybil, she doesn't know how long ago," said Jack. "She's been
behaving as I never have heard of any properly trained nurse
behaving. She's been kissing me."
"Oh, Jack," gasped Kathleen, flushing furiously.
"Kissing you!" exclaimed Mrs. Waring-Gaunt, looking from one to the
"Yes, and I have been kissing her," continued Jack shamelessly.
"Oh, Jack," again gasped Kathleen, looking at Mrs. Waring-Gaunt
"Yes," continued Jack in a voice of triumph, "and we are going to
do it right along every day and all day long with suitable pauses
for other duties and pleasures."
"Oh, you darling," exclaimed Mrs. Waring-Gaunt rushing at her. "I
am so glad. Well, you are a 'wunner' as the Marchioness says. I
had thought--but never mind. Jack, dear, I do congratulate you. I
think you are in awful luck. Yes, and you too, Kathleen, for he is
a fine boy. I will go and tell Tom this minute."
"Do," said Jack, "and please don't hurry. My nurse is perfectly
competent to take care of me in the meantime."
THE COMING OF JANE
At sixteen-forty-five the Waring-Gaunt car was standing at the
Melville Station awaiting the arrival of the train which was to
bring Jane and her father, but no train was in sight. Larry, after
inquiry at the wicket, announced that she was an hour late. How
much more the agent, after the exasperating habit of railroad
officials, could not say, nor could he assign any reason for the
"Let me talk to him," said Nora impatiently. "I know Mr. Field."
Apparently the official reserve in which Mr. Field had wrapped
himself was not proof against the smile which Nora flung at him
through the wicket.
"We really cannot say how late she will be, Miss Nora. I may tell
you, but we are not saying anything about it, that there has been
"An accident!" exclaimed Nora. "Why, we are expecting--"
"No, there is no one hurt. A freight has been derailed, and torn
up the track a bit. The passenger train is held up just beyond
Fairfield. It will be a couple of hours, perhaps three, before she
arrives." At this point the telegraph instrument clicked. "Just a
minute, Miss Nora, there may be something on the wire." With his
fingers on the key he executed some mysterious prestidigitations,
wrote down some words, and came to the wicket again. "Funny," he
said, "it is a wire for you, Miss Nora."
Nora took the yellow slip and read: "Delayed by derailed freight.
Time of arrival uncertain. Very sorry, Jane."
"What do you think of this?" cried Nora, carrying the telegram out
to the car. "Isn't it perfectly exasperating? That takes off one
of their nights."
"Where is the accident?" inquired Mrs. Waring-Gaunt.
"Just above Fairfield."
"Fairfield! The poor things! Jump in and we will be there in no
time. It is not much further to Wolf Willow from Fairfield than
from here. Hurry up, we must make time."
"Now, Mrs. Waring-Gaunt, I know your driving. Just remember that I
am an only son. I prefer using all four wheels on curves, please."
"Let her go," cried Nora.
And Mrs. Waring-Gaunt "let her go" at such speed that Larry
declared he had time for only two perfectly deep breaths, one
before they started, the other after they had pulled up beside the
Pullman car at the scene of the wreck.
"Jane, Jane, Jane," yelled Larry, waving his hands wildly to a girl
who was seen sitting beside a window reading. The girl looked up,
sprang from her seat, and in a moment or two appeared on the
platform. "Come on," yelled Larry. He climbed over a wire fence,
and up the steep grade of the railroad embankment. Down sprang the
girl, met him half way up the embankment, and gave him both her
hands. "Jane, Jane," exclaimed Larry. "You are looking splendidly.
Do you know," he added in a low voice, "I should love to kiss you
right here. May I? Look at all the people; they would enjoy it so
The girl jerked away her hands, the blood showing dully under her
brown skin. "Stop it, you silly boy. Is that Nora? Yes, it is."
She waved her hand wildly at Nora, who was struggling frantically
with the barbed wire fence. "Wait, I am coming, Nora," cried Jane.
Down the embankment she scrambled and, over the wire, the two girls
embraced each other to the delight of the whole body of the
passengers gathered at windows and on platforms, and to the
especial delight of a handsome young giant, resplendent in a new
suit of striped flannels, negligee shirt, blue socks with tie to
match, and wearing a straw hat adorned with a band in college
colours. With a wide smile upon his face he stood gazing down upon
the enthusiastic osculation of the young ladies.
"Mrs. Waring-Gaunt, this is Jane," cried Nora. "Mrs. Waring-Gaunt
has come to meet you and take you home," she added to Jane. "You
know we have no car of our own."
"How do you do," said Jane, smiling at Mrs. Waring-Gaunt. "I can't
get at you very well just now. It was very kind of you to come for
"And she has left her brother very sick at home," said Nora in a
"We won't keep you waiting," said Jane, beginning to scramble up
the bank again. "Come, Larry, I shall get father and you shall
help with our things."
"Right you are," said Larry.
"Met your friends, I see, Miss Brown," said the handsome giant. "I
know it is mean of me, but I am really disgusted. It is bad enough
to be held up here for a night, but to lose your company too."
"Well, I am awfully glad," said Jane, giving him such a delighted
smile that he shook his head disconsolately.
"No need telling me that. Say," he added in an undertone, "that's
your friend Nora, ain't it? Stunning girl. Introduce me, won't
Back to Full Books