The Patrol of the Sun Dance Trail
Part 3 out of 7
"And you made the tea yourself?" inquired Mandy.
"Sure thing! The Doc--"
"Well, Billy, I'd just love a cup of tea if you don't mind wasting
it on me."
"Sure thing, ma'm! The Doc won't mind, bein' as she turned it
"Where is Dr. Martin gone, Billy? He needs a cup of tea; he's been
up all night. He must be feeling tough."
"Judgin' by his langwidge I should surmise yes," said Billy
"Would you get him, Billy, and bring him here?"
"Get him? S'pose I could. But as to bringin' him here, I'd prefer
wild cats myself. The last I seen of him he was hikin' for the
Rockies with a blue haze round his hair."
"But what in the world is wrong with him, Billy?" said Mandy
anxiously. "I've never seen him this way."
"No, nor me," said Billy. "The Doc's a pretty level headed cuss.
There's somethin' workin' on him, if you ask me."
"Billy, you get him and tell him we want to see him at breakfast,
Billy shook his head.
"Tell him, Billy, I want him to see my husband then."
"Sure thing! That'll catch him, I guess. He's dead stuck on his
And it did catch him, for, after breakfast was over, clean-shaven,
calm and controlled, and in his very best professional style, Dr.
Martin made his morning call on his patient. Rigidly he eliminated
from his manner anything beyond a severe professional interest.
Mandy, who for two years had served with him as nurse, and who
thought she knew his every mood, was much perplexed. Do what she
could, she was unable to break through the barrier of his
professional reserve. He was kindly courteous and perfectly
"I would suggest a quiet day for him, Mrs. Cameron," was his
verdict after examining the patient. "He will be quite able to get
up in the afternoon and go about, but not to set off on a hundred
and fifty mile drive. A quiet day, sleep, cheerful company, such
as you can furnish here, will fix him up."
"Doctor, we will secure the quiet day if you will furnish the
cheerful company," said Mandy, beaming on him.
"I have a very busy day before me, and as for cheerful company,
with you two ladies he will have all the company that is good for
"CHEERFUL company, you said, Doctor. If you desert us how can we
"Exactly for that reason," replied the doctor.
"Say, Martin," interposed Cameron, "take them out for a drive this
afternoon and leave me in peace."
"A drive!" cried Mandy, "with one hundred and fifty miles behind me
and another hundred and fifty miles before me!"
"A ride then," said Cameron. "Moira, you used to be fond of
"And am still," cried the girl, with sparkling eyes.
"A ride!" cried Mandy. "Great! This is the country for riding.
But have you a habit?"
"My habit is in one of my boxes," replied Moira.
"I can get a habit," said the doctor, "and two of them."
"That's settled, then," cried Mandy. "I am not very keen. We
shall do some shopping, Allan, you and I this afternoon and you two
can go off to the hills. The hills! th--ink of that, Moira, for a
highlander!" She glanced at Moira's face and read refusal there.
"But I insist you must go. A whole week in an awful stuffy train.
This is the very thing for you."
"Yes, the very thing, Moira," cried her brother. "We will have a
long talk this morning then in the afternoon we will do some
business here, Mandy and I, and you can go up the Bow."
"The Bow River. A glorious ride. Nothing like it even in
Scotland, and that's saying a good deal," said her brother with
This arrangement appeared to give complete satisfaction to all
parties except those most immediately interested, but there seemed
to be no very sufficient reason with either to decline, hence they
THE RIDE UP THE BOW
Having once agreed to the proposal of a ride up the Bow, the doctor
lost no time in making the necessary preparations. Half an hour
later he found himself in the stable consulting with Billy. His
mood was gloomy and his language reflected his mood. Gladly would
he have escaped what to him, he felt, would be a trying and
prolonged ordeal. But he could not do this without exciting the
surprise of his friends and possibly wounding the sensitive girl
whom he would gladly give his life to serve. He resolved that at
all costs he would go through with the thing.
"I'll give her a good time, by Jingo! if I bust something," he
muttered as he walked up and down the stable picking out his
mounts. "But for a compound, double-opposed, self-adjusting
jackass, I'm your choice. Lost my first chance. Threw it clean
away and queered myself with her first shot. I say, Billy," he
called, "come here."
"What's up, Doc?" said Billy.
"Kick me, Billy," said the doctor solemnly.
"Well now, Doc, I--"
"Kick me, Billy, good and swift."
"Don't believe I could give no satisfaction, Doc. But there's that
Hiram mule, he's a high class artist. You might back up to him."
"No use being kicked, Billy, by something that wouldn't appreciate
it," said Martin.
"Don't guess that way, Doc. He's an ornery cuss, he'd appreciate
it all right, that old mule. But Doc, what's eatin' you?"
"Oh, nothing, Billy, except that I'm an ass, an infernal ass."
"An ass, eh? Then I guess I couldn't give you no satisfaction.
You better try that mule."
"Well, Billy, the horses at two," said the doctor briskly, "the
broncho and that dandy little pinto."
"All serene, Doc. Hope you'll have a good time. Brace up, Doc,
it's comin' to you." Billy's wink conveyed infinitely more than
"Look here, Billy, you cut that all out," said the doctor.
"All right, Doc, if that's the way you feel. You'll see no monkey-
work on me. I'll make a preacher look like a sideshow."
And truly Billy's manner was irreproachable as he stood with the
ponies at the hotel door and helped their riders to mount. There
was an almost sad gravity in his demeanor that suggested a mind
preoccupied with solemn and unworldly thoughts with which the
doctor and his affairs had not even the remotest association.
As Cameron who, with his wife, watched their departure from the
balcony above, waved them farewell, he cried, "Keep your eyes
skinned for an Indian, Martin. Bring him in if you find him."
"I've got no gun on me," replied the doctor, "and if I get sight of
him, you hear me, I'll make for the timber quick. No heroic
captures for me this trip."
"What is all this about the Indian, Dr. Martin?" inquired the girl
at his side as they cantered down the street.
"Didn't your brother tell you?"
"Well, I've done enough to you with that Indian already to-day."
"Didn't I like a fool frighten you nearly to death with him?"
"Well, I was startled. I was silly to show it. But an Indian to
an Old Country person familiar with Fenimore Cooper, well--"
"Oh, I was a proper idiot all round this morning," grumbled the
doctor. "I didn't know what I was doing."
The brown eyes were open wide upon him.
"You see," continued the doctor desperately, "I'd looked forward to
meeting you for so long." The brown eyes grew wider. "And then to
think that I actually didn't know you."
"You didn't look at me," cried Moira.
"No, I was looking for the girl I saw that day, almost three years
ago, in the Glen. I have never forgotten that day."
"No, nor I," replied the girl softly. "That is how I knew you. It
was a terrible day to us all in the Glen, my brother going to leave
us and under that dreadful cloud, and you came with the letter that
cleared it all away. Oh, it was like the coming of an angel from
heaven, and I have often thought, Mr. Martin--Dr. Martin you are
now, of course--that I never thanked you as I ought that day. I
was thinking of Allan. I have often wished to do it. I should
like to do it now."
"Get at it," cried the doctor with great emphasis, "I need it. It
might help me a bit. I behaved so stupidly this morning. The
truth is, I was completely knocked out, flabbergasted."
"Was that it?" cried Moira with a bright smile. "I thought--" A
faint color tinged her pale cheek and she paused a moment. "But
tell me about the Indian. My brother just made little of it. It
is his way with me. He thinks me just a little girl not to be
trusted with things."
"He doesn't know you, then," said the doctor.
She laughed gayly. "And do you?"
"I know you better than that, at least."
"What can you know about me?"
"I know you are to be trusted with that or with anything else that
calls for nerve. Besides, sooner or later you must know about this
Indian. Wait till we cross the bridge and reach the top of the
hill yonder, it will be better going."
The hillside gave them a stiff scramble, for the trail went
straight up. But the sure-footed ponies, scrambling over stones
and gravel, reached the top safely, with no worse result than an
obvious disarrangement of the girl's hair, so that around the
Scotch bonnet which she had pinned on her head the little brown
curls were peeping in a way that quite shook the heart of Dr.
"Now you look a little more like yourself," he cried, his eyes
fastened upon the curls with unmistakable admiration, "more like
the girl I remember."
"Oh," she said, "it is my bonnet. I put on this old thing for the
"No," said the doctor, "you wore no bonnet that day. It is your
face, your hair, you are not quite--so--so proper."
"My hair!" Her hands went up to her head. "Oh, my silly curls, I
suppose. They are my bane." ("My joy," the doctor nearly had
said.) "But now for the Indian story."
Then the doctor grew grave.
"It is not a pleasant thing to greet a guest with," he said, "but
you must know it and I may as well give it to you. And, mind you,
this is altogether a new thing with us."
For the next half hour as they rode westward toward the big hills,
steadily climbing as they went, the story of the disturbance in the
north country, of the unrest among the Indians, of the part played
in it by the Indian Copperhead, and of the appeal by the
Superintendent to Cameron for assistance, furnished the topic for
conversation. The girl listened with serious face, but there was
no fear in the brown eyes, nor tremor in the quiet voice, as they
talked it over.
"Now let us forget it for a while," cried the doctor. "The Police
have rarely, if ever, failed to get their man. That is their
boast. And they will get this chap, too. And as for the row on
the Saskatchewan, I don't take much stock in that. Now we're
coming to a view in a few minutes, one of the finest I have seen
For half a mile farther they loped along the trail that led them to
the top of a hill that stood a little higher than the others round
about. Upon the hilltop they drew rein.
"What do you think of that for a view?" said the doctor.
Before them stretched the wide valley of the Bow for many miles,
sweeping up toward the mountains, with rounded hills on either
side, and far beyond the hills the majestic masses of the Rockies
some fifty miles away, snow-capped, some of them, and here and
there upon their faces the great glaciers that looked like patches
of snow. Through this wide valley wound the swift flowing Bow, and
up from it on either side the hills, rough with rocks and ragged
masses of pine, climbed till they seemed to reach the very bases of
the mountains beyond. Over all the blue arch of sky spanned the
wide valley and seemed to rest upon the great ranges on either
side, like the dome of a vast cathedral.
Silent, with lips parted and eyes alight with wonder, Moira sat and
gazed upon the glory of that splendid scene.
"What do you think--" began the doctor.
She put out her hand and touched his arm.
"Please don't speak," she breathed, "this is not for words, but for
Long she continued to gaze in rapt silence upon the picture spread
out before her. It was, indeed, a place for worship. She pointed
to a hill some distance in front of them.
"You have been beyond that?" she asked in a hushed voice.
"Yes, I have been all through this country. I know it well. From
the top of that hill we get a magnificent sweep toward the south."
"Let us go!" she cried.
Down the hillside they scrambled, across a little valley and up the
farther side, following the trail that wound along the hill but
declined to make the top. As they rounded the shoulder of the
little mountain Moira cried:
"It would be a great view from the top there beyond the trees. Can
we reach it?"
"Are you good for a climb?" replied the doctor. "We could tie the
For answer she flung herself from her pinto and, gathering up her
habit, began eagerly to climb. By the time the doctor had tethered
the ponies she was half way to the top. Putting forth all his
energy he raced after her, and together they parted a screen of
brushwood and stepped out on a clear rock that overhung the deep
canyon that broadened into a great valley sweeping toward the
"Beats Scotland, eh?" cried the doctor, as they stepped out
She laid her hand upon his arm and drew him back into the bushes.
"Hush," she whispered. Surprised into silence, he stood gazing at
her. Her face was white and her eyes gleaming. "An Indian down
there," she whispered.
"An Indian? Where? Show me."
"He was looking up at us. Come this way. I think he heard us."
She led him by a little detour and on their hands and knees they
crept through the brushwood. They reached the open rock and peered
down through a screen of bushes into the canyon below.
"There he is," cried Moira.
Across the little stream that flowed at the bottom of the canyon,
and not more than a hundred yards away, stood an Indian, tall,
straight and rigidly attent, obviously listening and gazing
steadily at the point where they had first stood. For many minutes
he stood thus rigid while they watched him. Then his attitude
relaxed. He sat down upon the rocky ledge that sloped up from the
stream toward a great overhanging crag behind him, laid his rifle
beside him and, calmly filling his pipe, began to smoke. Intently
they followed his every movement.
"I do believe it is our Indian," whispered the doctor.
"Oh, if we could only get him!" replied the girl.
The doctor glanced swiftly at her. Her face was pale but firm set
with resolve. Quickly he revolved in his mind the possibilities.
"If I only had a gun," he said to himself, "I'd risk it."
"What is he going to do?"
The Indian was breaking off some dead twigs from the standing pines
"He's going to light a fire," replied the doctor, "perhaps camp for
"Then," cried the girl in an excited whisper, "we could get him."
The doctor smiled at her. The Indian soon had his fire going and,
unrolling his blanket pack, he took thence what looked like a lump
of meat, cut some strips from it and hung them from pointed sticks
over the fire. He proceeded to gather some poles from the dead
wood lying about.
"What now is he going to do?" inquired Moira.
"Wait," replied the doctor.
The Indian proceeded to place the poles in order against the rock,
keeping his eye on the toasting meat the while and now and again
turning it before the fire. Then he began to cut branches of
spruce and balsam.
"By the living Jingo!" cried the doctor, greatly excited, "I
declare he's going to camp."
"To sleep?" said Moira.
"Yes," replied the doctor. "He had no sleep last night."
"Then," cried the girl, "we can get him."
The doctor gazed at her in admiration.
"You are a brick," he said. "How can we get him? He'd double me
up like a jack-knife. Remember I only played quarter," he added.
"No, no," she cried quickly, "you stay here to watch him. Let me
go back for the Police."
"I say," cried the doctor, "you are a wonder. There's something in
that." He thought rapidly, then said, "No, it won't do. I can't
allow you to risk it."
"Risk? Risk what?"
A year ago the doctor would not have hesitated a moment to allow
her to go, but now he thought of the roving bands of Indians and
the possibility of the girl falling into their hands.
"No, Miss Cameron, it will not do."
"But think," she cried, "we might get him and save Allan all the
trouble and perhaps his life. You must not stop me. You cannot
stop me. I am going. You wait and watch. Don't move. I can find
He seized her by the arm.
"Wait," he said, "let me think."
"What danger can there be?" she pleaded. "It is broad daylight.
The road is good. I cannot possibly lose my way. I am used to
riding alone among the hills at home."
"Ah, yes, at home," said the doctor gloomily.
"But there is no danger," she persisted. "I am not afraid.
Besides, you cannot keep me." She stood up among the bushes
looking down at him with a face so fiercely resolved that he was
constrained to say, "By Jove! I don't believe I could. But I can
go with you."
"You would not do that," she cried, stamping her foot, "if I
forbade you. It is your duty to stay here and watch that Indian.
It is mine to go and get the Police. Good-by."
He rose to follow her.
"No," she said, "I forbid you to come. You are not doing right.
You are to stay. We will save my brother."
She glided through the bushes from his sight and was gone.
"Am I a fool or what?" said the doctor to himself. "She is taking
a chance, but after all it is worth while."
It was now the middle of the afternoon and it would take Moira an
hour and a half over that rocky winding trail to make the ten miles
that lay before her. Ten minutes more would see the Police started
on their return. The doctor settled himself down to his three
hours' wait, keeping his eye fixed upon the Indian. The latter was
now busy with his meal, which he ate ravenously.
"The beggar has me tied up tight," muttered the doctor ruefully.
"My grub is on my saddle, and I guess I dare not smoke till he
lights up himself."
A hand touched his arm. Instantly he was on his feet. It was
"Great Caesar, you scared me! Thought it was the whole Blackfoot
"You will be the better for something to eat," she said simply,
handing him the lunch basket. "Good-by."
"Hold up!" he cried. But she was gone.
"Say, she's a regular--" He paused and thought for a moment.
"She's an angel, that's what--and a mighty sight better than most
of them. She's a--" He turned back to his watch, leaving his
thought unspoken. In the presence of the greater passions words
are woefully inadequate.
The Indian was still eating as ravenously as ever.
"He's filling up, I guess. He ought to be full soon at that rate.
Wish he'd get his pipe agoing."
In due time the Indian finished eating, rolled up the fragments
carefully in a rag, and then proceeded to construct with the poles
and brush which he had cut, a penthouse against the rock. At one
end his little shelter thus constructed ran into a spruce tree
whose thick branches reached right to the ground. When he had
completed this shelter to his satisfaction he sat down again on the
rock beside his smoldering fire and pulled out his pipe.
"Thanks be!" said the doctor to himself fervently. "Go on, old
boy, hit her up."
A pipe and then another the Indian smoked, then, taking his gun,
blanket and pack, he crawled into his brush wigwam out of sight.
"There, you old beggar!" said the doctor with a sigh of relief.
"You are safe for an hour or two, thank goodness. You had no sleep
last night and you've got to make up for it now. Sleep tight, old
boy. We'll give you a call." The doctor hugged himself with
supreme satisfaction and continued to smoke with his eye fixed upon
the hole into which the Indian had disappeared.
Through the long hours he sat and smoked while he formulated the
plan of attack which he proposed to develop when his reinforcements
"We will work up behind him from away down the valley, a couple of
us will cover him from the front and the others go right in."
He continued with great care to make and revise his plans, and
while in the midst of his final revision a movement in the bushes
behind him startled him to his feet. The bushes parted and the
face of Moira appeared with that of her brother over her shoulder.
"Is he still there?" she whispered eagerly.
"Asleep, snug as a bug. Never moved," said the doctor exultantly,
and proceeded to explain his plan of attack. "How many have you?"
he asked Cameron.
"Crisp and a constable."
"Just two?" said the doctor.
"Two," replied Cameron briefly. "That's plenty. Here they are."
He stepped back through the bushes and brought forward Crisp and
the constable. "Now, then, here's our plan," he said. "You,
Crisp, will go down the canyon, cross the stream and work up on the
other side right to that rock. When you arrive at the rock the
constable and I will go in. The doctor will cover him from this
"Fine!" said the doctor. "Fine, except that I propose to go in
myself with you. He's a devil to fight. I could see that last
"There's really no use, you know, Doctor. The constable and I can
Moira stood looking eagerly from one to the other.
"All right," said the doctor, "'nuff said. Only I'm going in. If
you want to come along, suit yourself."
"Oh, do be careful," said Moira, clasping her hands. "Oh, I'm
"Afraid?" said the doctor, looking at her quickly. "You? Not much
fear in you, I guess."
"Come on, then," said Cameron. "Moira, you stay here and keep your
eye on him. You are safe enough here."
She pressed her lips tight together till they made a thin red line
in her white face.
"Can you let me have a gun?" she asked.
"A gun?" exclaimed the doctor.
"Oh, she can shoot--rabbits, at least," said her brother with a
smile. "I shall bring you one, Moira, but remember, handle it
With a gun across her knees Moira sat and watched the development
of the attack. For many minutes there was no sign or sound, till
she began to wonder if a change had been made in the plan. At
length some distance down the canyon and on the other side Sergeant
Crisp was seen working his way with painful care step by step
toward the rock of rendezvous. There was no sign of her brother or
Dr. Martin. It was for them she watched with an intensity of
anxiety which she could not explain to herself. At length Sergeant
Crisp reached the crag against whose base the penthouse leaned in
which the sleeping Indian lay. Immediately she saw her brother,
quickly followed by Dr. Martin, leap the little stream, run lightly
up the sloping rock and join Crisp at the crag. Still there was no
sign from the Indian. She saw her brother motion the Sergeant
round to the farther corner of the penthouse where it ran into the
spruce tree, while he himself, with a revolver in each hand,
dropped on one knee and peered under the leaning poles. With a
loud exclamation he sprang to his feet.
"He's gone!" he shouted. "Stand where you are!" Like a hound on a
scent he ran to the back of the spruce tree and on his knees
examined the earth there. In a few moments his search was
rewarded. He struck the trail and followed it round the rock and
through the woods till he came to the hard beaten track. Then he
came back, pale with rage and disappointment. "He's gone!" he
"I swear he never came out of that hole!" said Dr. Martin. "I kept
my eye on it every minute of the last three hours."
"There's another hole," said Crisp, "under the tree here."
Cameron said not a word. His disappointment was too keen.
Together they retraced their steps across the little stream. On
the farther bank they found Moira, who had raced down to meet them.
"He's gone?" she cried.
"Gone!" echoed her brother. "Gone for this time--but--some day--
some day," he added below his breath.
But many things were to happen before that day came.
RAVEN TO THE RESCUE
Overhead the stars were still twinkling far in the western sky.
The crescent moon still shone serene, marshaling her attendant
constellations. Eastward the prairie still lay in deep shadow, its
long rolls outlined by the deeper shadows lying in the hollows
between. Over the Bow and the Elbow mists hung like white veils
swathing the faces of the rampart hills north and south. In the
little town a stillness reigned as of death, for at length Calgary
was asleep, and sound asleep would remain for hours to come.
Not so the world about. Through the dead stillness of the waning
night the liquid note of the adventurous meadow lark fell like the
dropping of a silver stream into the pool below. Brave little
heart, roused from slumber perchance by domestic care, perchance by
the first burdening presage of the long fall flight waiting her
sturdy careless brood, perchance stirred by the first thrill of the
Event approaching from the east. For already in the east the long
round tops of the prairie undulations are shining gray above the
dark hollows and faint bars of light are shooting to the zenith,
fearless forerunners of the dawn, menacing the retreating stars
still bravely shining their pale defiance to the oncoming of their
ancient foe. Far toward the west dark masses still lie invincible
upon the horizon, but high above in the clear heavens white shapes,
indefinite and unattached, show where stand the snow-capped
mountain peaks. Thus the swift and silent moments mark the
fortunes of this age-long conflict. But sudden all heaven and all
earth thrill tremulous in eager expectancy of the daily miracle
when, all unaware, the gray light in the eastern horizon over the
roll of the prairie has grown to silver, and through the silver a
streamer of palest rose has flashed up into the sky, the gay and
gallant 'avant courier' of an advancing host, then another and
another, then by tens and hundreds, till, radiating from a center
yet unseen, ten thousand times ten thousand flaming flaunting
banners flash into orderly array and possess the utmost limits of
the heavens, sweeping before them the ever paling stars, that
indomitable rearguard of the flying night, proclaiming to all
heaven and all earth the King is come, the Monarch of the Day.
Flushed in the new radiance of the morning, the long flowing waves
of the prairie, the tumbling hills, the mighty rocky peaks stand
surprised, as if caught all unprepared by the swift advance,
trembling and blushing in the presence of the triumphant King,
waiting the royal proclamation that it is time to wake and work,
for the day is come.
All oblivious of this wondrous miracle stands Billy, his powers of
mind and body concentrated upon a single task, that namely of
holding down to earth the game little bronchos, Mustard and Pepper,
till the party should appear. Nearby another broncho, saddled and
with the knotted reins hanging down from his bridle, stood viewing
with all too obvious contempt the youthful frolics of the colts.
Well he knew that life would cure them of all this foolish waste of
spirit and of energy. Meantime on his part he was content to wait
till his master--Dr. Martin, to wit--should give the order to move.
His master meantime was busily engaged with clever sinewy fingers
packing in the last parcels that represented the shopping activities
of Cameron and his wife during the past two days. There was a whole
living and sleeping outfit for the family to gather together.
Already a heavily laden wagon had gone on before them. The building
material for the new house was to follow, for it was near the end of
September and a tent dwelling, while quite endurable, does not lend
itself to comfort through a late fall in the foothill country.
Besides, there was upon Cameron, and still more upon his wife, the
ever deepening sense of a duty to be done that could not wait, and
for the doing of that duty due preparation must be made. Hence the
new house must be built and its simple appointments and furnishings
set in order without delay, and hence the laden wagon gone before
and the numerous packages in the democrat, covered with a new tent
and roped securely into place.
This packing and roping the doctor made his peculiar care, for he
was a true Canadian, born and bred in the atmosphere of pioneer
days in old Ontario, and the packing and roping could be trusted to
no amateur hands, for there were hills to go up and hills to go
down, sleughs to cross and rivers to ford with all their perilous
contingencies before they should arrive at the place where they
"All secure, Martin?" said Cameron, coming out from the hotel with
hand bags and valises.
"They'll stay, I think," replied the doctor, "unless those bronchos
of yours get away from you."
"Aren't they dears, Billy?" cried Moira, coming out at the moment
and dancing over to the bronchos' heads.
"Well, miss," said Billy with judicial care, "I don't know about
that. They're ornery little cusses and mean-actin.' They'll go
straight enough if everything is all right, but let anythin' go
wrong, a trace or a line, and they'll put it to you good and hard."
"I do not think I would be afraid of them," replied the girl,
reaching out her hand to stroke Pepper's nose, a movement which
surprised that broncho so completely that he flew back violently
upon the whiffle-tree, carrying Billy with him.
"Come up here, you beast!" said Billy, giving him a fierce yank.
"Oh, Billy!" expostulated Moira.
"Oh, he ain't no lady's maid, miss. You would, eh, you young
devil,"--this to Pepper, whose intention to walk over Billy was
only too obvious--"Get back there, will you! Now then, take that,
and stand still!" Billy evidently did not rely solely upon the law
of love in handling his broncho.
Moira abandoned him and climbed to her place in the democrat
between Cameron and his wife.
By a most singular and fortunate coincidence Dr. Martin had learned
that a patient of his at Big River was in urgent need of a call,
so, to the open delight of the others and to the subdued delight of
the doctor, he was to ride with them thus far on their journey.
"All set, Billy?" cried Cameron. "Let them go."
"Good-by, Billy," cried both ladies, to which Billy replied with a
wave of his Stetson.
Away plunged the bronchos on a dead gallop, as if determined to end
the journey during the next half hour at most, and away with them
went the doctor upon his steady broncho, the latter much annoyed at
being thus ignominiously outdistanced by these silly colts and so
induced to strike a somewhat more rapid pace than he considered
wise at the beginning of an all-day journey. Away down the street
between the silent shacks and stores and out among the straggling
residences that lined the trail. Away past the Indian encampment
and the Police Barracks. Away across the echoing bridge, whose
planks resounded like the rattle of rifles under the flying hoofs.
Away up the long stony hill, scrambling and scrabbling, but never
ceasing till they reached the level prairie at the top. Away upon
the smooth resilient trail winding like a black ribbon over the
green bed of the prairie. Away down long, long slopes to low, wide
valleys, and up long, long slopes to the next higher prairie level.
Away across the plain skirting sleughs where ducks of various
kinds, and in hundreds, quacked and plunged and fought joyously and
all unheeding. Away with the morning air, rare and wondrously
exhilarating, rushing at them and past them and filling their
hearts with the keen zest of living. Away beyond sight and sound
of the great world, past little shacks, the brave vanguard of
civilization, whose solitary loneliness only served to emphasize
their remoteness from the civilization which they heralded. Away
from the haunts of men and through the haunts of wild things where
the shy coyote, his head thrown back over his shoulder, loped
laughing at them and their futile noisy speed. Away through the
wide rich pasture lands where feeding herds of cattle and bands of
horses made up the wealth of the solitary rancher, whose low-built
wandering ranch house proclaimed at once his faith and his courage.
Away and ever away, the shining morning hours and the fleeting miles
racing with them, till by noon-day, all wet but still unweary, the
bronchos drew up at the Big River Stopping Place, forty miles from
the point of their departure.
Close behind the democrat rode Dr. Martin, the steady pace of his
wise old broncho making up upon the dashing but somewhat erratic
gait of the colts.
While the ladies passed into the primitive Stopping Place, the men
unhitched the ponies, stripped off their harness and proceeded to
rub them down from head to heel, wash out their mouths and remove
from them as far as they could by these attentions the travel marks
of the last six hours.
Big River could hardly be called even by the generous estimate of
the optimistic westerner a town. It consisted of a blacksmith's
shop, with which was combined the Post Office, a little school,
which did for church--the farthest outpost of civilization--and a
manse, simple, neat and tiny, but with a wondrous air of comfort
about it, and very like the little Nova Scotian woman inside, who
made it a very vestibule of heaven for many a cowboy and rancher in
the district, and last, the Stopping Place run by a man who had won
the distinction of being well known to the Mounted Police and who
bore the suggestive name of Hell Gleeson, which appeared, however,
in the old English Registry as Hellmuth Raymond Gleeson. The
Mounted Police thought it worth while often to run in upon Hell at
unexpected times, and more than once they had found it necessary to
invite him to contribute to Her Majesty's revenue as compensation
for Hell's objectionable habit of having in possession and of
retailing to his friends bad whisky without attending to the little
formality of a permit.
The Stopping Place was a rambling shack, or rather a series of
shacks, loosely joined together, whose ramifications were found by
Hell and his friends to be useful in an emergency. The largest
room in the building was the bar, as it was called. Behind the
counter, however, instead of the array of bottles and glasses
usually found in rooms bearing this name, the shelf was filled with
patent medicines, chiefly various brands of pain-killer. Off the
bar was the dining-room, and behind the dining-room another and
smaller room, while the room most retired in the collection of
shacks constituting the Stopping Place was known in the neighborhood
as the "snake room," a room devoted to those unhappy wretches who,
under the influence of prolonged indulgence in Hell's bad whisky,
were reduced to such a mental and nervous condition that the
landscape of their dreams became alive with snakes of various sizes,
shapes and hues.
To Mandy familiarity had hardened her sensibilities to endurance of
all the grimy uncleanness of the place, but to Moira the appearance
of the house and especially of the dining-room filled her with
"Oh, Mandy," she groaned, "can we not eat outside somewhere? This
Mandy thought for a moment.
"No," she cried, "but we will do better. I know Mrs. Macintyre in
the manse. I nursed her once last spring. We will go and see
"Oh, that would not do," said Moira, her Scotch shy independence
shrinking from such an intrusion.
"And why not?"
"She doesn't know me--and there are four of us."
"Oh, nonsense, you don't know this country. You don't know what
our visit will mean to the little woman, what a joy it will be to
her to see a new face, and I declare when she hears you are new out
from Scotland she will simply revel in you. We are about to confer
a great favor upon Mrs. Macintyre."
If Moira had any lingering doubts as to the soundness of her
sister-in-law's opinion they vanished before the welcome she had
from the minister's wife.
"Mr. Cameron's sister?" she cried, with both hands extended, "and
just out from Scotland? And where from? From near Braemar? And
our folk came from near Inverness. Mhail Gaelic heaibh?"
"Go dearbh ha."
And on they went for some minutes in what Mrs. Macintyre called
"the dear old speech," till Mrs. Macintyre, remembering herself,
said to Mandy:
"But you do not understand the Gaelic? Well, well, you will
forgive us. And to think that in this far land I should find a
young lady like this to speak it to me! Do you know, I am
forgetting it out here." All the while she was speaking she was
laying the cloth and setting the table. "And you have come all the
way from Calgary this morning? What a drive for the young lady!
You must be tired out. Would you lie down upon the bed for an
hour? Then come away in to the bedroom and fresh yourselves up a
bit. Come away in. I'll get Mr. Cameron over."
"We are a big party," said Mandy, "for your wee house. We have a
friend with us--Dr. Martin."
"Dr. Martin? Indeed I know him well, and a fine man he is and that
kind and clever. I'll get him too."
"Let me go for them," said Mandy.
"Very well, go then. I'll just hurry the dinner."
"But are you quite sure," asked Mandy, "you can--you have
everything handy? You know, Mrs. Macintyre, I know just how hard
it is to keep a stock of everything on hand."
"Well, we have bread and molasses--our butter is run out, it is
hard to get--and some bacon and potatoes and tea. Will that do?"
"Oh, that will do fine. And we have some things with us, if you
"Mind? Not a bit, my dear. You can just suit yourself."
The dinner was a glorious success. The clean linen, the shining
dishes, the silver--for Mrs. Macintyre brought out her wedding
presents--gave the table a brilliantly festive appearance in the
eyes of those who had lived for some years in the western country.
"You don't appreciate the true significance of a table napkin, I
venture to say, Miss Cameron," said the doctor, "until you have
lived a year in this country at least, or how much an unspotted
table cloth means, or shining cutlery and crockery."
"Well, I have been two days at the Royal Hotel, whatever," replied
"The Royal Hotel!" exclaimed the doctor aghast. "Our most palatial
Western hostelry--all the comforts and conveniences of civilization!"
"Anyway, I like this better," said Moira. "It is like home."
"Is it, indeed, my dear?" said the minister's wife greatly
delighted. "You have paid me a very fine tribute."
The hour lengthened into two, for when a departure was suggested
the doctor grew eloquent in urging delay. The horses would be all
the better for the rest. It would be fine driving in the evening.
They could easily make the Black Dog Ford before dark. After that
the trail was good for twenty miles, where they would camp. But
like all happy hours these hours fled past, and all too swiftly,
and soon the travelers were ready to depart.
Before the Stopping Place door Hell was holding down the bronchos,
while Cameron was packing in the valises and making all secure
again. Near the wagon stood the doctor waiting their departure.
"You are going back from here, Dr. Martin?" said Moira.
"Yes," said the doctor, "I am going back."
"It has been good to see you," she said. "I hope next time you
will know me."
"Ah, now, Miss Cameron, don't rub it in. You see--but what's the
use?" continued the doctor. "You had changed. My picture of the
girl I had seen in the Highlands that day never changed and never
will change." The doctor's keen gray eyes burned into hers for a
moment. A slight flush came to her cheek and she found herself
embarrassed for want of words. Her embarrassment was relieved by
the sound of hoofs pounding down the trail.
"Hello, who's this?" said the doctor, as they stood watching the
horseman approaching at a rapid pace and accompanied by a cloud of
dust. Nearer and nearer he came, still on the gallop till within a
few yards of the group.
"My!" cried Moira. "Whoever he is he will run us down!" and she
sprang into her place in the democrat.
Without slackening rein the rider came up to the Stopping Place
door at a full gallop, then at a single word his horse planted his
four feet solidly on the trail, and, plowing up the dirt, came to a
standstill; then, throwing up his magnificent head, he gave a loud
snort and stood, a perfect picture of equine beauty.
"Oh, what a horse!" breathed Moira. "How perfectly splendid! And
what a rider!" she added. "Do you know him?"
"I do not," said the doctor, conscious of a feeling of hostility to
the stranger, and all the more because he was forced to acknowledge
to himself that the rider and his horse made a very striking
picture. The man was tall and sinewy, with dark, clean-cut face,
thin lips, firm chin and deep-set, brown-gray eyes that glittered
like steel, and with that unmistakable something in his bearing
that suggested the breeding of a gentleman. His horse was as
distinguished as its rider. His coal black skin shone like silk,
his flat legs, sloping hips, well-ribbed barrel, small head, large,
flashing eyes, all proclaimed his high breeding.
"What a beauty! What a beauty!" breathed Moira again to the
As if in answer to her praise the stranger, raising his Stetson,
swept her an elaborate bow, and, touching his horse, moved nearer
to the door of the Stopping Place and swung himself to the ground.
"Ah, Cameron, it's you, sure enough. I can hardly believe my good
"Hello, Raven, that you?" said Cameron indifferently. "Hope you
are fit?" But he made no motion to offer his hand nor did he
introduce him to the company. At the sound of his name Dr. Martin
started and swept his keen eyes over the stranger's face. He had
heard that name before.
"Fit?" inquired the stranger whom Cameron had saluted as Raven.
"Fit as ever," a hard smile curling his lips as he noted Cameron's
omission. "Hello, Hell!" he continued, his eyes falling upon that
individual, who was struggling with the restive ponies, "how goes
it with your noble self?"
Hastily Hell, leaving the bronchos for the moment, responded,
"Hello, Mr. Raven, mighty glad to see you!"
Meantime the bronchos, freed from Hell's supervision, and
apparently interested in the strange horse who was viewing them
with lordly disdain, turned their heads and took the liberty of
sniffing at the newcomer. Instantly, with mouth wide open and ears
flat on his head, the black horse rushed at the bronchos. With a
single bound they were off, the lines trailing in the dust.
Together Hell, Cameron and the doctor sprang for the wagon, but
before they could touch it it was whisked from underneath their
fingers as the bronchos dashed in a mad gallop down the trail,
Moira meantime clinging desperately to the seat of the pitching
wagon. After them darted Cameron and for some moments it seemed as
if he could overtake the flying ponies, but gradually they drew
away and he gave up the chase. After him followed the whole
company, his wife, the doctor, Hell, all in a blind horror of
"My God! My God!" cried Cameron, his breath coming in sobbing
gasps. "The cut bank!"
Hardly were the words out of his mouth when Raven came up at an
"Don't worry," he said quietly to Mandy, who was wringing her hands
in despair, "I'll get them."
Like a swallow for swiftness and for grace, the black stallion sped
away, flattening his body to the trail as he gathered speed. The
bronchos had a hundred yards of a start, but they had not run
another hundred until the agonized group of watchers could see that
the stallion was gaining rapidly upon them.
"He'll get 'em," cried Hell, "he'll get 'em, by gum!"
"But can he turn them from the bank?" groaned Mandy.
"If anything in horse-flesh or man-flesh can do it," said Hell,
"it'll be done."
But a tail-race is a long race and a hundred yards' start is a
serious handicap in a quarter of a mile. Down the sloping trail
the bronchos were running savagely, their noses close to earth,
their feet on the hard ground like the roar of a kettledrum, their
harness and trappings fluttering over their backs, the wagon
pitching like a ship in a gale, the girl clinging to its high seat
as a sailor to a swaying mast. Behind, and swiftly drawing level
with the flying bronchos, sped the black horse, still with that
smooth grace of a skimming swallow and with such ease of motion as
made it seem as if he could readily have increased his speed had he
"My God! why doesn't he send the brute along?" cried Dr. Martin,
his stark face and staring eyes proclaiming his agony.
"He is up! He is up!" cried Cameron.
The agonized watchers saw the rider lean far over the bronchos and
seize one line, then gradually begin to turn the flying ponies away
from the cut bank and steer them in a wide circle across the
"Thank God! Thank God! Oh, thank God!" cried the doctor brokenly,
wiping the sweat from his face.
"Let us go to head them off," said Cameron, setting off at a run,
leaving the doctor and his wife to follow.
As they watched with staring eyes the racing horses they saw Raven
bring back the line to the girl clinging to the wagon seat, then
the black stallion, shooting in front of the ponies, began to slow
down upon them, hampering their running till they were brought to
an easy canter, and, under the more active discipline of teeth and
hoofs, were forced to a trot and finally brought to a standstill,
and so held till Cameron and the doctor came up to them.
"Raven," gasped Cameron, fighting for his breath and coming forward
with hand outstretched, "you have--done--a great thing--to-day--for
me. I shall not--forget it."
"Tut tut, Cameron, simple thing. I fancy you are still a few
points ahead," said Raven, taking his hand in a strong grip.
"After all, it was Night Hawk did it."
"You saved--my sister's life," continued Cameron, still struggling
"Perhaps, perhaps, but I don't forget," and here Raven leaned over
his saddle and spoke in a lower voice, "I don't forget the day you
saved mine, my boy."
"Come," said Cameron, "let me present you to my sister."
Instantly Raven swung himself from his horse.
"Stand, Night Hawk!" he commanded, and the horse stood like a
soldier on guard.
"Moira," said Cameron, still panting hard, "this is--my friend--Mr.
Raven stood bowing before her with his hat in his hand, but the
girl leaned far down from her seat with both hands outstretched.
"I thank you, Mr. Raven," she said in a quiet voice, but her brown
eyes were shining like stars in her white face. "You are a
"I could not have done it, Miss Cameron," said Raven, a wonderfully
sweet smile lighting up his hard face, "I could not have done it
had you ever lost your nerve."
"I had no fear after I saw your face," said the girl simply. "I
knew you could do it."
"Ah, and how did you know that?" His gray-brown eyes searched her
face more keenly.
"I cannot tell. I just knew."
"Let me introduce my friend, Dr. Martin," said Cameron as the
doctor came up.
"I--too--want to thank you--Mr. Raven," said the doctor, seizing
him with both hands. "I never can--we never can forget it--or
"Oh," said Raven, with a careless laugh, "what else could I do?
After all it was Night Hawk did the trick." He lifted his hat
again to Moira, bowed with a beautiful grace, threw himself on his
horse and stood till the two men, after carefully examining the
harness and securing the reins, had climbed to their places on the
Then he trotted on before toward the Stopping Place, where the
minister's wife and indeed the whole company of villagers awaited
"Oh, isn't he wonderful!" cried Moira, with her eyes upon the rider
in front of them. "And he did it so easily." But the men sat
silent. "Who is he, Allan? You know him."
"Yes--he is--he is a chap I met when I was on the Force."
"No, no," replied her brother hastily.
"What then? Does he live here?"
"He lives somewhere south. Don't know exactly where he lives."
"What is he? A rancher?"
"A rancher? Ah--yes, yes, he is a rancher I fancy. Don't know
very well. That is--I have seen little of him--in fact--only a
couple of times--or so."
"He seems to know you, Allan," said his sister a little
reproachfully. "Anyway," she continued with a deep breath, "he is
just splendid." Dr. Martin glanced at her face glowing with
enthusiasm and was shamefully conscious of a jealous pang at his
heart. "He is just splendid," continued Moira, with growing
enthusiasm, "and I mean to know more of him."
"What?" said her brother sharply, as if waking from a dream.
"Nonsense, Moira! You do not know what you are talking about.
You must not speak like that."
"And why, pray?" asked his sister in surprise.
"Oh, never mind just now, Moira. In this country we don't take up
"Strangers?" echoed the girl, pain mingling with her surprise.
"And yet he saved my life!"
"Yes, thank God, he saved your life," cried her brother, "and we
shall never cease to be grateful to him, but--but--oh, drop it just
now please, Moira. You don't know and--here we are. How white
Mandy is. What a terrible experience for us all!"
"Terrible indeed," echoed the doctor.
"Terrible?" said Moira. "It might have been worse."
To this neither made reply, but there came a day when both doubted
such a possibility.
The short September day was nearly gone. The sun still rode above
the great peaks that outlined the western horizon. Already the
shadows were beginning to creep up the eastern slope of the hills
that clambered till they reached the bases of the great mountains.
A purple haze hung over mountain, hill and rolling plain, softening
the sharp outlines that ordinarily defined the features of the
With the approach of evening the fierce sun heat had ceased and a
fresh cooling western breeze from the mountain passes brought
welcome refreshment alike to the travelers and their beasts,
wearied with their three days' drive.
"That is the last hill, Moira," cried her sister-in-law, pointing
to a long slope before them. "The very last, I promise you. From
the top we can see our home. Our home, alas, I had forgotten!
There is no home there, only a black spot on the prairie."
Her husband grunted savagely and cut sharply at the bronchos.
"But the tent will be fine, Mandy. I just long for the experience,"
"Yes, but just think of all my pretty things, and some of Allan's
too, all gone."
"Were the pipes burned, Allan?" cried Moira with a sudden anxiety.
"Were they, Mandy? I never thought," said Cameron.
"The pipes? Let me see. No--no--you remember, Allan, young--
what's his name?--that young Highlander at the Fort wanted them."
"Sure enough--Macgregor," said her husband in a tone of immense
"Yes, young Mr. Macgregor."
"My, but that is fine, Allan," said his sister. "I should have
grieved if we could not hear the pipes again among these hills.
Oh, it is all so bonny; just look at the big Bens yonder."
It was, as she said, all bonny. Far toward their left the low
hills rolled in soft swelling waves toward the level prairie, and
far away to the right the hills climbed by sharper ascents, flecked
here and there with dark patches of fir, and broken with jutting
ledges of gray limestone, climbed till they reached the great
Rockies, majestic in their massive serried ranges that pierced the
western sky. And all that lay between, the hills, the hollows, the
rolling prairie, was bathed in a multitudinous riot of color that
made a scene of loveliness beyond power of speech to describe.
"Oh, Allan, Allan," cried his sister, "I never thought to see
anything as lovely as the Cuagh Oir, but this is up to it I do
"It must indeed be lovely, then," said her brother with a smile,
"if you can say that. And I am glad you like it. I was afraid
that you might not."
"Here we are, just at the top," cried Mandy. "In a minute beyond
the shoulder there we shall see the Big Horn Valley and the place
where our home used to be. There, wait Allan."
The ponies came to a stand. Exclamations of amazement burst from
Cameron and his wife.
"Why, Allan? What? Is this the trail?"
"It is the trail all right," said her husband in a low voice, "but
what in thunder does this mean?"
"It is a house, Allan, a new house."
"It looks like it--but--"
"And there are people all about!"
For some breathless moments they gazed upon the scene. A wide
valley, flanked by hills and threaded by a gleaming river, lay
before them and in a bend of the river against the gold and yellow
of a poplar bluff stood a log house of comfortable size gleaming in
all its newness fresh from the ax and saw.
"What does it all mean, Allan?" inquired his wife.
"Blest if I know!"
"Look at the people. I know now, Allan. It's a 'raising bee.' A
raising bee!" she cried with growing enthusiasm. "You remember
them in Ontario. It's a bee, sure enough. Oh, hurry, let's go!"
The bronchos seemed to catch her excitement, their weariness
disappeared, and, pulling hard on the bit, they tore down the
winding trail as if at the beginning rather than at the end of
their hundred and fifty mile drive.
"What a size!" cried Mandy.
"And a cook house, too!"
"And a verandah!"
"And a shingled roof!"
"And all the people! Where in the world can they have come from?"
"There's the Inspector, anyway," said Cameron. "He is at the
bottom of this, I'll bet you."
"And Mr. Cochrane! And that young Englishman, Mr. Newsome!"
"And old Thatcher!"
"And Mrs. Cochrane, and Mr. Dent, and, oh, there's my friend Smith!
You remember he helped me put out the fire."
Soon they were at the gate of the corral where a group of men and
women stood awaiting them. Inspector Dickson was first:
"Hello, Cameron! Got back, eh? Welcome home, Mrs. Cameron," he
said as he helped her to alight.
Smith stood at the bronchos' heads.
"Now, Inspector," said Cameron, holding him by hand and collar,
"now what does this business mean?"
"Mean?" cried the Inspector with a laugh. "Means just what you
see. But won't you introduce us all?"
After all had been presented to his sister Cameron pursued his
question. "What does it mean, Inspector?"
"Mean? Ask Cochrane."
"Mr. Cochrane, tell me," cried Mandy, "who began this?"
"Ask Mr. Thatcher there," replied Mr. Cochrane.
"Who is responsible for this, Mr. Thatcher?" cried Mandy.
"Don't rightly know how the thing started. First thing I knowed
they was all at it."
"See here, Thatcher, you might as well own up. I am going to know
anyway. Where did the logs come from, for instance?" said Cameron
in a determined voice.
"Logs? Guess Bracken knows," replied Cochrane, turning to a tall,
lanky rancher who was standing at a little distance.
"Bracken," cried Cameron, striding to him with hand outstretched,
"what about the logs for the house? Where did they come from?"
"Well, I dunno. Smith was sayin' somethin' about a bee and gettin'
"Smith?" cried Cameron, glancing at that individual now busy
unhitching the bronchos.
"And of course," continued Bracken, "green logs ain't any use for a
real good house, so--and then--well, I happened to have a bunch of
logs up the Big Horn. I guess the boys floated 'em down."
"Come away, Mrs. Cameron, and inspect your house," cried a stout,
red-faced matron. "I said they ought to await your coming to get
your plans, but Mr. Smith said he knew a little about building and
that they might as well go on with it. It was getting late in the
season, and so they went at it. Come away, we're having a great
time over it. Indeed, I think we've enjoyed it more than ever you
"But you haven't told us yet who started it," cried Mandy.
"Where did you get the lumber?" said Cameron.
"Well, the lumber," replied Cochrane, "came from the Fort, I guess.
Didn't it, Inspector?"
"Yes," replied the Inspector. "We had no immediate use for it, and
Smith told us just how much it would take."
"Smith?" said Cameron again. "Hello, Smith!" But Smith was
already leading the bronchos away to the stable.
"Yes," continued the Inspector, "and Smith was wondering how a
notice could be sent up to the Spruce Creek boys and to Loon Lake,
so I sent a man with the word and they brought down the lumber
without any trouble. But," continued the Inspector, "come along,
Cameron, let us follow the ladies."
"But this is growing more and more mysterious," protested Cameron.
"Can no one tell me how the thing originated? The sash and doors
now, where did they come from?"
"Oh, that's easy," said Cochrane. "I was at the Post Office, and,
hearin' Smith talkin' 'bout this raisin' bee and how they were
stuck for sash and door, so seein' I wasn't goin' to build this
fall I told him he might as well have the use of these. My team
was laid up and Smith got Jim Bracken to haul 'em down."
"Well, this gets me," said Cameron. "It appears no one started
this thing. Everything just happened. Now the shingles, I suppose
they just tumbled up into their place there."
"The shingles?" said Cochrane. "I dunno 'bout them. Didn't know
there were any in the country."
"Oh, they just got up into place there of themselves I have no
doubt," said Cameron.
"The shingles? Ah, bay Jove! Rawthah! Funny thing, don't-che-
naow," chimed in a young fellow attired in rather emphasized cow-
boy style, "funny thing! A Johnnie--quite a strangah to me, don't-
che-naow, was riding pawst my place lawst week and mentioned about
this--ah--raisin' bee he called it I think, and in fact abaout the
blawsted Indian, and the fire, don't-che-naow, and all the rest of
it, and how the chaps were all chipping in as he said, logs and
lumbah and so fowth. And then, bay Jove, he happened to mention
that they were rathah stumped for shingles, don't-che-naow, and,
funny thing, there chawnced to be behind my stable a few bunches,
and I was awfully glad to tu'n them ovah, and this--eh--pehson--
most extraordinary chap I assuah you--got 'em down somehow."
"Who was it inquired?" asked Cameron.
"Don't naow him in the least. But it's the chap that seems to be
bossing the job."
"Oh, that's Smith," said Cochrane.
"Smith!" said Cameron, in great surprise. "I don't even know the
man. He was good enough to help my wife to beat back the fire. I
don't believe I even spoke to him. Who is he anyway?"
"Oh, he's Thatcher's man."
"Come away, Mr. Cameron," cried Mrs. Cochrane from the door of the
new house. "Come away in and look at the result of our bee."
"This beats me," said Cameron, obeying the invitation, "but, say,
Dickson, it is mighty good of all these men. I have no claim--"
"Claim?" said Mr. Cochrane. "It might have been any of us. We
must stand together in this country, and especially these days, eh,
Inspector? Things are gettin' serious."
The Inspector nodded his head gravely.
"Yes," he said. "But, Mr. Cochrane," he added in a low voice, "it
is very necessary that as little as possible should be said about
these things just now. No occasion for any excitement or fuss.
The quieter things are kept the better."
"All right, Inspector, I understand, but--"
"What do you think of your new house, Mr. Cameron?" cried Mrs.
Cochrane. "Come in. Now what do you think of this for three days'
"Oh, Allan, I have been all through it and it's perfectly wonderful,"
said his wife.
"Oh nothing very wonderful, Mrs. Cameron," said Cochrane, "but it
will do for a while."
"Perfectly wonderful in its whole plan, and beautifully complete,"
insisted Mandy. "See, a living-room, a lovely large one, two
bedrooms off it, and, look here, cupboards and closets, and a
pantry, and--" here she opened the door in the corner--"a perfectly
lovely up-stairs! Not to speak of the cook-house out at the back."
"Wonderful is the word," said Cameron, "for why in all the world
should these people--?"
"And look, Allan, at Moira! She's just lost in rapture over that
"And I don't wonder," said her husband. "It is really fine. Whose
idea was it?" he continued, moving toward Moira's side, who was
standing before a large fireplace of beautiful masonry set in
between the two doors that led to the bedrooms at the far end of
"It was Andy Hepburn from Loon Lake that built it," said Mr.
"I wish I could thank him," said Moira fervently.
"Well, there he is outside the window, Miss Moira," said a young
fellow who was supposed to be busy putting up a molding round the
wainscoting, but who was in reality devoting himself to the young
lady at the present moment with open admiration. "Here, Andy," he
cried through the window, "you're wanted. Hurry up."
"Oh, don't, Mr. Dent. What will he think?"
A hairy little man, with a face dour and unmistakably Scotch, came
"What's want-it, then?" he asked, with a deliberate sort of
"It's yourself, Andy, me boy," said young Dent, who, though
Canadian born, needed no announcement of his Irish ancestry. "It
is yourself, Andy, and this young lady, Miss Moira Cameron--Mr.
Hepburn--" Andy made reluctant acknowledgment of her smile and
bow--"wants to thank you for this fireplace."
"It is very beautiful indeed, Mr. Hepburn, and very thankful I am
to you for building it."
"Aw, it's no that bad," admitted Andy. "But ye need not thank me."
"But you built it?"
"Aye did I. But no o' ma ain wull. A fireplace is a feckless
thing in this country an' I think little o't."
"Whose idea was it then?"
"It was yon Smith buddie. He juist keepit dingin' awa' till A
promised if he got the lime--A kent o' nane in the country--A wud
build the thing."
"And he got the lime, eh, Andy?" said Dent.
"Aye, he got it," said Andy sourly. "Diel kens whaur."
"But I am sure you did it beautifully, Mr. Hepburn," said Moira,
moving closer to him, "and it will be making me think of home."
Her soft Highland accent and the quaint Highland phrasing seemed to
reach a soft spot in the little Scot.
"Hame? An' whaur's that?" he inquired, manifesting a grudging
"Where? Where but in the best of all lands, in Scotland," said
Moira. "Near Braemar."
"Aye, Braemar. I have only come four days ago."
"Aye, an' did ye say, lassie!" said Andy, with a faint accession of
interest. "It's a bonny country ye've left behind, and far enough
"Far indeed," said Moira, letting her shining brown eyes rest upon
his face. "And it is myself that knows it. But when the fire
burns yonder," she added, pointing to the fireplace, "I will be
seeing the hills and the glens and the moors."
"'Deed, then, lassie," said Andy in a low hurried voice, moving
toward the door, "A'm gled that Smith buddie gar't me build it."
"Wait, Mr. Hepburn," said Moira, shyly holding out her hand, "don't
you think that Scotties in this far land should be friends?"
"An' prood I'd be, Miss Cameron," replied Andy, and, seizing her
hand, he gave it a violent shake, flung it from him and fled
through the door.
"He's a cure, now, isn't he!" said Dent.
"I think he is fine," said Moira with enthusiasm. "It takes a Scot
to understand a Scot, you see, and I am glad I know him. Do you
know, he is a little like the fireplace himself," she said,
"rugged, a wee bit rough, but fine."
"The real stuff, eh?" said Dent. "The pure quill."
"Yes, that is it. Solid and steadfast, with no pretense."
Meanwhile the work of inspecting the new house was going on.
Everywhere appeared fresh cause for delighted wonder, but still
the origin of the raising bee remained a mystery.
Balked by the men, Cameron turned in his search to the women and
proceeded to the tent where preparations were being made for the
"Tut tut, Mr. Cameron," said Mrs. Cochrane, her broad good-natured
face beaming with health and good humor, "what difference does it
make? Your neighbors are only too glad of a chance to show their
goodwill for yourself, and more for your wife."
"I am sure you are right there," said Cameron.
"And it is the way of the country. We must stick together, John
says. It's your turn to-day, it may be ours to-morrow and that's
all there is to it. So clear out of this tent and make yourself
busy. By the way, where's the pipes? The folk will soon be asking
for a tune."
"But I want to know, Mrs. Cochrane," persisted Cameron.
"Where's the pipes, I'm saying. John," she cried, lifting her
voice, to her husband, who was standing at the other side of the
house. "Where's the pipes? They're not burned, I hope," she
continued, turning to Cameron. "The whole settlement would feel
that a loss."
"Fortunately no. Young Macgregor at the Fort has them."
"Then I wonder if they are here. John, find out from the Inspector
yonder where the pipes are. We will be wanting them this evening."
To her husband's inquiry the Inspector replied that if Macgregor
ever had the pipes it was a moral certainty that he had carried
them with him to the raising, "for it is my firm belief," he added,
"that he sleeps with them."
"Do go and see now, like a dear man," said Mrs. Cochrane to
From group to group of the workers Cameron went, exchanging
greetings, but persistently seeking to discover the originator of
the raising bee. But all in vain, and in despair he came back to
his wife with the question "Who is this Smith, anyway?"
"Mr. Smith," she said with deliberate emphasis, "is my friend, my
particular friend. I found him a friend when I needed one badly."
"Yes, but who is he?" inquired Moira, who, with Mr. Dent in
attendance, had sauntered up. "Who is he, Mr. Dent? Do you know?"
"No, not from Adam's mule. He's old Thatcher's man. That's all I
know about him."
"He is Mr. Thatcher's man? Oh!" said Moira, "Mr. Thatcher's
servant." A subtle note of disappointment sounded in her voice.
"Servant, Moira?" said Allan in a shocked tone. "Wipe out the
thought. There is no such thing as servant west of the Great Lakes
in this country. A man may help me with my work for a consideration,
but he is no servant of mine as you understand the term, for he
considers himself just as good as I am and he may be considerably
"Oh, Allan," protested his sister with flushing face, "I know. I
know all that, but you know what I mean."
"Yes, I know perfectly," said her brother, "for I had the same
notion. For instance, for six months I was a 'servant' in Mandy's
home, eh, Mandy?"
"Nonsense!" cried Mandy indignantly. "You were our hired man and
just like the rest of us."
"Do you get that distinction, Moira? There is no such thing as
servant in this country," continued Cameron. "We are all the same
socially and stand to help each other. Rather a fine idea that."
"Yes, fine," cried Moira, "but--" and she paused, her face still
"Who's Smith? is the great question," interjected Dent. "Well,
then, Miss Cameron, between you and me we don't ask that question
in this country. Smith is Smith and Jones is Jones and that's the
first and last of it. We all let it go at that."
But now the last row of shingles was in place, the last door hung,
the last door-knob set. The whole house stood complete, inside and
out, top and bottom, when a tattoo beat upon a dish pan gave the
summons to the supper table. The table was spread in all its
luxurious variety and abundance beneath the poplar trees. There
the people gathered all upon the basis of pure democratic equality,
"Duke's son and cook's son," each estimated at such worth as could
be demonstrated was in him. Fictitious standards of values were
ignored. Every man was given his fair opportunity to show his
stuff and according to his showing was his place in the community.
A generous good fellowship and friendly good-will toward the new-
comer pervaded the company, but with all this a kind of reserve
marked the intercourse of these men with each other. Men were
taken on trial at face value and no questions asked.
This evening, however, the dominant note was one of generous and
enthusiastic sympathy with the young rancher and his wife, who had
come so lately among them and who had been made the unfortunate
victim of a sinister and threatening foe, hitherto, it is true,
regarded with indifference or with friendly pity but lately
assuming an ominous importance. There was underneath the gay
hilarity of the gathering an undertone of apprehension until the
Inspector made his speech. It was short and went straight at the
mark. There was danger, he acknowledged. It would be idle to
ignore that there were ugly rumors flying. There was need for
watchfulness, but there was no need for alarm. The Police Force
was charged with the responsibility of protecting the lives
and property of the people. They assumed to the full this
responsibility, though they were very short-handed at present, but
if they ever felt they needed assistance they knew they could rely
upon the steady courage of the men of the district such as he saw
There was need of no further words and the Inspector's speech
passed with no response. It was not after the manner of these men
to make demonstration either of their loyalty or of their courage.
Cameron's speech at the last came haltingly. On the one hand his
Highland pride made it difficult for him to accept gifts from any
source whatever. On the other hand his Highland courtesy forbade
his giving offense to those who were at once his hosts and his
guests, but none suspected the reason for the halting in his
speech. As Western men they rather approved than otherwise the
hesitation and reserve that marked his words.
Before they rose from the supper table, however, there were calls
for Mrs. Cameron, calls so insistent and clamorous that, overcoming
her embarrassment, she made reply. "We have not yet found out who
was responsible for the originating of this great kindness. But no
matter. We forgive him, for otherwise my husband and I would never
have come to know how rich we are in true friends and kind
neighbors, and now that you have built this house let me say that
henceforth by day or by night you are welcome to it, for it is
After the storm of applause had died down, a voice was heard
gruffly and somewhat anxiously protesting, "But not all at one
"Who was that?" asked Mandy of young Dent as the supper party broke
"That's Smith," said Dent, "and he's a queer one."
"Smith?" said Cameron. "The chap meets us everywhere. I must look
But there was a universal and insistent demand for "the pipes."
"You look him up, Mandy," cried her husband as he departed in
response to the call.
"I shall find him, and all about him," said Mandy with determination.
The next two hours were spent in dancing to Cameron's reels, in
which all, with more or less grace, took part till the piper
declared he was clean done.
"Let Macgregor have the pipes, Cameron," cried the Inspector. "He
is longing for a chance, I am sure, and you give us the Highland
"Come Moira," cried Cameron gaily, handing the pipes to Macgregor
and, taking his sister by the hand, he led her out into the
intricacies of the Highland Reel, while the sides of the living-
room, the doors and the windows, were thronged with admiring
onlookers. Even Andy Hepburn's rugged face lost something of its
dourness; and as the brother and sister together did that most
famous of all the ancient dances of Scotland, the Highland Fling,
his face relaxed into a broad smile.
"There's Smith," said young Dent to Mandy in a low voice as the
reel was drawing to a close.
"Where?" she cried. "I have been looking for him everywhere."
"There, at the window, outside."
Even in the dim light of the lanterns and candles hung here and
there upon the walls and stuck on the window sills, Smith's face,
pale, stern, sad, shone like a specter out of the darkness behind.
"What's the matter with the man?" cried Mandy. "I must find out."
Suddenly the reel came to an end and Cameron, taking the pipes from
young Macgregor, cried, "Now, Moira, we will give them our way of
it," and, tuning the pipes anew, he played over once and again
their own Glen March, known only to the piper of the Cuagh Oir.
Then with cunning skill making atmosphere, he dropped into a wild
and weird lament, Moira standing the while like one seeing a
vision. With a swift change the pipes shrilled into the true
Highland version of the ancient reel, enriched with grace notes and
variations all his own. For a few moments the girl stood as if
unwilling to yield herself to the invitation of the pipes.
Suddenly, as if moved by another spirit than her own, she stepped
into the circle and whirled away into the mazes of the ancient
style of the Highland Fling, such as is mastered by comparatively
few even of the Highland folk. With wonderful grace and supple
strength she passed from figure to figure and from step to step,
responding to the wild mad music as to a master spirit.
In the midst of the dance Mandy made her way out of the house and
round to the window where Smith stood gazing in upon the dancer.
She quietly approached him from behind and for a few moments stood
at his side. He was breathing heavily like a man in pain.
"What is it, Mr. Smith?" she said, touching him gently on the
He sprang from her touch as from a stab and darted back from the
crowd about the window.
"What is it, Mr. Smith?" she said again, following him. "You are
not well. You are in pain."
He stood a moment or two gazing at her with staring eyes and parted
lips, pain, grief and even rage distorting his pale face.
"It is wicked," at length he panted. "It is just terrible wicked--
a young girl like that."
"Wicked? Who? What?"
"That--that girl--dancing like that."
"Dancing? That kind of dancing?" cried Mandy, astonished. "I was
brought up a Methodist myself," she continued, "but that kind of
dancing--why, I love it."
"It is of the devil. I am a Methodist--a preacher--but I could not
preach, so I quit. But that is of the world, the flesh, and the
devil and--and I have not the courage to denounce it. She is--God
help me--so--so wonderful--so wonderful."
"But, Mr. Smith," said Mandy, laying her hand upon his arm, and
seeking to sooth his passion, "surely this dancing is--"
Loud cheers and clapping of hands from the house interrupted her.
The man put his hands over his eyes as if to shut out a horrid
vision, shuddered violently, and with a weird sound broke from her
touch and fled into the bluff behind the house just as the party
came streaming from the house preparatory to departing. It seemed
to Mandy as if she had caught a glimpse of the inner chambers of a
soul and had seen things too sacred to be uttered.
Among the last to leave were young Dent and the Inspector.
"We have found out the culprit," cried Dent, as he was saying good-
"The culprit?" said Mandy. "What do you mean?"
"The fellow who has engineered this whole business."
"Who is it?" said Cameron.
"Why, listen," said Dent. "Who got the logs from Bracken? Smith.
Who got the Inspector to send men through the settlement? Smith.
Who got the lumber out of the same Inspector? Smith. And the sash
and doors out of Cochrane? Smith. And wiggled the shingles out of
Newsome? And euchred old Scotty Hepburn into building the
fireplace? And planned and bossed the whole job? Who? Smith.
This whole business is Smith's work."
"And where is Smith? Have you seen him, Mandy? We have not
thanked him," said Cameron.
"He is gone, I think," said Mandy. "He left some time ago. We
shall thank him later. But I am sure we owe a great deal to you,
Inspector Dickson, to you, Mr. Dent, and indeed to all our
friends," she added, as she bade them good-night.
For some moments they lingered in the moonlight.
"To think that this is Smith's work!" said Cameron, waving his hand
toward the house. "That queer chap! One thing I have learned,
never to judge a man by his legs again."
"He is a fine fellow," said Mandy indignantly, "and with a fine
soul in spite of--"
"His wobbly legs," said her husband smiling.
"It's a shame, Allan. What difference does it make what kind of
legs a man has?"
"Very true," replied her husband smiling, "and if you knew your
Bible better, Mandy, you would have found excellent authority for
your position in the words of the psalmist, 'The Lord taketh no
pleasure in the legs of a man.' But, say, it is a joke," he added,
"to think of this being Smith's work."
IN THE SUN DANCE CANYON
But they were not yet done with Smith, for as they turned to pass
into the house a series of shrill cries from the bluff behind
pierced the stillness of the night.
"Help! Help! Murder! Help! I've got him! Help! I've got him!"
Shaking off the clutching hands of his wife and sister, Cameron
darted into the bluff and found two figures frantically struggling
upon the ground. The moonlight trickling through the branches
revealed the man on top to be an Indian with a knife in his hand,
but he was held in such close embrace that he could not strike.
"Hold up!" cried Cameron, seizing the Indian by the wrist. "Stop
that! Let him go!" he cried to the man below. "I've got him safe
enough. Let him go! Let him go, I tell you! Now, then, get up!
Get up, both of you!"
The under man released his grip, allowed the Indian to rise and got
himself to his feet.
"Come out into the light!" said Cameron sharply, leading the Indian
out of the bluff, followed by the other, still panting. Here they
were joined by the ladies. "Now, then, what the deuce is all this
row?" inquired Cameron.
"Why, it's Mr. Smith!" cried Mandy.
"Smith again! More of Smith's work, eh? Well, this beats me,"
said her husband. For some moments Cameron stood surveying the
group, the Indian silent and immobile as one of the poplar trees
beside him, the ladies with faces white, Smith disheveled in garb,
pale and panting and evidently under great excitement. Cameron
burst into a loud laugh. Smith's pale face flushed a swift red,
visible even in the moonlight, then grew pale again, his excited
panting ceased as he became quiet.
"Now what is the row?" asked Cameron again. "What is it, Smith?"
"I found this Indian in the bush here and I seized him. I thought--
he might--do something."
"Yes--some mischief--to some of you."
"What? You found this Indian in the bluff here and you just jumped
on him? You might better have jumped on a wild cat. Are you used
to this sort of thing? Do you know the ways of these people?"
"I never saw an Indian before."
"Good Heavens, man! He might have killed you. And he would have
in two minutes more."
"He might have killed--some of you," said Smith.
Cameron laughed again.
"Now what were you doing in the bluff?" he said sharply, turning to
"Chief Trotting Wolf," said the Indian in the low undertone common
to his people, "Chief Trotting Wolf want you' squaw--boy seeck bad--
leg beeg beeg. Boy go die. Come." He turned to Mandy and
"Why didn't you come earlier?" said Cameron sharply. "It is too
late now. We are going to sleep."
"Me come dis." He lowered his hand toward the ground. "Too much
mans--no like--Indian wait all go 'way--dis man much beeg fight--no
good. Come queeek--boy go die."
Already Mandy had made up her mind.
"Let us hurry, Allan," she said.
"You can't go to-night," he replied. "You are dead tired. Wait
"No, no, we must go." She turned into the house, followed by her
husband, and began to rummage in her bag. "Lucky thing I got these
supplies in town," she said, hastily putting together her nurse's
equipment and some simple remedies. "I wonder if that boy has
fever. Bring that Indian in."
"Have you had the doctor?" she inquired, when he appeared.
"Huh! Doctor want cut off leg--dis," his action was sufficiently
suggestive. "Boy say no."
"Has the boy any fever? Does he talk-talk-talk?" The Indian
nodded his head vigorously.
"Talk much--all day--all night."
"He is evidently in a high fever," said Mandy to her husband. "We
must try to check that. Now, my dear, you hurry and get the
"But what shall we do with Moira?" said Cameron suddenly.
"Why," cried Moira, "let me go with you. I should love to go."
But this did not meet with Cameron's approval.
"I can stay here," suggested Smith hesitatingly, "or Miss Cameron
can go over with me to the Thatchers'."
"That is better," said Cameron shortly. "We can drop her at the
Thatchers' as we pass."
In half an hour Cameron returned with the horses and the party
proceeded on their way.
At the Piegan Reserve they were met by Chief Trotting Wolf himself
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