Jordan is a Hard Road

A Continused Story of the Earher Days in the North-West

Sir Gilbert Parker April 1 1917

Jordan is a Hard Road

A Continused Story of the Earher Days in the North-West

Sir Gilbert Parker April 1 1917

Jordan is a Hard Road

A Continused Story of the Earher Days in the North-West

Sir Gilbert Parker

Author of “The Weavers," The Right of Way " "The Money Masterf" etc.

.VA NOPSIS—Hill Mmibn. tx-tva*n r**bb*:r, coin's t>> Askatimn and lives an exemplary life, reading lös Hilde on Sundays on th* hot* I porch in full vieu of everyone. Minden shows special interest in tie school taught by Cora Finley, a pretty and popular young woman He calls on Mrs. Finley one evening and in the coarse of the convt rsatioiji it develops that t'ora isAIinden's daughter. given to Mrs. Fini* y to raise by Minden on his wife's death. Minden avons his intention of winning Ins way to power in Askatoon. Many successful r* vivid meetings arc held at Mayo, Solan Hoyle's ranch, and at one of this»■ camp meetings Minden is converted, which fact causes mach comment and criticism by the newspapers of the HV*/. Minden longs to be under the same roof as his daughter, and yet do*s not daçe risk letting the truth become knofvn. One day, hearing of the impending bankruptcy of John Warner; a real espite agent, u ho had huilt a hot* l and could not p*iy for it, he decides to buy the place. Minden then explains to Mrs. Finley and Cora that he intends to ran it as a temperance hotel and persuades them to come and help him make tin venture a success. One night, while working on his accounts in his office, Minden hears a cry for help and finds a stranger suffering from a wound in the arm. He learns that the stranger's name is Mark Sheldon and that he owns a gold mine, hut hasn't the capital to work it. Three weeks previously he had joined up with the MacMahons, and only discovered at the last moment, that they were a hand of horse thieves. He had been wounded in a raid by the police and had immediately started for Mindens hotel, where he felt sure he would be protected. Sheldon recovers and succeeds in interesting Minden in his mine. *He, himself, becomes interested in Cora.

CHAPTER VII.—Continued.

A LITTLE while later, as they sat on the high bank of the fiver, a fishing-rod in her hand, his back against a tree with the bait by his side, he said to her/as she gazed intently into the water: “So you think it’s wonderful that: Minden can be as good as he is wirth all he has had to fight against?’

She flicked her line into the water, then turned to him with shining steadfast eyea. “Yes, I think it is truly wonderful; biit there must have been more good than bad in him at the start. I don’t believe people become good that are bad at the start; but if they are good at the start, then I think that childhood and the memory and influence of it is the master of a man’s or woman’s fate. Everything in the world loses its hold on us except childhood. Mr. Minden must have been right just at the start. I’ve heard him speak about his wife—it was beautiful. He had a child and lost her. Isn’t it a pity? But if he couldn’t go straight, perhaps it was better the child died. If she had ever known' what he became it might have killed her. A woman can’t stand being shamed by a man she loves. She may hide it, but down, down, at the bottom of her heart it’s an ache that goes on and on and on.” “How do you know?” he asked in a low voice.

“Why, just by instinct, and by watching. In a place like this with hundreds of

people, you can see and hear a good many stories.”

“Minden is the most contradictory man I’ve ever known,” he said after a moment. “I agree with you; he must have been right at the start; but what a wonderful thing when he has lived two-thirds of his time out that he can right-about face, and live as though he had never done any wrong. It needs enormous will-power. Think, too, of what that will-power might have meant, if it had been given to the straight things from the start.”

There was a brief interlude in which the girl detached from her fish-hook a fine bass, which had made a gallant struggle, but after he had baited the hook again, and she had thrown her line, she said:

“It isn’t will-power that has made Mr. Minden what he is now. Will-power couldn’t do it It was a power above that he reached for and got”

I_F E LOOKED at her with a curious ’ A searching intentness. He had never known anything like this. Here was simple Christian faith in a character sportive, cheerful, practical, even worldly-wise in its own way and a little coquettish, too. Surely it was contradictory, and yet she seemed completely real. If he had known the exact truth he would have realized that she was Bill Minden, bul what a different Bill Minden! All his contradictions and paradoxes were here,

but native virtue and [goodness had prevailed in her. while Minden’s native instinct for virtue and goodness had been ruled by wilfulness, waywardness, the spirit of adventure, an intolerable laziness, and a loosely héld moral sense.

Do you know,” she said dreamily, “I never met so kind a man as Mr. Minden. He thinks of a hundred little things to make you happy. Somehow, in spite of all he ever did. I can’t bring myself to think hateful things about him. Mother did, though. At first she was his enemy, but I never was. I like being with him. He’s so modest he makes you feel that if he had to choose between you and the angels, he would choose you!”

“Well, so would I, if) it comes to that,’ was Sheldon’s quick cofnment.

He saw a flush mount to her cheek, but she did not look at him, and he did not follow up his tender attack.

“Do you think he’ll stick it out?” he asked. “Don’t you believe he’ll tire of being what he is notv, arid backslide' Won’t there be a reaction when the charm of respectability has worn off?”

She flicked her line almost angrily out of the water and in again, and her eyes flashed as she turned to him.

“Haven’t I said it isn’t his will or anything that belongs to him that’s doing it ! He gets help from God.”

How invincibly sincere she was! There was no cant, no sentimentality in her voice or words. In the circles he had frequented, that kind of religion had not existed—supreme philosophy rather, for it did not sound like religion. It made him feel tremendously secure where she was concerned.

“Well, perhaps you are right,” Sheldon replied. “There's r.o sweetness like that of running straight. I was good once. Yes, I really think I was good at the start,” he added, and then he paused.

He saw the fish-pole suddenly dip in her hands, as though they weakened; he noticed the sudden arrest of those indefinable motions of the body at ease, then her head turned slowly toward him, and with painful wonder, 9he said:

“Haven’t you always been good?” “I’m goidg to tell you,” he answered. “I’m going to tell you all about it^all. I want you to know. No one knows all except you, that is, except you when I’ve told you. But Mr. Minden knows far more than you do. Ho has been good to me—I knew he would be; that’9 why I made for him when they shot me for liorse-stealing.”

He caught the fishing-rod which was dropping from her hands, as her face became white, and her eyes had a bewildered and shocked look.[ Yet she seemed not to shrink from him, put to hold herself steadily. ) a

“Horse-stealing! ... I do not be-

lipve you. But go on—tell me !” she said in a low. weak voice.

LJ E TOLD her all his past—of his few A * years in the household cavalry, of hjs getting into debt through baccarat and being obi ged to leave the army; of his joining the gendarmerie in Macedonia; tijen of his final effort to reinstate himself, to make a home and a fortune. He told her of discounted expectations and the selling of reversionary rights in order to make this hunt for gold. Then at last he related the story of his abandonment of the mine, of his sojourn at the MacMahon’s ranch, of the horse-raid, of the encounter with the Riders of the Plains, of the bullet in his side and his struggle to reach the Rest Awhile Hotel, and of what Minden had done for him this very, day.

“Don’t; you loathe me for it all—for chucking my life away at the start like that? According to the law of the land, I’pi a criminal, a horse-thief.” He looked af her with intense inquiry.

“You weren’t horse-stealing,” she protested, "You didn’t know the MacMahons were stealing the horses. You said so yourself j ust now.”

“And you believe me?”

She looked him wonderingly in the eyes. “Why, of course, I believe you.”

“Though I’m an Episcopalian — and never had religion, as you Methodists say.”

“Well, I suppose ,some Episcopalians get to heaven,” she answered demurely.

“Don't 3'ou think what Mr. Minden has done for me is one of the biggest things ope man ever did for another?” he asked presently. “What do you suppose made him do it?”

A mist came into her eyes and a rapt expression to her face. “Perhaps he felt you ought to have your chance,” she answered. “Perhaps if somebody sometime had done the same toJiim he mightn’t have had so much to be sorry for. Don’t you think that’s it?”

“I thought so at first,” he replied, “but I’m not so sure now. I can’t understand it”

“He treats me almost as if I belonged to him,” she added in a hushed sort of voice. “I keep wondering how he ever could have been bad at all.”

Sudder;y Sheldon seemed to puil himself together. “There is one more thing I ought t;p tell you,” he said. “It’s «ot a crime, bir; it was a bad business enough. I wasn’t going steady when I did it . . At the time I came a cropper with baccarat I married.”

Horror and apprehension seemed to take possession of the girl. She whipped the line out of the water, ánd laid the rod down upon the ground; then clasping her hands tightly in her lap she turned her face away from him towards the farther shore of the river.

“What is there to tell about that?” she asked in a cheerless voice.

“She was a chorus girl in a theatre. I was twenty-two, and I thought she was wonderfully clever and wonderfully good—she looked so good with her flaxen hair and wide brown eyes. The marriage was secret. Within a year she had run away with a millionaire from the Argentine, and within another year she was dead.”

With his last words the rigidity of Cora’s figure relaxed, and in a voice.

scarce above a whisper, die said: “You did not divorce her?”

“No, somehow I couldn’t do that,” he replied heavily.

“Oh, but that was right!” she rejoined.

“For she might have repented; and;-”

She could get no further, her body swayed backwards and forwards slightly, and her face dropped into her hands.

He moved over quickly to her, leant down, and looked up to her hidden face. “Corah Cora!” he said passionately. She made no reply, but after an instant her hands dropped tenderly upon his head.

CHAPTER VIII.

ENTER THE BRUTE.

U* OR A time the world went well with 1 those to whom the Rest Awhile Hotel was a home. No light illumines a face like that which comes from a happy sec-

ret, and .Cora's face had that lode of transfiguration which belongs to an exalted spirit or to a happy heart She spiritualized her love and exalted Hie object, and all her work and all she did was touched with that grace, that phantom ease, which belongs to those whose inner being is as active as their outer Ufe. - She stepped with exceeding lightness; her head was held as high as though Hie world had never sinned; yet her joy did not make her selfish. Her interest in eversrthing and everybody round her was increased, and to Mrs. Finley it seemed that as a foster-mother, she had done her duty well.

Minden certainly told her so with almost boisterous delight. There were times when he almost believed he was secure in his converted state and that he was truly and unalterably saved. He prayed with great eloquence; he occasionally preached with fire and wa3rward originality. Also

be did thé work of Mayor with a cheerful energy which made him as popular as he was conspicuous, because of his umbrageous past

A two days’ journey north, Sheldon was playing his part with an almost destructive cheerfulness, working night and day to make the1 twenty thousand dollars which Minden paid for a quarter of the •mine meet current need9i In the end it proved impossible. He had been too optimistic, had left no margin for accident and the unforeseen; and both accident and the unforeseen occurred. A breakdown in the mine destroyed machinery; a suddéu claim by the original owners proved a menace to its future. He struggled on under a load five times greater than .even Minden thought it to be. Minden had never believed that the téren ty thousand dollars would be enough. He was quite prepared to put in much more money when Sheldon had proved himself a “hustler from Hustlerville.” He wanted to test the capacity of Cora’s future husband, and the result was worth {while.

!

HE LET Sheldon fight on, himself looking forward to the day when he would step to the rescue with much more money ^aâd say, “Halves^ partner, halves!” That would mean in the long end that Cora would be a partner with her own husband in the mine about which the West was beginning to speculate seriously. Everything seemed clear; there were no clouds in the sky. As Minden 9aid to himself : “{There ain’t no rails on the linç.” Yet on one of the happiest days he had ever known—that in which his daughter passed her matriculation and her first year’s examination at the University in one—accident and penalty, twin sisters of Fate, came storming at his door.

Even while he walked with a swagger round the table in the dining-room where Cora sat in half-dréaming happiness with the Academic certificate in her. hand. Brute Penalty was at work in Mrs. Finley’s sitting-room. While Minden ejaculated praises at the girl, who had proved that her intellect wa9 as healthy as her body and bloomed like her cheek. Brute Penalty spurted its venom into Mrs. Finley’s shocked face. It had burst into her room as she was rising from her knees, where she had thanked God for the gift of her beloved child. She had never seen a man intoxicated at the Rest Awhile Hotel ? and it was a shocking thing to her that the Brute Man, who now reeled into her room, was her brother.

She had to face a leering, degraded, drunken tramp whose grinning humor of the -tip* was denied by the malice of his eyes—the shrewd, malignant and unmerciful look of the blackmailer: for that vwas what Robert Simeon Struthers suddenly became on this day in the Rest Awhile Hotel.

“Lor’a-massy!” he exclaimed. “Lor’a-massy, ’Liza, what a joint this is!. Heaven and hell arm in arm for sure. What price a hotel wherê you can’t get a drink not for love or money! But it’s all right, it's all right, it’s the Rest Awhile Tavern. That’9 a goldarned good name. I’ve been travelin’ for the last twenty-one years an* Fd like to rest awhile meself. Jer rickety, what a bunch you are here! Bill Minden, the boss train-buster, that’d hold up a coach Just as you’d cut the top off an egg—Bill Minden doin’ the prayer trick, playin’ the sky-pilot,. runnia’ the town, lovin’ the ladies, joinin’ up with

’Liza Struthers that joined the church at ten—oh. what a surprise, two lovely black eyes!”

With a shocked gesture Mrs. Finley stopped him. “Robert, Robert, have you ho shame!” she almost wailed.

“No shame! You talk to me like that! What ’ve I got to be ashamed of ’cept my bad luck for years an’ years an’ years. Everything’s been out agen me. God and the Devil’s been conspirin’ at me. 1 ain’t had no home., You’ve been the lucky one. Steve Finley left you five hundred dollars a year, and instid of makin’ a home for your poor brother Robert, you’ve been spending your life and your money on the daughter of that damned thief. Bill Minden."

Mrs. Finley was now as white as the collar at her neck. “Oh, hush, brother Robert!” she said. “Nobody knows that she is W’illiam Minden’s daughter. You know how he came to give her to me. and no one knows the truth here. She’s right happy with me.”

“You mean to say she don’t know who her real father is?” A blackmailing look came into the brutish eyes. “Well, then, I guess I got a home,” he added facetiously. “I guess I can rest awhile at the Rest Awhile. Mr. Bill Minden don’t want the world to know that Cora Finley’s his daughter, an’ that’s good enough for me. I got to be took care of, if I keep my mouth shut—see that? Say, why doesn’t he want her to pass as his daughter?”

“Can’t you see?” the agonized woman replied. “Don’t you know—why you did know from the start, that he didn’t want her to know he was her father. He didn’t want to spoil her life.”

“Shucks! Piffle!” replied the other truculently. “The town’s damned well goin’ to know she’s hi9 daughter. The town’s goin’ to be purified by the truth. This Rest Awhile Tavern is goin’ to be made a happy, happy home if I know anything. an’ I guess I do; but I’ll have a swill first. Out with your bottle from the cupboard. ’Liza.” He looked round the room. “I got to have a drink an’ a good big drink, for I got a good big thirst, an’ it’s been a good big walk from where they put me off the train. An’ after the drink I’ll have a good big sleep on that good big sofa over there. Gimme that drink. ’Liza, on this instep, as the niggers say. I’m dry. and whiskey’s the only thing that makes my throat wet. D’you hear, sis?”

C*OR AN instant she hesitated; to give 1 drink to a drunken man was a terrible thing. Yet she must gain time; Cora must be spared a shock. She must see Minden, who might perhaps find a way to prevent catastrophe. She remembered that some brandy had been left from the occasion of Sheldon’s illness.

“Wait a minute, Robert.” she whispered, for her voice failed her in excitement. “I’ll bring it”

She went into the next room, apd presently returned quickly with a pitcher of water and a bottle in which there was about an eighth of a pint of brandy.

Struthers greedily snatched the bottle from her hand, uncorked it .and smelt it. Then he said with a leer, “That’s better than whiskey—good old Three Star!”

Raising it to his lips, he drank every drop of it, then caught the pitcher of water from her hand and took a gulp.

“Now for the good big sofa and a

sleept,” he said ; “and tkhen I get up there’ll only be rest in the Rèst Awhile if I have n room to meself an’ me board and lodgin’.” I

Then he threw himself sprawling on the sofa, and closed his eyes to sleep; but half a minute later tjhey opened heavily. He 'saw his sister looking at him with an agony in her face which made him laugh in derision.

“ ’S all right. ’Lint. Get that room ready for your lovin’: brother,*’ he mumbled, and instantly 9ank into a heavysleep.

'T' HREE hours later the ne’er-do-well A awoke from his druken sleep with parched lips and a bad temper. As he came to a sitting posture and blinked his weasel eyes, he caught sight of Minden seated with arms resting on the table in front of him. Mindçn’s eyes were fixed on his; he had sat for a half-hour in the same position waiting till Struther? should wake.

For a moment the two men .gazed at each other in silencei. Struthers anticipated trouble, and was in ; a mood to fight. It was nearly: twenty ^rears since they had seen each other, and both had lived hard lives, but j Struther’s life had been degraded, besotted and povertystricken. He had only come to Askatooi. to borrow money from his sister, but now his drunken mind saw but one thingemdash;the price of silence as to Cora’s relationship to Minden. He looked to find threatening in Minden’? face, and was met by an almost friendly smile. Minden spoke first.

“Have a drink,” he said pointing to a large glass pitcher of water with a tumbler beside it.

Struthers’s lips were parched and dry. “I’ll have lager,” he said. “I’ll have Milwaukee lager—a whole or two halves. I’m dry.”

“This is a temperance hotel,” Minden replied easily. “Try Adam’s ale first. Bob, then you can step across the street for your beer.”

A sullen, .defiant look came into Struthers’ face. “Temperance-^-shucks! Nice sort of joint this—two holy Christian?* with a Christian baby keeping a deception-house. What’s a hotel for if it ain’t for drink—good spiritual drink?”

“Well, that’s all the drink you’ll get here, Boh,” was the dry reply. “ ‘Spintunl drink.’ is the word; it goes. But there ain’t any spirituous drinks to be had here; • -o if you must have it. just toddle acrogt;s the way.But if I had a thirst like yours. I’d make that pitcher of water look small in about two thirsty seconds. Sip it up. man. There’ll be room for the lager after. What you want now is coolinV’

”1 want money for the lager.” was the stubborn reply. “I’m dead broke; but if I wasn’t I’d still want money for the !ager. I ain’t here for nothin’—I ain’t here for nothin’, I tell you that.” He stumbled forward to the table. “I’m her« for my own good—that’s why I’m here; and I’m here for good and all, and ever, d’you understand?”

The complacent smile did not leave Minden’? face, yet there was a savage look creeping into his eyes, which his strong will kept calling back into obscurity.

“All right. Bob, you can have the money for the lager,” he replied, “but I’d really like you to have a drink of the wine of the country first. I’d like you to show your

Continued on page 73.

Continued from page 36.

friendliness by having a swig of Adam’s ale out of that pitcher. Hospitality has its rules, and the rule for a visitor is that he’s got to drink what his host shoves him.”

“But he ain’t got to drink what his landlord shoves him,” was the snarling reply.

“()hr shut up, guzzler,” rapped out Minder.. “This is my tavern, an’ because ’Li¿a Finley is your sister, and because she’s part of this concern, I’m for treating you like a bidden gUest. So drink the water. Bob, then’ll come the lager, if you got to have it.”

* I 'HE HALF-SOBERED man was in a perverse mood. He had a feeling that Minden was afraid of him. Therefore, he would turn the screw. He had tortured many an animal just to see it Helplessly resisting his malice, and he had tortured some men ; but never had he had a chantv to torture as big a man-animal as this, and one of the notorieties of the country.

"You’ll give me what I want when I want it, or you’ll get what you don’t want when you don't want it,” he snarled. “You want nothin' said about your being the father of Cora -F^Kley, eh! Well, I can spoil her just for the price of one bottle of lager. I can take the pride out of the silly, stuck-up daughter of a burglar.”

He had gone too far. „With the flat of his hand Minden struck him in the face, and he fell back on the sofa with a bleeding mouth.

Minden’s impulse had been too swift and overpowering to check, and he had given way to it with every dormant passion of his life storming his senses. In a swift reaction, however, he controlled himself, and muttered a broken prayer, incongruous as it was.

As Struther9 raised himself again, with a bleeding mouth, Minden caught a big handkerchief from his pocket and tossed it over, saying quietly:

“Keep my girl out of it, you swab. P’r’aps she got out of your way as you

passed; p'r'aps she looked down on you. eh? Well, a drunken hog in his wallow is apt to turn the stomach. Go on, use that handkerchief. Don’t think because I’m converted jand jined the church that 1 ain’t a man any longer. Bob Struthers. I’m a Christian, but I certainly will have to kill you if you mention my girl's name in any way except respectful. You’ve surely got off your head. Hert , you drink this water”emdash;he got the pitcher and glass from-the table emdash; “here, you drink this water, and don’t try to bluff me, because I’ve got just as much man in me as I ever had. an’ therms a point where I’m not going, to check it. Drink nowemdash; drink. 1 tell you! It’ll do you good.”

IN THEIR boyhood days Minden had always been the master and Struthers had knuckled dow’n to him. His tractability, however, had ever been measured by the amount of physical punishment he received.

“That swat in the gob was like old times, wasn’t it?” continued Minden with the smile which had been on his face when Struthers waked.

“Christian! You!” responded the now quite.sobered man. “Christian! You’ve got as much devil in you as you alius had. It’s bred in the bone emdash; the rest’sonly make-believe. Your grandfather was a local preacher, an’ the strain of it’s in you ; but it’s only your grandfather haunting you; it ain’t real. Shucks! \ou ain’t goir.’ to stick it out. You’ll go back to the old game, all right. Why, I might as well try to drink that swash every day”emdash;he pointed to the almost empty pitcher of wateremdash;“instead of whiskey or lager. I keep goin' back to it, an' you’ll go back. Talk about bein’ saved, when every day you live’s a lie! You’re only figurin' to be good, ’cause you want your daughter to think a lot of you. Can’t I see! I didn’t know you when you was ten years old for nothin’, old non-such."

Minden was now back again in his chair at the table, master of himself, with a friendly look in his face, and his mind well-con trol led.

“I guess there’s some truth in whât you say, Robert Simeon Struthers," he conceded. “I may backslide; but all the more reason I shouldn’t let my girl know who I am. I’ve been running straight quite a while, and I’ve had a lot of comfort out of gettin’ religion. .1 haven’t wanted to do what I used to do. I been happy and respected, I been of useemdash;yes. I been of use. I been workin’ for other people, doin’ somethin’ for them, andemdash;emdash;”

STRUTHERS was a mongrel cur naturally. ar.d his life had made him a ruthless brute. If anybody could handle him it was Minden, who had lorded it over him in days long gone, hut in his weasel eyes now the Brute was alive, the under-world, the jungle thing.

“Well, you can do something for me if you’re out for doing good,” he said. “I ain’t had any luck any time. Nothing I ever done come out right. The world owed me a living, an’ hasn’t ever paid it. So. you got to pay it now. You got a lot of money that don’t belong to you; an' .1 got a hold on you. I got a -loose tongue; an' I can’t control it without a gold bridle an’ bit. I got to be paid.”

Minden nodded contemptuously. *‘Yes,I know', I know all that, man alive. You’re a dirty dog, of course; you always was. I used to thrash you. way back; but I

oughter have killed you. Well. I’ve swatted your mouth to-day. an’ I don’t mind paying you now to keep your dirty mouth shut. What’s» your price, skunk?”

Struthers was taken aback. He had thought there would storm and trouble, but that in the end Minden would see there was nothing else to do but to grunt ar.d pay.

He made his shot at once, howevei. “What I wantemdash;whet I wantemdash;is a home; bed and board an’ enough cash to get my drink across the street, if I can’t have it here. ’Liza Finley’s my sister. She’s in clover, an’ she ought to let me be in grass.’’

“Get down to business,” said Minden sharply. “You want your bed, your board and some cash. How much cash do you think would buy your beer?”

"I want five dollars a week and bed and boardemdash;that’s my offer.”

Minden shook his head. “You couldn’ti live here. This is a temperance tavern run on Christian lines, an’ you’d go on getting’ drunk. I’m not proposing to keep you here, though it'd be cheaper. You could have the money to board and lodge somewhere else, an* you could have the five dollars a week, but you’d have to keep out of this place when you was drunk. I’d like to put it to you though, whether you could settle in Askatoon an’ he satisfied? You’ve been travelin’ a long timeemdash;d’you think the one long street of this place is enough for you? There’s a heap of prejudice in this town. What would you think of goin’ somewhere else? Did you never think you’d like to try Australia? There’s a lot of toughs like you over there.”

'T'HE WEASEL eyes almost closed with avarice, but they caught sight of Minden’s face, and the light in them flickered. This Bill Minden was different from the Bill Minden he used to know; this Bill Minden appeared to have a farther reach. There was something uncanny about him; in spite of his smile; something that made Struthers afraid. His head twitched; it was as though something had taken possession of his nerves.

“Travelin’ costs money,” he stammered. “You want to get rid of me; you don’t want me here, and so you begin to-”

“Of course I don’t want you here. Inever could tell what you mightn’t do when you got drunk» Then, if you split, 1 might forget I was saved, an’ kill you. That’s why I’d like to see you hunch away to Australia. They drink kerosene in the back-blocks there ’stead of whiskey. You've got strange taste9, an’ that’d suit you. What do you think you’d take an* go? There’s a boat leavin’ Vancouver day after to-morrow. I’ll take you over to Vancouver. I’ll see you off.”

The cunning eyes widened a little now. “How much are you givin’ me for that, if I go? I got a lot of rheumatism these days. I can’t work like I used to.”

Minden waved a hand of scorn. “Work? You never done any work at all. Somebody else always worked for youemdash;chiefly women. That’s all the more reason why you should get out among the aborigine«* ari’ live in a black-fellow’s camp. You could live a long time on three thousand dollars an’ your passage-money. Does that look all right to you?”

The weasel eyes opened wider in spite of themselves. The vision of innumerable bottles of lagervbeer and many

a drunker: and lascivious day passed before the vision of the brute.

He got on his feet. “I guess J could about do it for that.” he conceded.

"Well, as you can do it for that." responded Mir den, "their you’ll see how fair I am when 1 tell you that I’m goin’ to give you three thousand five hundred dollars an* your passage-money."

"You can afford it." returned the other, with sudden swagger in his hearing. “I’ll tell you ip a week or so what I'll do. I want to rest awhile first.”

Minden’s voice hardened. “I guess not. I can afford it this week, hut 1 mightn’t be able to afford it in a week or so,” was Í»the dry answer.

“You’re goin’ to leave to-night at eleven, by the express,” he continued, “an’ I’m going with you. On. the steamer ‘Mopoke’ I’ll hand you the cash.”

”1 got to get some beer right away," answered the other in acquiescence, ".an’ I’m hungry too.”

Minden barred his way to the door. ! “You can’t have a drop of beer in this house, an’ you’ve got to stay here till the train starts. You’ve got to do without your beer till eleven o’clock; then you can have a full bottle on the train. If what I propose ain’t worth while, you can light out now, an’ you’ll get nothin’; an’ then if I happen to forget myself. I’ll spoil you. If you hurt my girl I’d find youemdash; religion or no religion—I’d find you if you was in Patagonia. W’hich are you taking on—to do without your beer, or to have the other? Put it up to me now or never.”

With a muttered oath Struthers turned to the table, and seized a water-bottle.

“Gimme something to eat,” he said.

To be continued.