Fiction

A Flutter in Diamonds

Who wrote “The Draft," "June Comes Back," etc.

A. C. Allenson September 1 1917
Fiction

A Flutter in Diamonds

Who wrote “The Draft," "June Comes Back," etc.

A. C. Allenson September 1 1917

A Flutter in Diamonds

Who wrote “The Draft," "June Comes Back," etc.

Fiction

A. C. Allenson

A SHORT generation ago Ste. Cecilie was a forest-clad hill, whose vesture, changing from sober green to splendid riot of crimsons and golds, marked the life of the year. To-day, two straggling streets lie on the hillside’s bare bosom, like a gaunt white cross, emblematic of the tragedy of prosperity.

From the hilltop, looking east, the, dust-wraithed town that replaced A ready appears a wan Sodom, the smoke of whose burning riseth for ever.

Westward lies a lake-jewelled vale, pay roek runs not thither, hence its unmarred face, and along the slopes are

dotted the cottages of a wealthy summer colony.

A GOOD man to look upon was Andrew Forsythe as he sat on the veranda of his summer home. A ruddy face, with kindliness and power in it; crisp, greying hair; strongly-compacted, fit body, still equal in mid life to the tasks of the strenuous man. líe was owner of one of Ste. Cecilie’s most successful mines, a city man. with youth’s ambition, prime’s drive, and an inborn assurance. No big man would lightly trifle with him, no inferior dread the unfair use of his power.

He watched the two young people climb the slope this June day. a critical smile on his face. The one was David Eglinton. a young fellow outwardly after his own heart. The athlete's force and fit-* ne>is, the virile character of the face, promised for Eglinton high ranking in the world of men who do things. With him walked Forsythe’s daughter, Grace, she was almost as tall as her companion. Over her pretty face sun and winds haif-spread the dainty veiling of summer, though the season was yet young. There was alert vivacity in eye, lip and carriage. The father’s «r,e kindled with pride.

Then hX^rlanced at Dave, and the look carried dissatisfaction. So much of promise in theSiutward lad made his disappointment thX more irritating. He doubted if the viHmg man would make good at the Har. jshere he seemed in some way to be a square peg in a round hole. Waiting in a city law office for barnacles to grow appeared an unheroic occupation to the observer.

Money would be the last thing Forsythe asked of his daughter’s husband, but money is some kind of a test, and she was worth a real man. He remembered Dave's father, an attractive, unpractical dreamer. who called. procrastination patience, and obstinacy, perseverance. Forsythe remembered the wreck that old Eglinton had made of fine beginnings. The twentyyear old tragedy came before him as if of yesterday. Eglinton. rich in land3 and money, of family and education— against the rustic, iron-purposed Dr. Maxson who had compassed his ruin. The tall, gaunt figure of the doctor rose in memory before Forsythe.** Predatory, hooked-nose, steel-grey eyes, bloodless lips —a mere line in his grim decisive silences. Hard as granite, scorning the effeminacies of a softening age, ruthless as rock crusher in the mills he had won. He used to amputate, so the legend ran in the hills, with a butcher’s meat saw, on occasion and with a couple of lusty fellows, not squeamish about blood and screams, to hold the victim. He operated financially in much the same way. With deliberate patience he wove the toijs about Eglinton. and shore away his wealth just as he slashed off useless limbs. Hating the man's methods, Forsythe despised equally the loser’s weak incapacity that caused him. strongly entrenched, to be driven from his fastnesses by the dauntless, bare-handed marauder. He remembered Eglinton in later year?, a soured, broken man. mutely hating the world that had used him so ill.

Sometimes Forsythe feared that brooding over the fall of his house caused Dave’s passivity, sapping the vigor that should send him, with purpose tenfold increased, to win back what had been lost

ON the lawn the two young people were joined by William Maxson, the old doctor’s son, who had just driven up. He was a few years older than Dave, a dark, active man. He had inherited his father's natural ability, and reproduced it. as the finely tempered sword reproduces the essential virtues of the broad axe. Dr. Maxson’s sole extravagance had been his son. He sent him to schools and University where he would associate with the sons of rich and eminent people. The educational career of the boy had been brilliant. His natural aptitudes later fitted him into his niche in business, as if it had been made for him. and he for it Forsythe had great respect for Young M:*v ability and character. Gradu... , the son had taken the’management of Maxson’s into his own hands, and set himself in other ways to pull the family name out of the mud. The father’s business engagements men had bound with every possible legal tie. The son’s word, in very few years, came to be valued more than the old man’s bond.

Forsythe could not help contrasting the two men who were talking with Grace, both of them, he knew, in love with her. He liked Dave, admired Maxson] In hit world, as between the successful business man, crammed with ambition and ability, and the stagnating young lawyer, there was no comparison. A man of Maxson’s class had national possibilities in him, and if Forsythe had the choosing—then he smiled, realizing how widely divergent are a maid's reasonings regarding men, and those of her father.

UNDER a wide-spreading treed whose tall branches stretched over the river, Dave stopped paddling, to wonder sinew at the marvel of Grace’s loveliness. I Busying herself with fishing preparations, she smiled at his meditative mood. Latterly he had been unusually quiet and thpughtful. His frequent journeying* to Ske. Cecilie had excited her curiosity, and her father had spoken of them enquitingly. Still, she was content to wait *He] could hide nothing from her. She stopped her soft whistling to smile again. She was friend, comrade, and—she thought privately—much more. In his sunny moods she liked him; then he was fearless,Tchrvalrous. generous. She liked him stiljjmore in graver moments when clouds of] selfdissatisfaction hid the sun. Unconsciously she measured other men by him,] and, most absurdly, found shortcomings in even the nicest of them.

“Try a cast here, Grace.” be said|suddenly.

She took up her rod. and on the fa * ol the overhung pool the fly dropped, lig it aí thistledown, and flickered over the lark water. Twice and thrice she cast T 1er« was a swift, arrowy rush, the music ol the singing reel, the arching of the iuppie rod. the manoeuvring of the fish, th« outrush in power, the return in weakr ess the frenzied leap, the frantically lai hed water, and. at last the handsome g im« fighter in Dâve’s net.

"Pound and a half,” he pronounced, critically.

“Oh, the beauty !” said Grace, with o mpassionate admiration. “What a shim« tq take him, Dave. Remove the hook gt atly. Oh ! You are too rough. Let me h; v« him.”

With a laugh he passed the net over, and she removed the hook.

"Now go straight home. and leave pretty flies aIone,'~ she admonished, p$t-. ting the trout into the river. Like a silver bar he shot to the deeps.

“What a pity it can’t always be June,” she observed with a sigh, irrelevantly.

“SH! To your right.” he whispered. The deer at the river’s brink looked up.

Sitched them fearlessly, then trotted ck into the bracken.

“I’m going back to the city to-night,” he said, leaning forward.

“To-night!” she echoed. “I thought you were to be here all the week?”

“I shall be away only for three days,” he explained.

“Oh!” she exclaimed, the cloud vanishing from her face.

* “Then I settle down here for good,” he continued. The cloud came again, and Dave felt the perfectness of love's springtime.

“You are not returning to the city?” she asked in deep dismay. Poor city! in all its vast desolation. What would two thirds of the year be with Dave absent? The reflection was overwhelming.

“I ve done with the law,” he said emphatically. “I have hesitated, perhaps too long, fearing it might look like vacillation. but that’s all ended now. I have ached *to be out of it, flogging myself for laziness, but it really wasn’t that. Grace, I’ve felt the cobwebs getting thicker every tlay, and I’ve just got to get where I can breathe and move round.”

“I think you are quite right,’-’^he answered reflectively. “I don't believe you would ever learn to dun a man successfully for a debt.”

“It’s a thundering big load off my mind anyway." he continued. “I want to get body drive into my work. I have been looking round and planning, and I’m going to get a pit job, \\‘ork in like the regular chap, and make good. I believe I can do it”

“Of course you can.” she agreed, with perfect conviction.

“And then—one of these wonderful June days—” He stopped. The words had slipped out. A warm, dusky evening in June, the murmur of the river, the whisper in the trees—all the marvellous combination of appeal. And the sheer irresistibleness of Grace. It was too late now to go back; he must go ahead.

“And then I’ll come to you, dearest, perhaps on a June night like' this and ask a question I can’t put now. It will be something to work for, and dream about in the long winter evenings. The hardest task will be light because you stand behind it.” He seemed very confident about her, but she did not think his assurance too great. He was Dave, and they were, in some respects, a rather matter of fact couple. She knew his mind. His manhood’s pride bade him win for her. bring to her, build for her out of the spoils of his conquests. Their hands met in comradely compact, their eyes eloquent with promise. A canoe is really a most awkward thing on such an occasion! still it drifted them into the secluded haven of a very delightsome Paradise.

'T' HERE was no blither heart in all the A great city than Dave Eglinton. when he stepped from the railway station into the busy streets the next morning. His practice was not so extensive that its winding up was matter of great difficulty. When evening arrived he had adjusted most of it. and closed the office. Rummaging through old letters in the clearance, he came across a packet of his father's business papers, relating to the Ste. Cecilio properties. He took them home and after ilinner sat down to look them over. Mr. Eglinton had been a very precise man in unimportant details, and much given to the diaried form of self-communion. In thT closely written pages. Dave came to understand how fortune had been frittered away. He found a wonderful fascination in reading the successive dreams. Gold — silver — copper — chrome—iron. The find, the hope, the labor, the cost, the reluctant abandoning when the oasis proved a mirage. Gold sprinkled here and there, as b\ malignant devil s hapd, just sufficient to lure, promise, ruin. To turn one’s back on the faintest glint of it needs iron resolution, and 'his father had not possessed it. The n had come dreams of silver, and copper, that rose and waned and died. Later chrome flourished for a short time, until one day the bottom fell out of it. Dave discovered how Dr. Maxson had craftily fed foolish a m b i tion, lending money usuriously for will -o’-the-wisp pursuings until his clutches were irremovably fastened on the real prize in the asbestos wealth of the pro•perties. He put the papers away with something like a sigh, then sat well into the morning, pondering the part

“The Isles of Greece, the Isles of Greece,

Where burning Sappho loved and sang.”

Smyrna, Constantinople, and the dirty, picturesque little Asia Minor port where tiie “Glendale" had taken aboard her ballast cargo of chrome ore.

He wondered where Jim Stevens, the hospitable skipper of the “Glendale” was just now. Next morning he roseearly and called at a shipping office. He was in luck. The tramp was in a near-by port, discharging cargo. Dave boarded a train' and an hour later was receiving vociferous welcome from his friend the skipper.

pondering the part of his people. Gold — Silver — Copper — Chrome — Asbestos. Five caskets instead of Portia’s three, as he whimsically considered, and his father had made the ancient fatal choice. The Chrome storv particularly interested Dave. It brought back to mind the one travel trip of his after-college year. A chance had come his way for a trip abroad on a tramp steamer. What a gorgeous time it had been! The Atlantic, Mediterranean, Aegean!

F ive minutes later they were in the familiar cabin, talking old times, and swapping newer experiences. War had stopped the long trips. Labor in the old stamping grounds had bloodier tasks than mining, and the new perils of the far seas had made them undesirable harvest fields.

V\ ben Dave left, he visited a library, and spent some hours over solid volumes that discussed mines and minerals. All -of which seemed to sho&that he was buckling down to business, and finding lots to learn.

T was a large gathering at

Forsythes the evening he got back.

The golf tournament was coming off, and prr/.e matters had to be settled. Pot hunters were discouraged at Lake Ste. Ccmhe. and nothing that could advertise prowess was permissible as prize. Victory’s token must be valueless, unostentatious, and, if possible, original. Many unacceptable suggestions had been made when Forsythe spoke.

“I’ll give the old Frampton pit as a prize,” he said. Shouts of laughter greeted the announcement. “It is original, unique, and, being a mere hole in the ground, unostentatious, and. unquestionably valueless, as I know to my sorrow. No lilywhite amateur could ever hock it with the most accommodating ‘Uncle.’ It will be a non-portable souvenir, carrying a solemn warning to the mine gambler.”

“Sort of combination bayleaf, religious tract, and tombstone epitaph,” said Maxson.

“Something like that,” nodded the donor. “Amateur standing will not be imperilled since, so far from being gainful, possession will cost the winner five dollars a year, municipal tax. The romantic thing would be for some poor but deserving person tx> win it, spike a pound gold nugget on his pick, or yank out a bushel of diamonds. But he won’t. I’ve drilled it and I know-, hence my philanthropy.”

THF offer commended itself, and a fine contest ensued. As fortune decided, the finalists were Maxsoc and Dave. The outside rivalry between the men gave unusual interest to the fight. Fate had made them antagonists, and family feud set them in opposed camps. Each was in love with Grace Forsythe, and both were men who fought to win. Especially was this so with Maxsèn. The instinct was in him, and from the most trivial game to life’s most vital interest, he sought and fought for victory. Eglinton’s keenness in the match was patent to all. In every respect the men were ideally matched, and put their best into the fight. For a time it was nip and tuck, then, at a critical point Maxsön forged ahead, to be overhauled after a tremendous struggle. The battle went to the last green, the last put. Dave holed a long one, while his opponent missed by a hair’s breadth.

There is in some men an inherited, slumbering devil, that a glass of whiskey, a pack of cards, a trivial bet, will rouse to unimagined havoc. Forsythe had known men in whom the fascination of pick, mining land, and chance of pit luck, w-as as patently inherited as the drink craving. He noted, after the tournament, a change in Dave. There were frequent trips to Ste. Cecilie’s mines, increased, mail, numerous telegrams out of all proportion to a briefless barrister’s business. Sometimes he vanished on long hill tramps, Grace accompanying him now and again. It w-as a chance remark overheard in the hotel about the young man’s interest in abandoned properties, that led Forsythe to try and coax information from his daughter. She listened, laughed, and told him nothing. He then made up his mind on a frontal attack.

“Don’t make a joke into a serious matter, Dave,” he said one day to the young man. “No madness is crazier than the miner’s. There’s nothing left in these hills that the established mines don’t hold, and you know I don’t say this selfishly. They have been dug and combed and drilled till w-e know underneath almost better than surface. I don’t want to pry into secrets, but I hear you have been dickering with Brogan about his rock patch, and I’d hate to see you skinned. Tell you what, Dave, get back to your law, and break loose there like I’ve seen you do on the football field, or as you did when Maxson had you three down and four to play the other day. Damn it, Dave, you’re travelling like a dancing master at a kid’s party. Get the ball under your arm, grab it somehow, stick that clenched teeth grin on your face, and smash ’em, scatter ’em, tear ’em up. I want to see you playskittles with live men. Nobody’s quite certain yet whether you are really alive, or under a slab of marble. Get back, and start something, dive into politics, make the papers slam you, bat somebody over the head, or j ay them to bat you over the head, Uk start a fire in your fighting blood.’**

Dave listened, solemnly puffing his pipe, stolid as a carved Indian.

“I’ve quit the law,” he replied presently. “Went to town the other day, shut my office, sold the library, gave away my infant practice, and am after a real job.” “Quit!” echoed Forsythe in mingled amaze and scorn. “The call of the wild, life of the open, talebook rot and piffle, I suppose. Don’t be a fool, Dave. The mines with the real dollars in them are not in the wilds, but in the big city streets, and the law is fair elevating machinery. If you’ve really got this mine bug bite, take three months in the pits for the good of your immortal soul, and imperishable intellect. W’hen winter’s been here a month, you’ll thank God for a steam-heated city office, where you can earn meals without pounding frozen rockvfor ’em.”

“I don’t know that I won’t ask you for the job yet,” laughed Dave. “Anyway let’s have a look at the Frampton, your gift horse. I’d like to know the bounds.” “Not on your life,” said the other, irritably. “Oh, well, come on. I haven’t crossed the ridge myself these ten years.”

TOGETHER they climbed the hill, until at the summit they overlooked a huge embankment of piled up rock, with a little railway on the top. There must have been thousands of tons there.

“WTell, I’m—” began Forsythe, wrathfully. “Here you, Poleon, who dumped that stuff on my land?”

“Rock from the old Doc’s pit. Been there six—seven—ten year—I don’t know,” said the French-Canadian, shrugging his shoulders. J

“Like his blaster cheek,” roared Forsythe. “He could bury the office, and none of you raise a cheep. I’ll make him shift every pound of it. There! I’d forgotten.” he laughed. “It’s yours now. But soak him, Dave, soak him good.”

The tract contained five acres, and hardly a foot but was littered with rock from one of Maxson’s old pits. It had been a fine saving to him.

“Chrome,” said Dave, picking up a chunk of the iron heavy rock-

“Yes. Used to be quite a market for it,” replied Forsythe. “It’s a dead thing now.”

“What do you thiijk of those stories about finding diamonds in chrome deposits?” asked the younger man. “I met some geological chaps the other day who had examined several of the pits. They foûnd infinitesimal diamonds in most of them.”

“There are tons of gold in the sea,” grunted Forsythe. “Scientists and just plain idiots have dreamed of baling it

out.”

“If it comes to that,” retorted Dave, “the Dutchmen round Kimberlely gave the first diamonds they found to th *ir kids to play marbles with.” When the r got bacjc to the hotel, there were several «en wa]ting for the newFrampton own* r. Forsythe was hungry and joined Ä axson at dinner.

“Guess this is Dave’s busy day I heard he has optioned Brogan’s place,] said the latter.

“So many are born every I second,’ growled the elder man. “You paw that bunch of mossbacks in the hall? } Looking for Santa Claus ahead of time.

AFTER dinner Forsythe sat dn, smoking a gloomy cigar/ A live Canadian; a college man and lawyer at that,(nibbling at option peddlers like a jay at a( country fair over a shell game! It was (disgusting! What a rotten -^igar ! Whw couldn’t they keep the w indows open [and let air in? Why did they persist in(cooking everything in grease? When Dave entered, smilingly brisk, something} had to crack. Pitching away his cigar and ruffled feelings, Forsythe became his blandest. The boy had only a few thousands, and patriotism, friendship, and thq dreaded contingency of sonship, made (urgent demands. If a grab was on, he, Forsythe, loved grabs. The kid had to ber educated, even though the process strippeq himbone bare. Anyway that foolish, fatuous, self-satisfied smirk had to come Iff the lad’s face.

“What’s your notion of Brogan’s blace?

I have a three years’ lease option In it,’ said Dave. “There’s diamond stuff]there all right, small, of course, and goo^ only for manufacturing purposes.’

“You’ve got to gouge out a thihg to know what’s in it,” replied the other. “If it is a fair question, how much did that ruffian soak you?”

“Just a hundred or two, and a fair lease figure,” said Dave.

“Buy him quite a drop of winter comfort,” commented Forsythe. “At that rate my holdings should be cheap at a million or so.”

“I’ll give the thing a show anyv ay,” said Dave. “If there are little diam nds, it seems likely big ones may-be roun L” “They ain’t rabbits, and the litte : by no means implies an antecedent pa and ma,” sneered Forsythe.

“Laughing and mocking are no a -guments,” grinned the youngster, “/ays used to sneer at asbestos till they leai ned sense. I hear the best diamond shov ing is Will Maxson’s.”

“What’ll you pay for an option like Brogan’s, on Maxson’s and my chr me lands?” asked the mine, man. “Why >uy a pig in a poke when you can have a g >od look at him at the end of a string? This diamond talk is all darned rot, but if mu mean to test things, be sure and get r »liable material to try out. How wo lid $3,000 suit you?”

“I might be tempted to take a flyer on half,” said Dave, attacking an apple ] ie.

Dinner over presently, the specula or w-ent back to his whiskered friends in (he hall, while his companion stepped out hi rriedly. An hour later Forsythe returned.

“I’ll thank you for a cheque for fiftem hundred dollars,” he said, slapping Y is own and Maxson’s transferred options — for which he had paid $250—on the tab! s. “I’ll w-aive certification this time,” H« added generously, “Jiminy! You didn’t take me up?” asked Dave, a little startled.

Continued on page 89

Flutter in Diamonds

Continued from page 17

“You bet I did,” replied Forsythe. “Fifteen hundred please. You should have enough diamond stuff in those lands to make every bartender politician happy, from Halifax to Vancouver.”

FOR an instant the educator, watching Dave draw the cheque, relented. Then he froze hard again. The man who aspired to guard Grace’s welfare had to be taught tricks. He wished the cheque covered the boy’s last sou. His conscience smote him again when he saw Grace and Dave in earnest conversation. The twelve hundred and fifty in his wallet The next day Dave disappeared on one of his irritatingly mysterious trips. This time he was gone a week, and when he came back the cold had set in and broken up the colony for the year. The day after the Forsythes left, he dropped into Maxson’s office.

“I’ve been up at the Frampton Place,” he said. “I see you’ve dumped some rock there. I’d be ever so mucjh obliged if you’d take it away.”

“Do you really mean son, uneasily. “It will and expensive job.”

“You should have figured that before you put it there,” replied bluntly.

“It was done before my ¡time,” said Will. “Is there really much dafnage done? The place is waste, I understand. You’ll find nothing there.”

“What I want to find 5s a covered up tract of land,” answered Eglinton. “I might take a notion to fill in the hole and use the place.”

“There’s your filling rjight at hand,” said the other. “Tell you ivhat I’ll do, for I don’t like these affairs. W’e’ll transfer the dump to you, and give you a couple of hundreds to help the shovelling. It’s more than the land is worth, but we have undoubtedly trespassed. I’ll give you a cheque now and fix the thing up formally.”

Forsythe came back to the mines after he had seen his people horpe.

“By the way,” said Dave to him. “I settled that trespass affair with Maxson. He met me pleasantly enough, and it seemed the neighborly thing to do.”

The other sniffed. He knew Maxson, and suspected over-amiablej deals.

“I took the rock over, with a two hundred dollar plaster. It isnlt a whole lot, but it’s so much better thanlfussing. The old man was a cut-throat, but the son’s different,” said Dave.

“You’ll find it a pretty good rule, when you get on top of the man who tried to throttle you, to give him the best whaling you know how, first, and sing that ‘jolly good fellow’ tune later on,” observed the mine man. “This’s no kid glove country. The French-Canadian is French at the core, and oozes money by drops, but collects with a bucket. The settler’s an Ulster Scotsman who’d take clothes and hide off a Jew, and grudge him his bones. Hello! There’s Dalrymple stepping off the train. What brings him into this country these days?”

He rose and went over to the station. When he returned with his friend Dalrymple, Dave had vanished, leaving word that he was going down the line and might not be back for a day or two. The run down the line terminated in New York City. Dave displayed no undue anxiety to return, made one or two out of town trips, dallied a few days in the city, and then leisurely wrent off.

WHEN he reappeared at the Sfce. Cecilie hotel, he found Forsythe absent, so he loafed round waiting for him. He was deep in an armchair,-busy with pipe and paper-backed novel, when Maxson found him.

“Back again, Dave?” he said. “Forsythefwas thinking about sending a posse into the woods to look for you. I say, Dave, about our dicker of the other day. I find I can use that rock and it occurred to me that you’d just as soon Inrul of it.”

Before Eglinton could reply, in iiurst Forsythe. He looked at the young man in extreme disgust. A lusty fellow, on a bustling working morning, loafing over pipe and novel! The thing was outrageous to every business instinct.

“Where the deuce have you been, Dave?” he irritably.

“New York City on a business trip," was the reply.

Something was clearly afoot, for Maxson and Forsythe withdrew to an adjoining room, and were presently in close consultation. They were away for half an hour, then the latter came out, breezily amiable, a paper in his hand.

“Dave.” he said. “I’ll be obliged if you’ll let me take back those options. Maxson and I have got into some business deals we didn’t foresee, and we want the properties clear from leasehold encumbrances. Business, is business, and you’ve a right to make your hit on the accommodation. I’ll give you five hundred dollars for the Frampton and what’s on it, and mother five hundred for the cancellation of the options. If you insist we might give you diamond rights for the optioned lease term. Maxson tells me you were dickering about the dump when I butted in. Sign here. It's a blanket agreement covering everything. By the way. Grace was enquiring about you in a letter I had this morning."

TA AVE shut the novel, knocked the T-J ashes from his pipe, and got lazily to his feet. Dalrymple and Maxson entered the room by opposite doors.

“I don’t hock my golf prizes, and I am not turning golf professional.” he said in an injured tone. “I guess I’ll pass up my profits on the cancellation. I always had the funniest luck on foolish long shots.”

“You don’t mean to tell me that you’ll let joke agreements block serious business?" protested Forsythe.

‘‘Serious men don’t make joke agreements in business,” said Dave rebukinglv.

"Huh!” grunted the other, as if he had been punched. “A thousand isn’t to be sneezed at. and you’ve got to wake up from that diamond pipe dream.”

“I am not sneezing." grinned Dave. “And I am awake all right. I am selling nothing these days but—chrome.’’

There was silence inThe room that could have been chipped with a chisel.

“Some old papers of my father’s did the waking,” continued Dave. “I also have a friend who used to freight chrome from Asia Minor, and once I made a trip out there with him. I looked him up and learned what war had done to the foreign chrome supply. Then I did a bit of travelling, and found steel mills booming, and getting uneasy about the lessening supply of chrome for the linings of their blast furnaces, so it seemed to me about time that Ste. Cecilie should come on the map in bigger letters with its monopoly. I got busy nailing down chrome properties that were owned by whiskered rubes—and others."

"For diamond dust, you insulting pup!" shouted Forsythe. "You tricky, get-richqiiick robber." Maxson began to laugh.

"I've got more hungry flies buzzing round me than ever haunted a honey jar, and every buzz says ‘Chrome,’ Eh! Mr. Dalrymple?” said Dave. “Saw your folks in Pittsburgh and did business with them. Guess you know." Dalrymple had the newly arrived máil in his hand.

“I control absolutely Forsythe’s, Maxson s. Brogan’s, and a list as long as my arm, and ¡f^there’s one left out, he’s a little one the comb didn’t catch,” continued Dave. ‘Tor four years they are mine. At the end of that time I guess the war will be over, and Canadian chrome will be off again. But while it lasts, things look pretty good, eh, Mr. Dalrymple? I like this skittles game with live men for ¡ pins.”

“I.ord! Davè," said Forsythe wilting. “Maxson and I have sold Dalrymple twenty thousand tons.”

“So 1 heard in Pittsburgh. You are not the first mine gamblers to be caught short.“ rebuked Dave. “Still, I’ll be reasonable. You sold at sixteen dollars a ton, and I am getting twenty. I’ll take vour contracts over and deliver, you paying me the difference.”

“You gouging thug!” stormed Forsythe.

“Just as you like," smiled the autocrat. "I'd much rather not, as I am being torn to shx«iis(£or the stuff.”

le »ÄSjisAoped, Forsythe," said Maxson with anrv laugh. “I don’t know where I can buy a pound elsewhere, so I'm going to settle my end before the price boosts. I hope, though. Dpve, you’ll take me on that proposition I made just now.”

“Oh, the old dump?” said Dave. “Sorry, Will. It isn’t top notch stuff, but mostly fair grade chrome ore. as you know, and I sold it to a chap in Philadelphia at fifteen. He starts to load it into the cars to-morrow. Guess there’s about five thousand tons of it.”

“Seventy-five thousand dollars! And I gave it away with two hundred to boot!” groaned Maxson.

“Here’s notice to you gentlemen that I am taking up the leases under my options, with certified cheque for the first year’s rental, as called for in our agreements,” said Dave handing over a cheque to each.

Forsythe dropped into a chair, and Dalrymple went out to hide his indecent mirth, but Maxson stood his ground.

“I’ve just one thing to ask, Dave,” he said. “Will you shake hands, man way, with an infant like me, and I’ll feel it isn’t all loss.”

Dave’s hand shot out, and the big sons buried forever the father’s feuds.

“YV;

Ol’ poor old sleepy dear!” And

caressingly, as he sat meditatively before the fire.

“And you were in the flutter? My only child!" he said reproachfully.

“We just had to it,” she replied. "Dave had to prove up, but then you know, daddy, it isn’t as if the money were going out of the family."

"Oh. it isn’t?"Aie snapped.

"No. the war bride is to be a June bride.” she replied.

“Grace!” he said. “When I woke up and saw that Dave had us between the nippers, I was scared stiff he’d let up. I needn’t have been. He’s a two-fisted, long-headed, bulldog-jawed, impudenttongued scrapper, the kind of man I always fancied I’d like for a son. There’s one* thing, though, you’ve got to do. Promise me you’ll never mention diamonds in my hearing—I’m sore on the very word —and I’ll take you out to-morrow and buy you your pick of the darned things.”